As retailers try to navigate the new normal, knowing their customers is now more important than ever. Our Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Tim Hinckley, recently participated in a podcast titled: “How Do We Grow Together? With Tim Hinckley”, discussing the value of knowing your customer to effectively grow together.
Here are some key takeaways:
Biggest Change in eCommerce: Consumerism
Consumers who traditionally shopped in stores are now purchasing online indicating a shift in buying habits. Even generationally, elderly consumers who’ve traditionally stayed away from online shopping are now using it to meet their needs. This disruption of buying habits has been so widespread, that eCommerce sales are predicted to continue to rise even after the pandemic subsides. Retailers who can leverage the correct technology to create a seamless customer experience will have won loyal customers even after stores reopen.
Omnichannel is More Than Technology
There are three aspects of omnichannel: the brick and mortar stores at its base, the fulfillment centers, and the technology. When the shelter-in-place orders were mandated, most brick and mortar stores and even some distribution centers were deemed non-essential. This trapped inventory and hurt delivery times leading to customer upset. Those with omnichannel technology could reroute their products to open stores and move products from one distribution center to another, while still fulfilling orders and keeping customers happy. The key is having a multi-node fulfillment network that allows retailers to provide the right products to the right customer at the right time. The technology also allows stores to implement options like buy-online pickup in-store, curbside pick-up, ship-from-store, ship-to-store and more. As more stores can reopen, omnichannel technology will be crucial with inventory management and meeting customer needs.
Creativity Breeds Innovation
If there’s one thing that’s been evident during this time in the retail industry, it’s the creativity in pivoting operations to meet the needs of customers. Radial has had several clients change their operations to sell a new product entirely. For instance, one of our beauty brands saw not many people were purchasing makeup but needed hand sanitizer as there was a shortage. They converted one of their perfume factories into a hand sanitizer factory in a week. Another client decided to sew masks after seeing the shortage in PPE. These are just two examples of creativity breeding innovation. Retailers who continue to listen to the needs of their customers and act on those needs will have a bright future.
How to Know Your Customer
Consumer profiles play a large role in knowing what to provide, how and when. Since the outbreak, shopper profiles have altered, yet some retailer offerings have stayed the same. In order to grow, retailers need to really know your customer. This starts with building relationships that are founded on trust, authenticity, reliability and reality. Hold focus groups, send out surveys, and take feedback seriously to prepare for today and tomorrow’s customer. When you both know what each other needs, you can both grow together.
To listen to the full podcast, please visit: How Do We Grow Together? With Tim Hinckley