Leveraging Customer Loyalty This Holiday Season – Multi-Channel Merchant

As we head into the 2021 holiday season, it’s important for brands to remember that in-store shopping is still important, even as e-commerce grows exponentially, as it provides the social aspect and capabilities of discovery from which customers benefit.

Consumers today are channel agnostic, buying when and how they want. They require a basic digital experience that will allow them to achieve the desired results. Meeting their expectations is no longer enough; surpassing them is what earns their loyalty in the post-pandemic era. To be successful this holiday season and beyond, brands must prepare now.

Loyalty lasts

Customer loyalty will be the top-ranked metric for shoppers when deciding which brands to buy during the 2021 holiday season, perhaps replacing both price and convenience.

Brands must not lose the spirit of innovation that has emerged during the pandemic, as digital technologies have been a vital lifeline for so many when we couldn’t be together in person. The transformation and agility that was essential to meeting the challenges of the pandemic head-on must continue to be harnessed as we face the “next normal”.

The empathetic tone that many brands chose to adopt in their messaging and marketing evoked a sense of togetherness that transcended a more transactional approach, and that must not go away. The pandemic has also forced brands to make quick, short-term wins, but now brands need to focus on building relationships, creating exceptional experiences, and meeting rising expectations to win and retain customers at long term.

Understand how consumers have changed

Despite the uneven economic recovery, the general sentiment of global consumers is optimistic. A major indicator of the renewed positive outlook for buyers includes a long-awaited return to participation in social engagements outside the home.

Consumers around the world are expected to spend more on gifts in 2021 than in 2020. This is directly related to missed vacations in 2020 and the improved financial situation of many in 2021. These factors will most likely be recurring themes, as they point to a level of pent-up consumer demand as prolonged lockdowns with social gatherings and limited travel have made most shoppers eager to spend again.

As we head into the holiday spending season, we are on the cusp of a period where consumers can “revenge the spending” to offset a time when essentials were their priority while discretionary purchases were delayed or cancelled. Brands can capitalize on this momentum by planning ahead and being better prepared for holiday spending spikes.

Get ready for holiday shopping with 2020 in mind

Ensure pandemic preferred purchasing practices are still in place. For example, we expect customers to continue to use curbside pickup after the pandemic has passed, surpassing pre-pandemic usage. When it comes to digital, consider the impact of mandatory or high shipping fees and uncertainty about personal security and payments on a consumer’s likelihood of purchase.

Brands need to provide faster, more convenient delivery options that will adapt to consumer expectations and timing to maintain loyalty. Use this momentum in consumer adoption of forward-thinking delivery methods to gain a competitive advantage in fulfillment.

The likelihood of pandemic shopping behaviors persisting largely depends on how well a brand executes these initiatives. For example, a negative grocery delivery experience will likely drive a consumer back to shop at the store, perhaps at a competitor’s, with little desire to try delivery again anytime soon.

The main conclusion is that brands play an important role in the likelihood that these new consumption behaviors will become permanent. The pandemic has necessitated the pivot of many of these behaviors, while in others it has accelerated their eventual adoption, but after more than a year of execution, brands must now refine these capabilities to deliver the experiences that buyers expect before the competition. holiday season.

Be channel aware

The number of touchpoints a consumer engages with before making a purchase continues to grow. 2020 Connected client status report from Salesforce reports that nearly 75% of buyers used multiple channels during a single transaction. The dividing lines between channels have blurred – where one channel ends, the next begins.

Services such as buy online, collect in store (BOPIS) and mobile wallets have eroded these lines between channels. From the customers’ perspective, the journey is independent of the channel: the brand experience is essentially an aggregated set of experiences. yet, Brands need to recognize a shopper’s propensity to favor one channel over another, and the rationale behind this trend, in order to provide a unified and seamless experience.

Whichever channel they choose, brands need to be ready to deliver an experience that will surprise and delight customers this holiday season in order to build loyalty.

With each holiday season, the stakes rise for brands. The 2020 holiday season was the biggest on record for online shopping, with Salesforce reporting e-commerce sales catapulting to $1.1 trillion worldwide. This was due to the pandemic-induced pivot to digital, and potential stabilization could occur due to an increase in offline sales as physical stores reopen. Yet consumers are unlikely to completely revert to the customer journey of the past.

Renata Akers is an analyst at amazing trade

Joseph P. Harris