2020 changed the world as we know it. But if there’s one thing that retail knows how to do, it’s adapting and evolving to survive.
One of the most important wins for 2021 will be securing a loyal customer base. Engaging and retaining customers that know and trust your brand is a far more cost-effective strategy long-term; research shows that return customers are easier to sell to, and typically spend more, too. Increasing footfall to your stores through targeted customer engagement then will directly impact profits, and your bottom line.
International retail giant Primark revealed that whilst the latest wave of Covid-19 lockdowns cost them £430m in lost sales, it has experienced a “phenomenal” jump in sales since stores were allowed to reopen. Having a customer base that’s ready and raring to go when restrictions lift undoubtedly pays.
Meanwhile, furniture retailer Made – who, in 2019, invested heavily in enhancing the customer experience – has seen sales double year-on-year, with last year’s Black Friday the busiest day in the company’s history.
Keeping customers front-of-mind is absolutely essential to growth in the current market. Of course, an important part of this is ensuring you remain competitive (in what is a rapidly changing, highly volatile market) by managing costs and consolidating spend where you can. Making operational efficiencies, such as consolidating your GNFR spend and supply chain, will allow your organisation to stay agile, resilient, and consistent in its offerings.
It’s also vital to think about new ways of engaging a customer base who are growing tired of living their lives online.
Getting your customers back to the shop floor
After a year of lockdowns and heavy restrictions, a key goal for retailers in 2021 will undoubtedly be increased footfall and customer engagement – and creating a first-rate in-store experience will be an important part of that.
In-store services and events can turn a shop into a destination and keeping in regular touch will help to keep you front-of-mind. Branded emails and reminders – from birthday greetings to personalised offers and promotions – can go a long way towards cultivating relationships that stand the test of time; the same applies to social media, where targeted engagement and interaction can help you to carve a place in a market that will be vying for attention as we move ahead into a new era.
But after a year of digital saturation (with Zoom fatigue aplenty), it’s not only online efforts that will play a valuable role in retuning a loyal customer base to your door.
Mail has impact when we’re at home
Understanding the engagement methods that work in our new normal will be crucial for survival as we move into a post-Covid, post-Brexit world.
A 2020 study from JICMAIL has revealed that nearly all (96%) physical mail sent to homes during lockdown was engaged with – the highest figure ever recorded. The increased time spent at home has clearly changed consumer behaviour in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
Mail, it seems, has made a comeback – and the more personal, the better. After everything we’ve been through in 2020, there’s a sense of wanting to feel part of a brand’s story for consumers.
We’ve seen a noticeable rise in the number of businesses looking to engage with print services; and consolidate to a single supplier in an effort to boost operational efficiencies and cost-savings.
Businesses are recognising the value of print and graphic services for building brand consistency, recognisability and familiarity – and it’s no longer a consideration solely for the marketing department. The impact that personalised direct mail, email, and in-store POS has on customer engagement is enough to make finance and procurement sit up and take notice.
Maintaining consistent branding, and a consistent message, throughout every dealing your customers have with your business – from mail on the doorstep to their experience in-store – will go a long way towards building the sort of loyal and engaged customer-base that today’s retailers dream of.
With physical retail likely to be impacted for some time to come, mail’s role in brand-building is going to be crucial for getting your voice heard, and your presence noticed.
Your 2021 strategy, covered
Ultimately, customers want to feel valued, understood, and part of something bigger than themselves.
Creating a cohesive, consistent experience through your online, offline and in-store touch points should be central to your efforts for the year ahead – but it’s just as important to coordinate your approach in a way that makes savings and efficiencies wherever you can.
As a trusted supplier of GNFR (Good Not for Resale), print services and stand-out graphics, OfficeTeam supports some of the biggest retailers across the UK. To find out how we can help you to reduce costs, streamline services, and boost customer engagement for the year ahead, Book a Discovery Call today.