Addressing Demand Surges In Retail

By: Teamwork Commerce

The last few months have been interesting for retailers, from a successful start to the year, to a limited operational environment, brands have experienced both ends of the retail spectrum. With many learning to take advantage of new technologies, systems and approaches to continue connecting with customers and establishing relationships with prospects. While it may seem like the U.S has passed the COVID era, now is the best time to look back over the last few quarters and create an effective approach to retail moving forward.

 

Leading The Change

Businesses that have succeeded during the “shutdown”  have one thing in common: innovation. From eCommerce, to store fulfillment, these businesses have taken advantage of the latest technology to continue servicing customers where they are in a convenient, engaged and considerate manner. In times of uncertainty peoples habits are the first thing to go, from exercise regimes to shopping behaviors, companies have to work twice as hard for the same level of engagement and success across their retail channels. But, companies that have moved forward during this period have demonstrated innovation, providing accessibility for their customers at home, and enabling semi-normal service through curbside pickup, delivery and online communications. All of these features, and customer centered services come through effective automation and a strong back-end that enables limitless functionality for customers. One of the biggest tools for retailers is complex deep-dive analytics allowing brands to control their approach to the market and optimizing the customer experience, ensuring that effective inventory management is leveraged to remove operational barriers for retailers.

 

Looking For Advantages

What sets your brand apart? Compelling brand, strong customer service, or high quality product. Retailers and brands need to identify their strengths and play to them in the re-surging marketplace. If customer service is the bread and butter for a brick-and-mortar retailer, then the focus should be empowering staff to provide that experience. On the floor retail tools, flexibility at the point of sale, engaging communication strategies and a system that centrally tracks their customers and behaviors across channels. 

But, while playing to your strengths is always a good strategy, minimizing weaknesses is just important. While it is much harder to provide and experiential shopping experience online, it is still possible with some attentive user interface design and effective communication strategies. Companies are now able to take full advantage of software algorithms and access key opportunities to connect with customers. Evaluating data to uncover and anticipate inefficiencies across all points of sale. With the expectation of door busting demand, retailers can expect that these inefficiencies will quickly be revealed. Customers are more concerned about safety and cleanliness than ever, and this all adds time to the shopping experience. Requiring contactless payment as well as self service tools where available. If retailers do not take advantage of these tools they can expect to increase friction in their retail process, leading to dissatisfaction on behalf of the customer. 

 

Establishing A Unique Approach

This experience has taught every retailer that brick-and-mortar retail is not a monolith. Across the spectrum of verticals retailers and brands have reacted in a myriad of different ways to overcome the challenges of limited operations. Retailers have a unique opportunity to reconsider the way they will continue to approach the market, and realign the way in which they identify their brand to customers across channels. The need for increased speed, flexibility and automations is essential, the days of a top-down hierarchy have to dissolve in order to allow a new and targeted approach to the retail management process. Being able to use stores as micro-fulfillment centers and control surges in demand through eCommerce channels or flexible POS tools can ensure that brands can manage their appearance and ensure the experience is directly representative of their shopping goals.

Retail will undoubtedly be a flexible & varied landscape over the next few months, but there is one key aspect which will help brands throughout this challenging time. Brands have to focus on what makes their experience special. Consumers are limited on time, patience and consideration now. COVID fatigue will be the new challenge for retailers to overcome, brands will have to re-establish their strength, value and identity proving to retailers every time that their experience is worthwhile.

 

See how Teamwork Commerce & our integration ecosystem can empower your brand to create a more engaging, customer friendly and efficient experience across retail channels.

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