The recent changing economic conditions have seen changes in customer behaviour, and retailers must move to remain profitable.
Social media has opened up a whole new world of potential for experiential marketing, allowing retailers to gain a much greater organic reach. Through the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, marketers can get people talking, benefiting from the integrated narratives that shoppers engage in across social media.
Digital has changed the way consumers shop. Around 92% of sales now happen online, and most customers spend time researching products and comparing prices before they actually enter a store.
Media spend needs to keep pace with this trend, and advertising budgets should now be targeted more towards digital. Online promotional activity through websites, email campaigns, and PPC advertising should be used to drive sales.
Theatrical experiences in retail
One way of driving customer engagement and generating interest in your brand is by creating a theatrical experience for shoppers who visit your store. A memorable experience is highly likely to be shared on social media, encouraging more footfall and increasing sales. One example of this is at Christmas time; many stores hire ‘Santa’s reindeer’ to be outside the store, encouraging parents to bring their kids along to see them.
Customer and brand experiences in retail
In order to keep pace with the likes of Amazon, retailers need to be innovative. Innovations need to focus on unique brand positioning, creating memorable, shareable signature experiences for customers, rather than just seeking to snare sales. A simple way to achieve this would be through holding a special tasting event to promote new food or drink products in-store.
One very effective way of gaining customer loyalty is by learning about them. You can gain a competitive advantage here, by learning about your clients faster than your competition, and by applying that data more quickly than your competitors.
Useful tools for mapping the customer journey include digital tools that record visitors’ habits when they land on your website. Do they spend time browsing your content, looking at products etc.? Do they order from you regularly online or do they prefer to buy in-store?
It’s widely thought that businesses are failing to do enough to provide good customer service, being too focused on processes and sales. UK customers are generally too polite to complain, preferring instead to simply take their business elsewhere next time. This action leads to gaps in the customer data and means that the unsatisfactory service continues unchecked, causing damage to the business in the long-term.
Businesses should make concerted efforts to seek after-sales feedback to establish where they can improve their customer service.