Your customers should feel the love all year round

By James Lutchmaya, first published on Retailbiz 

Retailers need to develop a strong connection with their customers on a regular basis, not just on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, where people more openly appreciate the respect and loyalty they have towards another person or a group of people. Getting to know someone, understanding what they like and dislike, and developing a strong bond with them shouldn’t happen once a year, and this applies to all relationships. For customers to constantly return they need to feel appreciated all year round. So how do retailers achieve this?

Firstly, it’s important to remain competitive and keep on top of what is going on in the retail market. Understanding what other retailers are offering in terms of pricing, products and incentives will allow a retailer to create a strategy that can match, or even surpass their rivals. Recognising what is going on in the market is important but it’s even more vital to understand the consumer. Knowing what they like, dislike, how they shop, how they pay – being vigilant on all these things is key to creating a better shopping experience for the customer.

However, understanding the market and audience is just the first step to remaining competitive. With new retailers and brands popping up every week it’s imperative to constantly evolve and continue innovating. Doing this will allow retailers a new way to cater towards their audience.

Personalisation

The first way this can be achieved is by offering a personalised experience. Retailers need to get a firm understanding of what each individual customer likes and dislikes and how responsive they are to different platforms, as doing this will provide customers with a seamless experience. By offering a personalised experience, consumers begin to feel a greater sense of connection to their favourite brand. For retailers to generate deeper and more impactful conversations with their customers, it is essential that they analyse all of the data available to them with innovative technologies and use the insights gained to align their digital strategies.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are now enabling retailers to deliver personalised product recommendations based on their previous browsing habits, even shuffling product listings on websites to align with past customer behaviour.

 

Build a brand experience

App commerce is another way to stay innovative. It doesn’t matter how far away you are or how busy you are, it’s important to always be authentic and available, whether this is online or in-store. Retailers must ensure the online and in-store experience match, so that if a customer is not able to go in-store to purchase a product they can find it online. Developing an app is a great way to ensure that your brand is always accessible, but also begins to build a rapport through storytelling, gamification and personalisation. This also opens the door for retailers to stay connected through notifications, live offers and in-app messages. App commerce will provide customers with up-to-date content and unique features that will encourage them to continue shopping.

Offer incentives

Incentives shows the customer that the retailer is going the extra mile. This can be something as unique as customer loyalty schemes to something as simple as providing free returns/deliveries. When purchasing a product, customers have come to expect free delivery and according to Tryzens Consumer Insight Research, 65% of Australians say that they abandon checkout because there is no free delivery. Free shipping and returns can heavily influence a customer’s buying decision. If they choose not to buy a product because of the additional charge in delivery, then there’s an even bigger chance they will not return to the site.

Constantly making a customer feel as if they are at the heart of the business will make them want to return. Adopting personalisation tactics, developing an app, and offering incentives allows retailers to not only meet customer expectations but exceed expectations. Doing this will make customers feel appreciated and will make them want to return again and again.

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