This festive season is unlike any other, for consumers as well as retailers. Even with stores opening and malls putting out the red carpet, most shoppers are still reluctant to engage in physical retail therapy, and will prefer to shop online. So, how are you connecting with customers who are stuck indoors?


‘Digital-first’ is now a marketing necessity

Customers today are living in a digital, high-tech world, and have come to expect a customer experience that can only be offered by digitally-powered businesses. Adopting a digital strategy is no longer just a tagline. It is, rather, critical to increasing overall sales. Conventional entrepreneurial instincts might tell you to cut costs, but this is, in fact, the right time for businesses to invest in technology and tools to beat COVID-19-induced behaviour change. Here’s how you can do it.


1. Quickly set up your online store

Your online store is your most critical ‘digital asset'. It all starts here. An online store allows you to transcend geographical boundaries and take your products where your customers are. With all-in-one e-commerce toolkits, like the Salesforce QuickStart Commerce Solutions, getting your online store up and running has become super-easy! In just two weeks, you can go from launching your online store to fulfilling orders, and from delivering branded customer experiences to winning customer loyalty with excellent service.


2. Get personal with your customer

Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) recommendations to tailor the shopping experience for each customer. AI-enabled e-commerce solutions can help you personalise product recommendations by interpreting customers' past purchase behaviour, generate more relevant search results, and increase conversion rates.


3. Leverage your social media connections

Social media is one of the best ways to establish customer connect, trigger customer advocacy, and generate sales. Consider tools that allow you to merge digital commerce with social channels. This way, you can extend your reach by giving customers avenues for purchase on the digital channels they already have access to, such as Facebook and Instagram.

For instance, the iconic sports brand PUMA uses its Instagram account to showcase its latest offers, new product arrivals, and best-selling items. For customers interested in making a purchase, the social media account is seamlessly integrated with the brand's online store, PUMA also leverages its social media channels to enhance its customer service through social listening.


4. Look at multi-channel capability

Customers today are expecting a “buy anywhere, fulfil anywhere” experience. This calls for an omnichannel e-commerce platform that enables seamless customer engagement across all touchpoints – online, mobile, and physical. Use omni-channel ecommerce solutions like Commerce Cloud to integrate your marketing, sales, and service functions across all customer touchpoints for the ultimate omnichannel customer experience. 


5. Ride on the power of the cloud

Automate processes and allow smooth access to data between teams and departments. Consolidating all your data and processes on the easily-accessible cloud saves time and increases productivity, allowing employees to focus on customer-centric duties. With real-time access to digital storefronts and order history, service agents can fast-track over-the-phone orders.


6. Unleash the power of the mobile

Mobile apps are moulding consumer-retailer relationships and allowing retailers to connect with customers beyond their brick-and-mortar business. The Salesforce suite of mobile-first capabilities offers responsive design, data-driven mobile UX, one-touch payment, and optimised micro-commerce, enabling a truly delightful mobile commerce experience. 


7. Create a rich content experience

Create a centralised repository of rich, engaging content and share it across brands, geographies, sites, and devices. Offer a wonderful digital experience with targeted content, relevant offers, and personalised product suggestions.


Technology allows you to do more than that just boost sales. With the right tools, you can improve customer satisfaction, reduce inventory costs, track profits, and do so much more. Not meant for large companies alone, these tools can help every business improve their online brand presence, and optimise engagement with existing and potential customers.


Learn how Commerce Cloud can help you create innovative and personalised shopping experiences across mobile, social, web, and more.


This post originally appeared on the I.N.-version of the Salesforce blog.