Why Prime Day Misses the Mark for Shopper Loyalty: 3 Ways Retailers Can Forge Strong Customer Relationships
Another Amazon Prime Day has come and gone. This e-commerce phenomenon is the perfect opportunity for vendors and brands to get in front of millions of Amazon-obsessed shoppers, who are looking for the best deals and the most convenience. While retailers (from big brands to small businesses) are now celebrating in the massive sales they brought in during the sales event, they're left asking themselves whether Prime Day provides any concrete, long-term benefits.
Yes, slashing prices on the popular e-commerce platform will pique immediate interest and therefore increase sales for that day. However, to truly compete and grow in today's retail market, retailers must look beyond one-off transactions and focus on developing strong relationships with customers.
Here are three ways retailers can bolster their day-to-day customer engagement practices, even after Amazon’s “Christmas in July.”
1. Reward customer loyalty instead of one-day promotions.
The truth is that discounts and deals on Prime Day really only benefit Amazon in the long term, keeping customers coming back to its platform for all their shopping needs. To build loyalty for their own brands, it's critical for retailers to offer incentives that foster strong customer relationships.
By understanding each shopper’s needs and preferences (based on previous interactions and transactions), retailers can tailor their own promotions. Ultimately, this blows the benefit of Prime Day deals out of the water, ensuring individual customers are receiving a discount on items or services that matter to them.
2. Create touchpoints ‘beyond the store.’
In our hyperdigital world, shoppers expect retailers to be present everywhere they are. In other words, they don’t want to be limited to only connect with a brand in-store or on its website.
With so many digital platforms available, retailers should always be on the lookout for new ways to consistently connect with shoppers. From messaging channels to native mobile applications and even ads on their favorite news website, every touchpoint has a unique communication strategy behind it. It’s up to retailers to understand where unique customers are spending their time, and ensure they exist (in one way or another) on that platform.
3. Manage customer gripes with one-to-one communications.
When customers face issues with a retailer, they demand immediate responses and action. If they don’t receive high-level service, they’re not afraid to take to a platform like Twitter to make their problems heard by a wider group of current and potential customers.
To avoid these brand-damaging situations and effectively help customers, retailers must instead look to identify channels that ensure shoppers don’t need to shout out for attention and answers. Making brand representatives available for one-to-one conversations — be it on the phone, website or through a messaging application — will enable customers to receive the quality support experience they demand. Not only will these direct conversations help to build trust and loyalty with shoppers, but they will mitigate frustration, making customers feel like their problems are important to the company.
There’s no doubt that some retailers should take part in Prime Day; however, this shopping extravaganza doesn’t move the needle for building customer loyalty. By rewarding customers and creating opportunities for one-to-one engagements (through both good and bad shopper situations), retailers will have a leg up on the competition in the long term.
Zephrin Lasker is the head of e-commerce at Rakuten Viber, and has been involved with online marketing since its inception more than a decade ago. As former CEO and co-founder of Chatter Commerce, maker of the Instant Shopping keyboard ShopChat, acquired by Viber in 2017, Lasker is driving new innovations to make mobile commerce as easy as chatting with friends.
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