Retail has been a scary place for the last year.
Brick and mortar locations were hit particularly hard by lockdown restrictions. Harrods saw 80,000 visitors in an average day before the pandemic. That number soon dropped to 4,500 visitors, a 95% reduction in footfall. This made a huge impact on their revenue, which fell further still when locations were closed altogether.
Conversely, the boom this past year for organisations in the business of home improvement with a solid online presence has been spectacular. For example, B&Q saw an increase of 150% in e-commerce while Screwfix, Wickes, and others saw a similar influx.
These companies were able to return furlough money and keep their staff gainfully employed. In a time of hardship for many people, these are rare pieces of good news.
Who will win the battle of the post-pandemic retail landscape?
It will be the companies who are ready to engage their customers with superior omnichannel experiences – the ones who accept that store footfall will remain at historic lows and implement a strategy to make it easy and enjoyable for their customers to deal with them online as much as possible.
The companies that create an engaging and effective online customer journey will be the ones to thrive in the new-normal of retail markets.
What will entice a potential customer to visit your website over others?
Advertising is critical, of course, but we have also seen that websites with an interactive consumer engagement strategy have achieved a dramatic increase in visitors. We see time and again that the consumers who are given an engaging online experience will be many times more likely to remain involved throughout the customer journey to the point of purchase.
In fact, customers experiencing a great online buying journey are more likely to be drawn to the store, as well as online, when they are ready to buy. They will also recommend your products and services to family and friends because of how smooth their shopping experience was.
The retail company that allows consumers to interact, share, and become inspired by their online experience will be the company that wins the business from that customer. The retailer that manages that customer’s interests well, recognizing and valuing their interests while guiding them through the buying journey, will keep that customer coming back time and again.
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