As the retail sector struggles to offset the 2020 shopping slowdown, technology will play the role of savior in driving sales growth. Today, whether customers are buying offline or online, a data trail is always available to savvy marketers.
In this scenario, whether traditional or new, all retailers need to deploy the latest digital tools to drive customer conversions and sales. According to the latest Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, the pandemic has reduced disposable income. As a result, 62% of consumers have postponed major purchases while 44% worry about impending payments. Additionally, only 54% of customers say visiting stores is safe, while 46% think person-to-person service remains safe.
Voice searches and more
Overcoming these challenges, retailers must rethink customer engagement to increase sales. Since the new normal of the post-pandemic era may be here to stay, at least for a while, digitizing the shopping experience is the best way to safely drive sales and transparent manner.
One of the biggest benefits of selling online is the customer data it generates. This captive data can be used to create personalized experiences for greater customer satisfaction. Moreover, it will be useful for gleaning information to attract new customers. Savvy retailers are already using AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) to understand customer habits and preferences to deliver tailored services and product promotions.
Although traditional retailers only rolled out digital due to lockdown restrictions in 2020, they still realized the importance of the online system to keep sales going 24/7. Consequently, many retailers are shifting from their traditional way of selling to an omnichannel marketing model, which can deliver higher returns.
Meanwhile, several digital tools are used to engage customers and convert them into sales. These include chatbots, voice bots, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other digital means. The advantage of digital assistants such as chatbots is that they are available around the clock, whenever customers access the merchant’s portal or app.
One of the most promising tools for retailers is the use of voice search. According to a SalesForce study, at least 40% of millennials browse only through voice search assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Hello Google before purchasing a product. According to current trends, this number should increase. The message for marketers remains clear: improving search engine optimization (SEO) focused on voice search can improve the consumer experience and increase sales.
There is no doubt that organizations should consider a long-term sales strategy based on various digital promotion tools, including chatbots and voice assistants. Market analysts estimate voice commands to account for around 20% of home staples and leisure purchases. By 2022, consumer spending is expected to increase by around 18% via voice searches.
Conversational Content Marketing
In this context, analyzing consumer queries and search patterns looking for specific products could help to better understand their minds. Generally, people prefer to follow a similar pattern when searching for articles online. Analyzing these patterns can ensure that SEO for voice and text becomes more effective and persuasive. Portals programmed for this purpose could respond quickly and accurately to consumer requests, maximizing the chances of converting leads into sales.
In doing so, however, brands need to be able to differentiate web traffic resulting from local searches and design SEO content marketing strategy accordingly. Understanding the local consumer psyche will help brands respond more effectively to regional markets while exploring potential untapped target audience in catchment areas and beyond.
Here, it should be noted that voice searches prove useful and effective whether a potential buyer is driving or working, as the voice assistant can roam anywhere with the individual. Since voice searches are programmed according to AI-enabled virtual assistants, their ability to interact with customers can foster more engaging online shopping experiences.
Nonetheless, brands need to curate innovative and highly conversational content that smoothly guides potential consumers until they finally check out and buy the product. With smartphones being a ubiquitous tool for customers, retailers shouldn’t overlook this growing cohort of shoppers.
Likewise, brands could leverage augmented reality (AR) to deliver more enjoyable customer experiences. Millennials may be more likely to buy a product if it’s offered through AR. Creating an immersive retail experience can also help propel purchases to higher sales numbers by motivating consumers to make faster purchasing decisions. It’s no surprise that some analysts believe the global AR market could hit $1.6 billion by 2025.
The writing is clearly on the wall for traditional retailers – thriving in the post-pandemic world will depend on deploying the latest digital tools, even in traditional stores and supply chains. In the years to come, this will become the primary means of attracting increasingly tech-savvy shoppers as the world moves towards a digitally connected retail environment.
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