The biggest change COVID-19 made was the shift to online shopping. Most brick-and-mortar stores closed indefinitely. Online traffic has increased and retailers have more data from ecommerce shopper to help them when they reopen stores. This includes what sales were good, bad, and what was hot.
Although consumer interest might shift slightly in relation to what they want to buy, the COVID-19 situation isn’t much different. The majority of people still work from home and social disengagement. Although restaurants are opening, there won’t be many late-night outs with the crew. When you go out in public, face masks are required. Most stores even require that you wear a mask inside the store.
Where you can acquire customer data
Now is the time to use all the customer data that retailers have accumulated over the last few months and make smart merchandising choices in-store. Laura Stude, co-founder of experimentation agencysurefootAccording to a retailer’s homepage, category pages and PDP’s as well as social media accounts, are their digital store windows. They can gain real-time and rich insights into how their customers react to the products and imagery.
Stude stated that you can get many different types of data from various sources. You will only have one type persona engaging on social media, as opposed to forums or blogs. These people could still be representative for your audience but they are just one subset.
These are just a few of the other methods retailers can obtain data:
- To find out where drop-off is occurring and what the effects are when you make site changes (e.g. Pre and Post Product Launch
- You can run informal tests on social media, and let fans vote for their favourite products or looks. Customers love to feel heard and engaged. Retailers also love valuable insights that can be used across multiple channels.
- BONUS: Look for patterns in words that customers use to describe products. Then repurpose them on your website, emails, and signage in-store. You will always win if you speak like your customers and not as a marketer.
The ‘Say and Spray Approach’
Stude says that segmentation is becoming more important and difficult for small businesses. This’say and apply’ method whereby retailers introduce a new feature and hope that everyone loves it is less effective. Consumers expect smaller retailers to offer the same level of innovation and personalization as big brands, especially considering the high levels of personalization offered by major brands.
The Top Social Media Platforms
Stude states that any social media platform can be used to gather customer data. However, Pinterest has been increasing their efforts to integrate Shopify with Pinterest in recent months to make pins shoppable. Shopify is a popular platform for small businesses to showcase their products and get the attention of the public. In May 2020, Shopify will be available in English.Pinterest has launched a new app, Shopify.This allows their over one million merchants an easy way to upload their catalogs to Pinterest and convert their products into shoppable Product Pins in just a few mouse clicks. This is a great way for shoppers to find the products they are most interested in and what they prefer.
Privacy is a topic that is at the forefront everyone’s mind. Stude states that it comes down to being honest with people. We are seeing a rise in loyalty programs. It’s obvious that retailers can collect more information about customers and store that data in order to provide a personalized and tailored experience. Stude stated that if you tell customers you will send them a surprise birthday gift, it gives them more reasons to trust you than not giving enough information.