Retail in 2022: How to deliver a first-rate online offer before it’s too late
In an all too familiar set of circumstances, another wave of Government-imposed restrictions are set to impact retail’s most important trading period. As compulsory mask-wearing and work from home guidance returns to the UK, retail expert Springboard predicts that footfall in Central London shopping locations will drop by a further 30%, taking it to 50% below pre-Covid levels. Covid Plan B will also prompt a sharp rise in online spend, with non-food ecommerce spend to rise from 22% of the market to around 29%. For retailers yet to refine their online offer, this new guidance marks another potentially devastating setback.
In 2022, consumer confidence and high street footfall will remain in lockstep with Covid concerns. The number of consumers migrating online will continue to rise, and their expectations will follow suit. For retailers looking to survive and thrive next year, a second-rate online store is no longer an option. Here are some tips to avoid being left behind.
Prioritising customer experience
With online sales once again on the rise, retailers cannot underestimate the value of an online offer able to match, if not excel, that of their flagship highstreet store.
Face-to-face customer service has long been one of the biggest draws of shopping in-store. When making difficult or expensive purchases, many customers understandably look for the personalised service and expert guidance often associated with an in-store sales assistant. However, with the help of technology, retailers are now in a position to deliver previously unachievable personalised experiences online.
Through guided selling tools like onsite problem solver tech, brands can better understand customer needs. This engagement brings brands closer to their customer base, and enables them to offer a level of online service parallel to the tailored support and expert guidance so often expected in-store. The lines between physical and digital retail are blurring, and brands must look to deliver first-rate sales assistance across both next year.
Bringing your brand online
Another area where physical retail has often prevailed is in delivering bespoke brand experiences. Retailers know how to deliver boutique experiences in person, with the likes of Disney, Victoria Secret and Lego known for their immersive and unmistakably on-brand store portfolio. In 2022, retailers must consider how to replicate this sense of brand online.
To avoid getting lost in the mass of brands on third party distributor sites, some retailers like Nivea and Unilever have turned to a direct-to-consumer model (DTC) and launched their own ecommerce sites. Going DTC empowers brands to present themselves exactly how they want to be presented and brings them closer to their customers. But it must be done in the right way and technology can help. Through on-site surveys and email retargeting, brands can reach their customer base in new and more direct ways, control their own messaging and glean learnings to cultivate a unique user experience.
As we move into a new year almost as challenging as the last, forward thinking brands will make sure to adopt the right tools and technologies to enhance their online offer.
If you’re interested in how technology can help your business make the most of 2022, get in touch with the Ve Global team today.