The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the ways in which customers engage and interact with their favourite brands for good.
Going forward, retaining customers will be a fundamental part of business growth for retailers.
Danni Hunt, Head of Multi-Channel (RedEye) and James Ede, Head of Customer Success (RedEye) discuss the loyalty lessons learnt from a year of national lockdowns and how retailers can prepare for the post-pandemic world.
1. Put customer experience first
Consumers care more about customer experience now than ever before. According to Salesforce, 80% say experience is equally as important as product or service and 66% expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
In the post-pandemic world, it’s not all about sales and revenue, explained Danni Hunt, “customer experience is everything. So jazz it up and become more proficient with your service comms.”
“You should link up and integrate your database with your customer service platforms, to guarantee a full 3-dimensional customer view.”
Knowing who these individuals are and what they want from your brand is the first step to improving overall customer experience.
2. More channels, more opportunities
The number of channels customers are using to engage with brands has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now more than ever, customers are expecting a better customer experience both online and offline. In fact, 73% said they are likely to use multiple channels during their purchase journey.1
“Multichannel is more important in a post-COVID world, as the shopping experience has to be instant, visible and available 24/7 via many forms of media” explained Danni, “personalised messages have to become more interactive to replace an offline shopping experience, so experiment and test all types of content.”
James Ede built on this, explaining “if your customers always buy a particular product or category, offer them discounts or a free item related to this.”
Promoting personalised recommendations to customers, not only helps potentially increase the volume of purchases per customer, but also shows the customer you care by showing them something complimentary to either a past purchase or something you know they’d like.
3. It’s all about data
In the post-pandemic world, data insight is key. Danni Hunt said retailers should “identify new trends that have appeared in the last 18 months, test and learn from them. Your customer base will have changed over the course of the pandemic, so will the expectations of your customers and prospects.”
In fact, 97% of shoppers who tried a new brand said they intend to purchase from them again.2
Learning who these people are and how they engage with your brand will be key to maintaining them. To do so, “retailers should get feedback,” said Danni, “don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they want – all the time – not just once every five years.”
James Ede agreed, saying “something we’ve seen work quite nicely was sending a free gift with a purchase, but rotating and asking for customer feedback to gain insights into what was effective.”
James concluded that the “data should then be used to determine the next steps. Are you increasing the repeat purchases from your loyal base in what you are doing?”.
4. Repay customers loyalty
According to James Ede, “the clients that typically have the best success nurture their loyal customers and offer random acts of kindness that are tailored to the individual. Whilst you don’t necessarily need to have a loyalty scheme, it certainly helps.”
This is particularly true in the post-pandemic world, as 82% of consumers now belong to at least one reward scheme.3
James contends you should “treat your loyal customers differently – allow them access to things earlier than others such as sale activity or give them notifications ahead of the crowd about events so that they feel special.”
Also don’t forget the opportunity to drive new loyal fans as James highlighted “for those who are not in the bracket of loyalty, show them what they are missing out on!”.
Throughout their lifecycle with you there are many scenarios to highlight your loyalty benefits. In particular James suggested at a minimum to include information about your loyalty programmes into your welcome journey or retention campaigns.
1 The Drum: Harvard Business Review
2 The Wise Marketer: 94% of UK shoppers will walk from brands if they don’t agree with their response to COVID-19, Braze survey reveals
3 Mintel: UK Customer Loyalty Market Report 2020