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Amid the coronavirus-driven turbulence that has rocked the global economy in 2020, businesses large and small find themselves at an inflection point.
Prior to the pandemic, many enterprises not only recognized the long-term need to streamline operations and enhance their digital capabilities but had also begun adjusting their operations to align with the larger shift toward ecommerce, greater reliance on online touchpoints and internal digital transformation. But even businesses that were ahead of the curve were thrown for a loop when the Covid outbreak forced them to move almost entirely online within a few weeks.
Several months in, it’s clear that this shift was more than a makeshift solution for dealing with the pandemic. There won’t be a return to the old normal before businesses once again gradually plan for an increasingly digital future. The future is now. Look no further than consumers’ holiday shopping plans: According to a recent consumer survey, 70 percent of shoppers plan to do most of their holiday gift-buying online this year. How can your business not simply survive this new normal, but actually thrive this holiday season? Here are four essential tactics for navigating the weeks to come.
1. Get the entire business on the same page
No matter your business’s size, effective internal communication, collaboration and workflows are key — especially in fast-paced, high-pressure times like these.
A quality workflow platform like monday.com or Asana can foster a much-needed sense of order and choreography even during the most hectic of times, providing a centralized system for tracking different projects. Create clear channels of communication and delegate core tasks and initiatives — from marketing to inventory — so that every important aspect of your holiday planning has a responsible “owner” who will see it through to execution.
Simply put, the only way to guarantee that your customer-facing operations are running smoothly is to first ensure that your internal operations are up to par.
2. Make digital analytics your friend
For any business to truly understand its strengths and weaknesses, it’s crucial to understand every step of the customer journey. Take it from the customers themselves: 83 percent say that a responsive online shopping experience is an important factor influencing their loyalty to a brand.
Some tools offer brands a 360-degree view of the customer experience on both web and mobile, enabling businesses to pinpoint problems and pain points in real-time and to respond with agility.
Are your resources scarce? Focus your optimization efforts on mobile, which is increasingly dominating ecommerce sales. eMarketer projects that mobile will generate $3.56 trillion in revenue in 2021 — accounting for 72.9 percent of all ecommerce sales, up from $970 billion and 52.4 percent of ecommerce sales in 2016.
As more shoppers turn to their mobile devices, their patience for bugs is wearing thin. In fact, 50 percent of consumers say that an app crash would damage their relationship with a brand, with 24 percent likely to move to a competitor and 25 percent saying they’d think less of the brand’s products.
Having a window into the customer journey sets a solid foundation for your online CX operations and makes it easier to integrate more features like chatbots, alternative payment options and more, without the fear of not being able to manage every aspect.
3. Attract customers with creative incentives
In the current economic climate, customers are uniquely price-sensitive, which makes well-executed ideas for coupons, discounts and promotions all the more important.
Some 42 percent of consumers say that a 10 percent discount would make them more likely to make an additional purchase in an ecommerce session. But it’s not enough to lure shoppers with coupons and discounts. It’s vital to understand when they’re most effective, which is only possible if brands invest in obtaining a deep knowledge of each step of their customers’ digital journeys. Armed with rich, end-to-end insights into the customer experience, you can prevent customers from leaving the funnel and know precisely when and how to engage a shopper with a too-good-to-resist offer.
4. Make it personal
Personalization has become one of ecommerce’s biggest buzzwords, and for a good reason. Customers want to feel welcome, wanted and understood — not like numbers in a company’s database.
Even casual shoppers can be turned into loyal lifetime customers with a relevant, engaging ecommerce experience. And with many shoppers curbing their brick-and-mortar purchases this year, it’s more essential than ever to provide customers with the same individualized attention and service they’ve come to expect from their friendly area store clerks.
AI-driven platforms can help brands direct the right products toward the right customers, delivering an experience that’s as effective and streamlined as possible.
There’s no getting around it. This will be a holiday season unlike any other. But while the pandemic that has upended our lives will finally be vanquished at some point, digital is here to stay. Now is the time for brands to adapt accordingly.