Digital Strategy is Crucial to Winning at Checkout
There’s no way around it: The pandemic has permanently altered consumers’ shopping habits. Led by millennials, customers are leveraging more and more of their spending power online — especially for groceries and household goods. Live shopping and loyalty programs play a crucial role in unifying an increasingly fractured purchase journey. No matter where customers are making their final purchases, you can win at checkout.
Today’s consumers want the flexibility to shop how, when and where they want. To fulfill that desire, brands need to be everywhere — and a robust digital experience is a lynchpin to that effort. Here are six essential steps to crafting an effective digital shopping strategy for the post-pandemic retail environment:
1. Determine customer needs.
Analyzing the data you already have can lend insights into the shift in consumer shopping habits and how they’re reflected in your specific business and market sector. Key questions to ask include:
- What are the habits of end users?
- How are consumers currently interacting with your brand?
- Are there situations where your competitors are providing a better shopping experience? How?
- What are the points of friction in your current customer experience?
By addressing these questions, you’ll be better prepared to design a digital-first customer experience that meets your customers' needs.
2. Dream big about digital technology.
This is the fun part. Do you want to invest in a frictionless buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) experience? Would an app-based loyalty program incentivize customers in a way that plastic membership cards and paper coupons could not? Can vendor portals create efficiencies behind the scenes?
There’s no need to limit yourself to just one venture. Consider how multiple digital-first experiences can be woven together to create a seamless shopping experience for consumers.
3. Prioritize your digital goals.
With a virtual wishlist in front of you, consider how each digital initiative could impact your business — and ultimately your bottom line. Consider your goals in terms of complexity and business impacts. Easy wins can help create internal momentum for bigger efforts. Conversely, centering efforts on more comprehensive projects can create an outsized impact on the customer experience, even if they take longer to complete.
4. Define project goals.
Crafting a digital shopping experience creates limitless opportunities to dive into technical considerations, but don’t let those conversations derail your focus from the business change you’re trying to achieve. It can be far too easy to focus on minor issues, missing larger project benchmarks in the process.
5. Find your people.
The right skill sets are important for your digital shopping strategy to come to fruition. Technical skills are undoubtedly critical, but soft skills are equally important. Even a flawlessly executed digital strategy will fall flat if your business lacks internal evangelists. Boost engagement from the outset by ensuring that everyone — from employees working the floor to the C-suite — understands what your digital shopping experience will accomplish.
6. Launch, analyze, refine, repeat.
The journey to digital transformation is paved with constant analysis, testing and retooling. Even if your solution is “perfect” at launch, it will need to change over time. Loyalty programs are often iterative; goals change as the retailer matures.
Analysis is an important part of the process, and keeping your focus on customer service metrics such as same-day ship and in-stock rate will serve you well. If you take care of the customer, the financials will follow.
There’s more than one way to ring up success. However, ensuring that consumers’ buying journey is frictionless is half the battle. Want more tips on how to make digital transformation a pivotal part of your post-pandemic retail strategy? Check out our latest e-book on the topic to learn more.
Pranav Patel is the executive director of retail solutions at SwiftWIN, a Concord company. He has more than 20 years of retail and e-commerce experience assisting clients with omnichannel application efforts and optimizing infrastructure and operations.
Pranav Patel is the Executive Director of Retail Solutions at Concord. He has more than 20 years of retail and e-commerce experience assisting clients with omnichannel application efforts and optimizing infrastructure and operations.