Many consumers have taken their grocery shopping online during the COVID pandemic. Online shopping has shown a significant surge of adoption over the past few weeks. Post pandemic, it is estimated that this trend will continue and food-retailers should strategize how to maximize online technology for short- and long-term benefits and implement resources for their customers.
Enhancing Customer Experience
A strategic and targeted way to enhance customer experience is through the use of mobile apps. Today, when smartphones are a primary tool for communication, it is advantageous for retailers to have mobile apps to communicate with their customers. Customers want food retailers to communicate with them in an easy, seamless fashion and store apps on smartphones offer a convenient method to provide messaging. Apps, especially during this time, provide customers a way to look up product availability before going to the store. They could also search for coupons, discounts, and featured items for the week. This gives them an opportunity to order products online or make their selections before heading to the store.
Also, the use of store mobile apps enhance the shopping experience with in-store navigation and product information like personal prices and personal diets. Tying the mobile app with customer loyalty programs strategically reinforce retailers’ goals to attract and retain existing customers through various reward programs.
Social media is another way retailers could maximize online technology during the pandemic. As customers seek more information about products and services, retailers could leverage social media to communicate with their customers through social posts, product reviews/recommendations, and engaging with their customers through comments or messages.
The way forward for retailers is all about personalization. After this pandemic, there will be an increased level of personalization in retail stores’ online platforms and across all communication channels as customer buying behavior changes.
Some food-retail personalization strategies that retailers could implement during this crisis include implementing location-based messaging such as email marketing to a targeted audience for store hours, promotions, and inventory-specific products for each store location. Also, personalization strategies could include enhancing customer in-store experience through surveys, improving after-sales service, and using shoppers’ real-time data to layout marketing initiatives like using customer shopping data to send out abandoned cart emails to customers.
Online technology has provided us with many avenues to support our business operations, especially in the food retail industry. During challenging times like these, it is more important than ever to bridge the gap between retailers and consumers. In order to do so, we must leverage all the resources that we have, like the use of online technology, for the benefit of our business and customers.