Rethinking in-store and online customer engagement

October 6, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

Retail store re-openings are accelerating the use of digital towards rethinking in-store and online customer engagement, states Deloitte.

The effects of COVID-19 on the retail industry are profound and unprecedented. Retailers now have to evaluate how the customer has evolved during and after the crisis. Customer expectations, needs, behaviours and priorities have to be evaluated in the new environment.

“Be digital-first, even in-store,” Deloitte recommends. “Beyond a website and an app, invest in customer-facing digital tools that enhance the customer experience in-store. When they can’t be in-store, livestream shopping events hosted by store associates for at-home customers, taking orders in real-time through the app. Continue to improve frictionless, contactless payment options. Use augmented reality (AR)-enabled product-detail pages online to create immersive store-like experiences.”

Deloitte also suggests retailers to rethink the purpose of the store. “Use the store as a showroom. Change the ratio of back-of-store to front-of-store to support greater online fulfilment needs. Use store space to offer support services to customers, such as setting up a call centre on the shop floor for staff to take calls and virtual shop for customers in real-time.”

Overall, rethinking in-store and online customer engagement will be crucial in the future as shopping habits and expectations have transformed.

Finally, Deloitte points towards the importance of creating emotional, not just transactional, loyalty. “Recognise returning customers in-store the same way you do online. Offer exclusive access or services, not just pricing promotions.”


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