Five ways for retailers to connect with customers

24th May 2017

Technology presents both a challenge and opportunity for retailers, as they work to reach shoppers and differentiate their brand. More importantly, technology can serve as a vehicle to foster customer engagement, create brand interest, and generate sales.

Here are five key ways to attract customers and turn a shopper into a buyer:

1. Engage across platforms

It is well recognised that customers now shop across a multitude of channels and make buying decisions over various touchpoints. As the purchasing journey is far more fragmented today, it is more important than ever for retailers to be active over the platforms that are popular amongst their target audiences.

By creating a seamless shopping experience, where branding, values and products are replicated across channels, retailers can enhance customer engagement and encourage a greater propensity to purchase.

2. Optimise marketing

There is much to cover for marketing optimisation best practices, but a key objective is to encourage customer engagement through relevant outreach. To achieve this, retailers should look to effectively analyse their data insights so that they are in an informed position to make critical decisions or adjustments.

By understanding why certain days experience peaks or falls in traffic in-store, or why there has been a low levels of app downloads, for example, businesses can alter their strategy to rectify any underlying issues and ensure all marketing is working in harmony to drive greater engagement levels.

3. Add a human touch

Whether in-store or online, many shoppers often look for a brand representative to answer queries, or provide feedback, before committing to a purchase. As a result, sale associates need to be at hand to help customers along their purchase journeys. 

This is an opportunity for brands to make a customer’s shopping journey special, to make them feel welcomed, valued and a key part of the brand. This is particularly important now that many customers place greater importance on customer service than price.

4. Blend the online and offline

In-store technology can be a fantastic way to increase customer engagement, or to help drive traffic in the first place. Technology such as virtual reality (VR) headsets have already been successfully incorporated into the brand experience by the likes of Topshop and Lacoste, and much headway is being made with innovations such as digital VR mirrors. These future forward technologies bring a fresh excitement to shopping trips and engage customers by offering a positive and exciting new experience that blends the on-line and off-line worlds.

5. Nurture ongoing customer with loyalty incentives

Retailers also need to ensure that they’re not abandoning shoppers once this first interaction has taken place. The true business benefit and most profit, in fact, will be realised if customer engagement is nurtured and maintained.  

An effective way to approach this is by rewarding customer loyalty. By incentivising spend and return visits, retailers will quickly reap the rewards of these loyal shoppers becoming brand advocates, who then share their positive experience with family and friends, and may even go on to spread the word via social media.

With multiple strategies available to better attract customer attention, more can be done to maintain levels of shopper interest. This way brands and retailers will not only drive greater reach in terms of engaged customers, but optimise future profits as these new customers become brand advocates. 

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