The way we live, work, communicate and shop has changed forever. Don’t expect anything less from customers, your sales touch points should meet them halfway at least.
Same way I feel ‘somehow’ when people request physical meetings to discuss what Zoom can handle, many customers are looking forward to a more convenient and safer way to buy products or services.
These are some top retail trends that could how alter how customers want to buy from you:
1. Near Me’ searches have more than doubled over the past 12 months.
Several days of lockdown and subsequent social distancing measures has impressed it upon many of us to search for shops and service providers near us in order to cut down avoidable trips, especially to crowded public places.
‘Product near me’ page was one of the local SEO initiatives we implemented for an FMCG client last year which significantly increased sales at retail stores across the country.
Local SEO has never been more important. If customers who are a few miles always from you or your sales outlet can’t find you in top search results, you are missing out big time.
2. Prompt and cost-efficient delivery is becoming a norm.
Forward-thinking businesses have now gone beyond offering delivery as an incentive, it is now compulsory and cost of delivery is factored into the selling price.
Calling delivery guys when you have orders or asking customers to arrange delivery themselves may be slowly putting you out of business.
Partner with SME courier companies or set up a small delivery team in-house to ensure delivery is on stand-by while also reducing turnaround time and cost of prompt delivery to customers.
3. Consistent omni-channel brand experience is now a competitive advantage.
Amazon spreading physical stores at the same time Walmart is intensifying adoption of online shopping tells you that customers now expect you to be present everywhere.
They do not want you to only be available to service them both online and offline but also ensure seamless brand experience. So, if you are primarily online business, consider events or activations or ideas to engage customers in person.
4. Subscription box for e-commerce/online sales
If you care about repeat purchases, you should consider creating a subscription package for your online customers.
It could come with some incentives like free delivery for 6 month to 1 year subscription. This means you will have a good percentage of your customers buying at least once in a month.
Amazon Prime is a good example of how you can encourage customers to buy repeatedly in order to enjoy exclusive deals and incentives.
Nigerian case studies?
Gokada has service points they call GHub where customers can drop and pick up parcels. They did not need to set up new physical offices to meet customers halfway but rather leverage strategic partners to fulfil at many locations where they are not physically present.
A beverage company built an online ordering platform for retailers. Instead of making retailers visit major distributors to order or wait for their trucks to deliver 2 to 3 days after ordering via phone call, they partner with distributors and wholesalers with large warehouses to deliver to retailers within their catchment areas.