Reimagining retail for better consumer engagement

Challenges & opportunities for retail businesses 2021
Reimagining retail for better consumer engagement
The retail industry has always faced challenges due to technological evolutions and fluctuating customer demands.Photo - Hier und jetzt endet leider meine Reise auf Pixabay aber from Pixabay

The increasing demands of today's tech-savvy shoppers are redefining the retail or buying experiences. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has struck, many consumers now prefer to shop online means their expectations of experience are higher than ever and should match the technological advancements they enjoy online. They are getting a dozen of options online for a particular product. This has also led to the waning of brand loyalty as customers keep switching to newer retailers. On the other side, today's retailers face challenges from their offline competitors and the online eCommerce web portals, depending on who serves the best need of customers at the time. As retailers find new and innovative ways to attract potential buyers and retain existing ones, a decline in brand loyalty is a problem faced by all. To keep customers shopping from them, retailers can take various approaches and enhance their buying experience.

Customer loyalty

Keeping your customer coming back regardless of enticements is a challenging task for retail businesses. The opportunity lies in reaching out to potential customers via modern marketing channels that could help to develop more personal relationships and build trust. Changes in the customers' demands and expectations faster than one's imagination pose another hurdle for retailers that make it necessary to keep the store updated. Innovative approaches are required to deal with the problem most effectively.

Digital disruptions

Online business models have slashed the physical constraints of shopping. With an appropriate IT infrastructure, retail companies can tap the massive potential of the market, getting a chance to reach a large audience. To streamline and upscale a business, retailers need to stay on pace with the technological upgrades that fit well with their business model's needs. They might need to invest in software that could manage their routine procedures and reduce the costs simultaneously.

Employee turnover rates

Retail businesses face the challenge of a high employee turnover ratio and retaining them for the long term. Reducing employee turnover rates and increasing employee engagement through various training programs can maximize their potential to perform better.

Ineffective communications

Retail businesses face the challenge of more sophisticated communications across departments due to complex structures. This makes it difficult to streamline their projects and improve management. Finding more sophisticated internal communication solutions to improvise business processes and integrate company departments towards common objectives can bring opportunities for retailers.

Social media platforms

The vigorous presence of customers on social media brings challenges and opportunities for any business. It helps spread word of mouth for any brand, be it good or bad. Retail businesses need to reconcile their marketing strategies of various platforms, including social media. There are many platforms available to promote a businesses' products and services and manage customer feedback effectively.

Need for an ecosystem for offline & online businesses

An ecosystem needs to be developed where both offline and online businesses could co-exist. However, online businesses can tie-up with the local stores or enter into franchises to push the stocks of physical stores. For the overall growth of businesses, an ecosystem must be developed wherein online and offline businesses could co-exist and grow faster and better.

Go vocal for local

There is a huge opportunity for physical stores as demands for localized goods and services have increased post-covid as the travel is shut. The Tier2 and Tier 3 markets are growing exponentially, which is prominent for retail growth. With an overall rise in domestic consumption, going vocal for local will help upsurge sales in brick-and-mortar stores.

To win over the fickle nature of customers, retail businesses must foster brand loyalty in this disloyal world. Businesses need to provide seamless cross-channel customer services for a delightful customer experience. This is high time to align people, processes, and technology to reroute products and spike the sales graph. Retailers must exploit opportunities through their flawless customer engagement strategies.

Aditya Bafna is the managing director at Seva Group.

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