Today’s consumers are strapped for time. Retailers that simplify the shopping experience – both online and offline – will continue to see an increase in business. If fact, one of the downfalls in the Amazon shopping experience is being bombarded by a vast array of and often times non-relevant products. How many times have you abandoned Amazon or another e-commerce site because you couldn’t find the exact product you were looking for? Retailers looking to compete with Amazon need to help customers evade shopper fatigue. Consider ways you can collect and filter information based on a customer’s preferences, serve-up recommendations based on expert reviews (think “editor’s picks”), or suggest additional items that supplement an existing purchase. You must also have technology in place that is gathering basic KPI data such as inventory levels and costs of goods and have the ability to view data in real-time.
Gone are the days of brand loyal consumers. To stay relevant with today’s fickle buyers, consider the power of Social Listening. Social Listening using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, enables retailers to gather purchase intentions and then customize discounts, offers and promotions based on customers’ interests. Customizing your offers and marketing messaging based on intentions gathered from social allows you to stay relevant and shows customers that you’re in tune with their needs. If you’re already using a CRM system today, find-out if there’s Social Listening capabilities that aren’t being used or explore an easy to use tool like Microsoft Dynamics CRM which provides Social Listening + additional marketing automation features such as email and list management and marketing analytics.
Amazon offers a breadth of products but what they aren’t able to provide is expert advice across their vast offerings. Hone in on your best sellers and develop resources around these products and how they are used in an effort to cultivate a community following. Consider creating an expert advice section, review videos, product demonstrations and user-generated content such as a photo gallery or Instagram feed. Market to your target customers and let them know that you are THE experts around those specific products and have educational resources to help them during and after purchase. Consider reaching out via social media and through traditional channels like email – something Amazon cannot do effectively across their entire product line given their vast array of offerings.
Given the clamor for companies to take market share from Amazon, more and more retailers are offering price matching along with free shipping. With these new incentives to shop online, more and more consumers are showboating. If you have a physical storefront, you’ve inevitably been a victim of this. Fortunately, you can take advantage of this new consumer trend by providing more interactive options for customers that visit your location. Consider offering product demonstrations and resources to help customers make the decision while in-store. Use mobile POS to drive purchase conversion and include interactive displays to keep consumers entertained.
Competing against retail giants like Amazon requires driving customer loyalty. Implementing tactics like we’ve covered such as simplifying the decision process and creating a community are good first steps in driving brand loyalty. To take your efforts to the next level, focus on developing a loyalty program that rewards customers for their purchases. Using an ERP system, you can easily track purchase history and tie purchases to a point systems that offers customers perks towards their new purchase. If you’re looking to drive more revenue from millennials specifically, consider that 74% of Millennial women and 52% of millennial men are members of at least on fashion and accessories loyalty program, according to a report by Punchtab.
When building your program, consider instituting tiers to segment your customers (even using a VIP level that requires annual payment). And, be sure to offer rewards beyond free product like exclusive access to events and industry experts.