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4 Tips for Retailers to Make Customers Come Back for More

4 Tips for Retailers to Make Customers Come Back for More

Here’s how to create a satisfying retail shopping experience during times of change.

The rising cost of living means retailers need to work harder to attract new shoppers and keep existing customers coming back for more. How do you balance the online and in-store retail shopping experience? How do you improve the buying process? How do you keep customers satisfied while they spend? 

The simple answer is to create a seamless retail shopping experience that connects digital and physical touchpoints to make your customers come back for more. For companies, it starts with creating agility across online and mobile commerce channels. This also means giving customers greater flexibility when browsing and buying, no matter how they choose to shop.

Here’s what you can do to get your online and brick-and-mortar channels ready for the shopping season.

Tip #1: Offer faster mobile commerce experiences

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who is waiting to get the best shopping deals during Singles’ Day. Would you rather travel to the malls, pull out your laptop, or grab your phone to shop?

With ecommerce shopping events — double-digit days, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, becoming increasingly common and popular every year, it has never been more important to optimise your mobile commerce experience. In fact, in the second quarter of 2022, mobile accounted for 81% of traffic share and 66% of total order share in ASEAN. It’s time to make phone and tablet shopping seamless and more efficient with:

  • Mobile-specific marketing: Does your mobile app send push notifications when an out-of-stock product returns to inventory in time for delivery? Do you send well-timed text messages to your best customers when a flash sale starts? If not, it’s time to add that to your retail strategy and boost engagement with an integrated experience across every touchpoint.
  • Hassle-free browsing and checkout: Opt for simple designs that load fast and add bigger “buy now” buttons that are easy to find on a mobile device. Consider enabling one-step purchases right from the product page, and don’t forget to add convenience-focused payment options. Mobile wallets, for example, ensure customers won’t have to scramble at the point of purchase to find their credit card.
  • An optimised post-purchase experience: Consider that 41% of digital leaders are prioritising experiences like returns optimisation over the next two years. Ensure your self-service channels are optimised for mobile so customers can accomplish routine tasks easily and efficiently from their phones.

Tip #2: Make social selling part of the retail shopping experience

How can you help your customers find the right products when so much depends on Instagram images on a small screen? By enabling associates (or even influencers) to interact with your customers on a live stream, you can turn virtual retail shopping into a personalised and engaging experience. 

Your customers will be able to see the product from different angles, ask about flexible fulfilment options like same day delivery or in-store pickup, and inquire about return policies in real-time. That process helps customers avoid buying items that won’t work and has the potential to reduce online return rates.

Leading retailers are already capturing customers’ attention on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. That’s not just for show: All signs indicate that social commerce is just getting started. In fact, it’s predicted to grow three times faster than traditional ecommerce over the next four years.

“Consumers live on their phones, and pushing your brand experience and checkout to these social networks helps remove the friction that a consumer encounters between discovery and purchase,” Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president and general manager, retail, said.

Tip #3: Prioritise fulfilment and inventory optimisation

Imagine the disappointment when finding out the product you ordered online is out of stock or stuck somewhere on a congested supply chain. As retailers face inventory and shipment challenges, digital leaders are solving the problem by prioritising fulfillment and inventory optimisation. What does that mean in simple terms? It means it’s time to solve the “where is my order” problem once and for all:

  • Prioritise transparency: Does an offer for a comparable product mean your customers won’t mind if a shipment is delayed or unavailable? No. But at least you can be honest and transparent — 74% of customers say that trust is important. And by keeping an open line of communication, you can be the retail hero that shows up with potential solutions.
  • Empower your customers: Ensure your customers can access their order history, track delivery, and use self-service to arrange a return or exchange. Enable flexible fulfilment options, like buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), a choice that’s popular with customers and that’s been adopted by 85% of retailers
  • Rethink order management: The right order management system gives your online and in-store associates access to real-time inventory and fulfilment data. When your employees can follow customer orders from the point of purchase through delivery, they can stay proactive if there’s a problem — like offering a similar product that’s available for on-time shipment. This ensures effective and efficient communication with customers, and at the same time, frees up employees’ time to handle more important tasks.

Tip #4: Add flexible payment options

As inflation lingers, flexible payment options are bound to grow in popularity. Programs like buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) may make an important difference in the retail shopping experience and to retailers’ profitability. Digital leaders are twice as likely as digital laggards to prioritise investments in flexible payments. 61% digital leaders say they’re already offering BNPL as a payment option, while another 32% plan to add it in the next two years. 

Delaying payments or offering instalment options aren’t the only ways retailers are rethinking transaction flexibility. Apple Pay, for example, is increasing in popularity: While 54% already accept Apple Pay, another 34% plan to add the option within two years. Not only do mobile wallet options streamline transactions with one-click payments, they also expand the number of payment options customers have at checkout. 

Find out how to give shoppers the gift of convenience this year by removing friction from their retail shopping experience. 

Download the 2022 holiday planning guide for retailers. This post originally appeared on the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.  

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