6 Strategies to Win Shoppers’ Hearts
by Bonnie Janzen
After the pandemic, there have been a number of big-name retailers who have filed for bankruptcy. Some have come back, and others have not. We have recently seen bankruptcies of Bed, Bath & Beyond, David’s Bridal, Party City, Home Goods, Neiman Marcus, and JC Penney. These were all very successful businesses for many years, but times have shifted.
It is critical that retailers remain relevant to keep an enduring place in the hearts and minds of consumers. So, how can you position your brand and your retail operation for success in the hypercompetitive and extremely fast-moving environment?
Retailers face a myriad of challenges, including omnichannel, delivery to numerous locations/partners, agile marketing, the need to get fast product innovations to market, as well as all the supply chain disruptions we have seen over the past few years.
When consulting with our retail clients, we focus on strategies in these key areas:
1Customer Experience: What delights your shoppers and your customers? What do you offer that is truly unique? What do you offer that customers can customize or make their own? What does your brand and retail experience promise? What can you deliver to shoppers that impacts as many senses as possible—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—and will be relevant to their needs? How can you deliver those experiences in-store, online, with an app, through virtual e-commerce, and by augmented reality?
2Product Experience: What are all the ways that the customer would like to interact with the product: in-person, by watching a video, by reading reviews, or by seeing images? Can you provide a tech solution that makes it easier for customers to try out the products with less effort? How can they use VR or AR to see the product in their home, or picture apparel on their body, etc., which might motivate them to buy the product right now?
3Pricing Strategy: It is important to determine and continually test the optimal pricing strategy. This includes finding the items that shoppers are most likely to comparison price shop and making sure you are competitive on these items. Then, it is important to keep tabs on the pricing of the typical basket for your average shopper. If there are 8 or 10 items that are frequently purchased, and each have increased in price by 5%, that shopper will feel significant overall sticker shock at checkout. It is important to conduct choice modeling or other pricing research to better position your key product lines with optimal pricing, so that customers do not become disenfranchised.
4Merchandising: What products and categories do you “own“? In which areas do you excel? How can you push the envelope to get new and interesting products to market faster? How can you get consumer feedback sooner to improve decision-making for buyers and merchandisers? How can you make buying these products and categories easier or more fun for the shopper? You might create packaging that drives the shopper to turn the package over and read the details/facts. How can you seamlessly integrate online and in-person experiences to enhance each other? How do you also manage the inventory and supply chain to minimize out of stocks?
5Delivery Optimization: How can you deliver the product to the customer faster and in a more convenient way? Pick-up, delivery to store, delivery to home or office, to the jobsite for construction, or to a nearby store where they will be shopping for something else? You should interact with the customer at the time and in the format they prefer—in-store, by voice with Alexa or Google, online via mobile app, or online via company website. How can you fulfill that need even before the customer has to request it? Automated refill or email to remind them? In addition, if you are a new product or brand, how do you disrupt or break into the “reorder” where the shopper just refills a previous shopping list? If you are not on the “list” now, how do you generate significant trial among your target audience?
6Customer Empowerment: What is the most helpful and useful way that the customer would like to interact with the retailer? It’s the shopper who makes the rules of their interactions with retailers, not vice versa. Is it via app, website, Alexa, Google, or other ways, or do they like a choice of multiple ways to access a retailer? Is there a way to anticipate that, when the customer is searching online for specific products or events, the marketing campaign would be perfectly timed to tell them about the products just as they recognize their need?
Identifying the best methodology to uncover the most meaningful consumer insights at every step of the customer journey is vital. Customers know a great experience, an authentic brand, and exceptional products when they see them. Pricing strategy also has to be consistent with branding. In-the-moment qualitative research can help you optimize the customer experience at every touchpoint. This research can be enhanced with the combination of in-person shop-along interviews, shopping assignments and video diaries, as well as customer-journey research.
The world of retail is fast-paced and ever-changing; therefore, our consumer insights techniques and solutions must be also! Based on the right consumer insights, we can help our retail partners continue to evolve and develop successful strategies!
How will you innovate in the retail space to surprise and delight your shoppers?
About the Author
Bonnie Janzen (email@example.com) is Executive Vice President at Decision Analyst. She may be reached at 1-800-262-5974 or 1-817-640-6166.
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