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Navigating a new world without normal.

September 9, 2021 By: Elissa Quinby

Even before the pandemic, the retail shopping experience was already evolving. Shopping malls and brick-and-mortar were slowly being replaced by e-commerce, a trend that only accelerated during the pandemic. 

This has left brands that traditionally relied on the in-person shopping experience with a new challenge: building customer trust and loyalty on digital platforms.

Supply chains are still in flux. The Delta variant continues to spread. One major question remains: Where do we go from here? 

If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown us, it’s the need to be agile and resilient. As COVID-19 continues to introduce new uncertainties, retailers need to build practices that empower their teams to proactively respond to new challenges and continue to support the needs of their customers.

Consumers are also spending more and more time across each retailer’s digital channels, including websites and apps. This means that the digital customer experience plays an even greater role in brand reputation

Challenges brought on by the Delta variant.

If there is anything that 2020 has taught retailers, it’s that consumers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier and earlier. This puts retailers in a tricky spot. As early shoppers check items off their wish list, there may not be sufficient product inventory to meet the needs of “on time” or “late” holiday shoppers.

As for the latecomers? They will leave your website disappointed and seek out alternatives. 

Retailers can’t single handedly fix the supply chain problems. What they can do is ensure that out-of-stock and low-inventory items are clearly labeled, as well as update customers with any shipping delays. 

Building resilience during the pandemic.

Building a great digital experience for your app and website is your brand’s first line of defense.

If your website and app has a standout user experience, customers will feel comfortable returning to your brand again and again. Why? Because they know that they will be able to accomplish what they set out to do. 

One of the main reasons why consumers are switching brands is because of inventory issues. This means retailers should be thinking about how to work-around potential experience barriers by delivering value in other ways.

Don’t let these bumps lead to a dead end in the experience. 

What retailers need to get right ahead of the holidays.

In navigating a world without normalcy, communication with your customers will be a top priority. 

Surprise and delight customers when something annoying has happened. 

Did their order get delayed? Upgrade the shipping speed for free. Did their order get canceled? Give them a credit or future use coupon. Make a customer smile, especially when they have encountered something that annoys them post-purchase. This way, you can avoid losing them to a competitor forever. 

Anticipate how to make customers feel good about their purchase.

Customers want to know that they made the right decision. There’s a lot of noise in the retail sector, which means customers will be discovering and evaluating more options. 

You can show your customers how your products will bring value to their friends and family during the holiday session via fun activity videos, especially for a new toy or gadget. 

Or you might remind your customers how the company’s mission aligns with their values by highlighting how your product uses sustainable fabrics or recycled materials. Or, if your brand donates to charity, you might let customers know how much of their purchase is going to 

Interested in hearing more? Join us at LEAP into Retail.

Interested in learning more about how brands are preparing for the 2021 holiday shopping season? On September 14, 2021, Quantum Metric will host LEAP into Retail, a one-day virtual conference focused on how retailers can build better experiences for online shoppers.

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