As retailers are grappling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail sector is estimated to recover nearly 80% of pre-covid sales by the end of the calendar year as per RedSeer’s ground zero series findings. The traditional brick and mortar stores and small vendors’ interaction with their customers have been morphed with virtual supermarkets. From the past few months, it’s been clear that we won’t be doing ‘Business as Usual’ anytime soon so digital presence is here to stay. Thus, the digital presence of retailers has moved from a ‘nice-to-have’ capability to be an ‘Essential Service’ to deliver an omnipresent approach.
There’s no doubt that events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday’s are going to look completely different for retailers this year. Being the last quarter of the year, it is considered to be the most busiest and profitable time for retailers. Online sales for retailers have skyrocketed this year, hence upgrading their business to a flexible e-commerce platform will fulfill every customer’s fast-changing traffic demands.
Here’s how brick and mortars could successfully make the switch to click and mortar ecommerce sites:
Control Your Brand with an e-Commerce Website and App:
This year’s sales are more critical than ever for retailers, due to the unprecedented loss of business they had to bear. Retailers top-up their sales during mega shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, and more, as customers’ shopping spends are at an all time high during the season. However with a number of restrictions imposed by the government following social distancing guidelines to avoid the rush in stores, it has become vital for retailers to start with their own e-commerce website and in most cases even a mobile shopping app.
E-commerce has the capability to turn your visitors into repeat customers. Your website should be mobile-responsive, seamless to navigate and well equipped to manage increased levels of engagement. With a click-to-chat button on the website, you can redirect your customers to their preferred OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook messenger and directly purchase your product.
Offer Curbside Collect and Buy Online, Pick-up (BOPUS) In-store:
Offering a curbside pick-up process is slightly challenging for retailers, but it’s a good contactless solution to enable sales in a restricted environment, where Pandemic norms are active. Retailers can improve customer experience by leveraging WhatsApp Business Solutions, Viber Business Messages, and RCS Business Messaging in providing shoppers with vital information such as order status, curbside pick-up, operating hours, time-slots, etc. and explain how your operational procedures have been designed for their safety.
Embrace Online Strategies:
A typical customer’s inbox is flooded with barrage of emails vying for their attention but make sure that your Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails aren’t counted as spam and ignored. Personalized mails always do better than batch and blast emails, if you have a good subject line. As a pre-sales activity, you can run an email campaign, using exclusive eye-catching email templates as well as good content to boost your sales. Set up your email campaigns by sending mails like sale teasers, countdown announcement, pre-promotional, and post-promotion email. By segmenting your active users offer a preview sale for your loyal customers with discounts such as free-of-charge gift-wrapping, free shipping, buy-one-get-one-free to name a few. Retailers should pick only those strategies which are most aligned to what they sell.
Offer a Coupon Code and Hype it Up:
Offering a coupon code is an effective way to increase your sales with both existing and new customers. You can surprise your customers by sending a unique coupon code at the time of checkout. This is a clever way to make your offers more interesting and encourage customers to visit your site and move to checkout. Incorporate gamification in offers such as ‘play to win’ to get more engagement from new customers and re-engage your existing customers. ‘Scratch a card’ is another way to promote your limited-time discounts and deals.
Simplify Your Payment Process:
What retailers expect from customers is to hit the ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Proceed to Checkout’ buttons. The payment process and payment buttons play a crucial role in the success of your sales. Make your checkout process mobile-friendly by using payment buttons on apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and RCS to provide your customers with easy and fast payment options.
Customers often come across their favorite, top-selling, or popular items out-of-stock during the holiday season and it can get frustrating for them. Retailers can get back to their customers by sending a ‘Back-in-Stock’ alert on OTT messaging platforms, SMS, and emails. The product availability will encourage your customer to make the purchase or express their desire, if you provide an additional call-to-action like ‘Reserve’ to hold the item. In case you are not able to arrange the stock, you can always share an alternative list of items in stock and use a discount strategy by providing a discount code for the items available at your store.
To run a successful holiday sales program requires a lot of planning and preparation. It’s the window of opportunity in typical shopping periods that you’ll need to make the utmost utilization. There are a plethora of strategies you can adopt to increase your sales and enhance customer experience this season. So it’s about time to get digital. Happy Holidays!
Drive your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales using conversational AI and enhance customer experience with Route Mobile’s Messaging platform.