Brands Explore Creative Ways To Boost Customer Loyalty

From using artificial intelligence to analyze shoppers’ actions to promoting their own core values, retailers are looking to deeply engage with their customers to increase repeat business.

Customer loyalty is the Holy Grail for retailers. Businesses put hours of effort into understanding just what combination of factors entice a shopper to return – as well as what makes them choose one retailer over another time after time.

The elusive answer may be to create a brand that displays insightful knowledge of the customer, without being overbearing, and connect with them on a personal level.

Retail Pro Prism provides an integrated view of data across all channels and retailers can create customer profiles to record important, helpful data to improve their relationship with customers.

To Know Them is to Love Them

Who doesn’t prefer to shop where the associates are thoughtful, attentive and – if you’re lucky – just a bit intuitive?

It’s for those reasons that retailers such as Nordstroms and hoteliers like Ritz Carlton stand apart from their peers. And it’s why they have tremendous loyalty among their customers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help retailers gain insights into their customers, offering data that helps provide personalized experiences with targeted product recommendations.

Brands can tailor shopping experiences to fit customers’ interests, based on real-time web browsing habits and shopping data.

Knowing what’s of interest to a particular customer allows the retailer to curate selections.

Further, to keep an experience fresh yet relevant, AI can use browsing data to automatically present shoppers with new product selections whenever they visit an online store.

That creates customer excitement over new merchandise, prevents boredom and helps encourage spontaneous buying behavior, especially on mobile devices.

Personalized shopping experiences are central to customer engagement, retention and loyalty in today’s retail environment.

Personalization is also linked to higher conversion rates and product sales. According to McKinsey, personalization can deliver 5 to 8x times the ROI on marketing spend and improve revenue by 10% or more.

AI creates seamless experiences that leave shoppers satisfied and inclined to return.

Personalized ecommerce uses company data to recommend, cross-sell and upsell relevant items to shoppers.

By synthesizing shoppers’ onsite actions, AI can deliver recommendations tailored to individual customer’s tastes.

It’s a strategy aimed at providing better customer experience and higher conversion rates.

AppCard with Retail Pro allows retailers to leverage every bit of data collected from their POS system and using AI to create personalized marketing strategies to increase customer loyalty and in turn, retention.

The Value Proposition

Knowing and catering to the values of your customers can also help foster repeat business.

Values-based purchasing takes into account more than just price, quality and convenience.

These customers look at factors such as sustainability and resale practices as well as cruelty-free manufacturing, local sourcing and fair labor practices.

Sustainability casts a wide net. It can include retailers that sell pre-owned clothing or furniture, for example.

Some brands, such as Patagonia and Coach, incorporate both new and preowned products.

Such retailers have loyal followings that particularly enjoy “vintage” finds of their favorite brands.

Conversely, “pre-loved” merchandise is often available at lower price points, which provides a convenient entry point for a new set of customers.

Sustainability can also include retailers that support certain delivery practices – bundling orders for similar areas, providing eco-friendly shipping materials and cutting back on their carbon footprint throughout their supply chains and operations.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at points of friction to find alternate options for those points of operations.

With Retail Pro Prism, retailers have an integrated view of the data from every corner of operations so they can analyze the whole picture and look for ways to eliminate unnecessary steps or trips.

“Value-driven retail” is more than a buzzword. In a crowded market, it differentiates a brand, and encourages loyalty.

There are factors in addition to fair pricing and convenience that encourage customers to return. A strong set of brand values fosters emotional investment and positions a brand as the best solution for customers’ needs.

And AI-powered technology can help brands create the customer experience that drives success.

The Benefits of Consolidating Point of Sale Data

black woman at a dashboard analyzing data consolidating

When a retailer collects information about its customers, the data reveals important statistics, such as what’s popular, the timing of purchases, who’s buying (demographics), and how customers are shopping, i.e., online or in-store.

But the real “secret sauce” comes in the consolidation of data to get one holistic view of the business. 

Data consolidation combines information from different sources into one. Retailers are compiling and analyzing transactions to better inform their product mix and promotions.

Such businesses can more easily obtain a 360-degree view of their customers and avoid data silos, which can lead to inefficient decision-making.

Retail management platforms such as Retail Pro Prism, integrate seamlessly with other retail software in use – like ERP systems, loyalty, analytics, emerging technologies and other solutions – to provide a 360-degree customer view, which allows retailers to make effective use of big data, improve shoppers’ experiences and even predict trends.

Automated Data Consolidating and Decision Making

man wearing button up shirt standing in front of sophisticated large computer manipulating settings, assessing data consolidation

A larger retailer can generate tons of data every day, which makes governance complicated and time-consuming. 

Automated data consolidation extracts the data from each source in real-time, transforms it into a consistent-format joint data-set, and loads it into a database. That database can then be used for analytics, monitoring, controlling, evaluating business practices, extracting information, etc.

Data analytics are the next most important step for retailers to get the most out of consolidated data. Retail Pro Decisions converges all your disparate databases, software tools, and other data sources and gives you a visual layouts and feedback you can tailor to your goals.

Consolidating data provides retailers with more control over their data.

The strategy also avoids or eliminates data silos, which helps prevent duplication, errors, and outliers, so data quality improves.

Retail executives can trust the data to make critical decisions that help to inform planning and risk management.

Better Decisions

blonde woman in light grey blazer and light blue button up opening hands with little pictures of customers appearing between above a tablet on the table in front of her. Data consolidation

Retailers can use consolidated data to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions. For example, by including e-commerce sales data with that of in-store purchases, retailers can get an understanding of omnichannel customer spending and compare it against brick-and-mortar shoppers.

That’s powerful marketing information; considering research shows that omnichannel customers are more profitable. So, promoting in-store shopping to online customers – and vice versa — could pay off handsomely.

In addition to influencing marketing and sales strategy, data consolidation can drive product roadmaps as well as optimize human and capital assets. 

Omnichannel shoppers are engaged and loyal, according to industry research. A recent study reported that customers who purchase across channels tend to purchase more often and spend up to 20 percent more compared with shoppers who buy only in-store.

With OptCulture for Retail Pro, you can understand the data behind both online and in-store transactions, and reach customers wherever they are engaging at the time, whether through a mobile app, text messages, push notifications, emails or digital receipts.

Loyalty and Data Consolidation

Man selecting an icon of a person on a map of the world on a touch screen, connected to a network of person icons, loyalty and data consolidation

Loyalty programs should be structured to ensure all shoppers benefit equally but should provide incentives to purchase across channels.

The emphasis should be on driving repeat purchases to build long-term engagement, with an emphasis on the ease of cross-channel purchasing.

Data consolidation can help identify which customers are in loyalty programs and who would benefit most from enrollment, point redemption details, and what types of promotions are best suited for the most loyal customers.

By consolidating data, retailers can enhance operations and improve their responsiveness to customers.

Streamlining that information provides a clear, complete view of the customer, which can enhance flexibility, improve inventory, promote loyalty and boost sales.

6 Ways to boost sales with better segmentation in your retail marketing

Knowing your customers is key to creating effective marketing campaigns and promotions.

There are myriad ways to slice your retail data, so how can you form smart segmentations that will help you deliver tailored marketing messages to relevant group of customers for higher redemption rates and sales?

As a retailer, you are collecting lots of useful data through your Retail Pro POS. OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro is the tool that allows you to use that data in a way that facilitates a higher level of customer engagement leading to increased revenue for your business.

OptCulture provides retailers with a complete suite of solutions that integrate directly with your Retail Pro point of sale system and ecommerce platforms, giving your customers a full circle experience with loyalty and promotions.

Customers that enroll online can redeem points in-store and customers that earn rewards in-store can redeem online.

OptCulture also offers loyalty mobile applications that can display the latest offers for customers as well as keep them up to date on rewards earned through recent purchases.

Using integrated data in your OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro, you can create better segments that will help you boost sales.


Segmentation is basically an elaborate way of describing the filtering of customers.

Which of your stores is their go-to location? What are they buying? How often are they opening and clicking through emails?

These are just the basics. The real fun begins with asking the right questions.

Where to start

Think of the different products your store sells.

Do your customers exhibit brand loyalty? Are there different genders that purchase from different departments? What is the average purchase amount per customer? How often are your regular customers visiting the store?

All of these questions lead to better answers when it comes to communicating and advertising to your market base.

Why should you do this? In today’s data driven marketing environment, customers simply do not engage with advertisements for things they are not interested in.

If I have only bought Nike shoes from my local shoe store and they keep sending me advertisements for Adidas shoes, New Balance, Vans, etc.,  I am very  unlikely to engage with those communications and may just unsubscribe altogether.

The process

Consider your inventory and what products you see customers purchasing or not purchasing.

As a sports clothing retailer, segment your customers based on the team that they support.

Look at sales reports, is there a day that is always slow? Consider running double rewards on these days.

What questions do you have and how can the data you are collecting be used to answer them?

What follows next are the 6 easiest examples of customer segmentation that every retailer should be doing, and then we’ll look at post-campaign analytics which will help refine our next steps in the overall marketing plan.

This first example is a very easy segment to set up. Think of how often your average customer shops. Is it once every 3 months, every 6 months, once a year? Then let’s take those rules and go right on into OptCulture and create the segment.

For this example I have created a segment for customers that have made less than 2 purchases and have not shopped with me in the last 6 months.

To do this I simply click on the rule I would like and drag it into the appropriate area. Rules can be combined in an “and” fashion as well as an “or” fashion. 

I can now target these customers every 6 months with an automated email or SMS message and include an offer in attempt to get them back into the store

Our second example relates to items in  your store.

Are there products that your customers need to replenish or refill? Customers that shop for products that have limited lifespans will need to buy more at some point.

Think about tire shops. When you get new tires in Houston, after a few months I will get a reminder for balance and rotation and then a few months later an advertisement for all new tires. All retailers should be doing the same things in regards to their products.

Here’s another example: High performance surfboards last at most a year or two.

Segmenting out customers who purchased that product within a particular time frame gives me an idea of who should be coming back in for a new one. If they have not, I could create a call list for my staff to reach out to.

The third example also relates to products. Are there items that are typically sold together? Shoes and socks? Kayaks and paddles.

Think of products you sell that go together and come up with some rules that you can take to OptCulture.

An example we came up with would be if a customer purchased a bike but without making a purchase for a Helmet.

Reach out to them with an email advertising safety equipment that is important for bike riders, or even places to ride their new bike and groups to meet up with.

Our Fourth example is going back to customer behavior.

What seasons or months are most important to your business? Are there holidays that your customer base shops on? Mothers Day? July 4th?

Create a segment for them and advertise products that are popular for that season.

Here we created a segment for customers that shopped prior to Christmas and we also added a rule that targets customers who on average spend $100 or more.

This will give us a good group of customers to reach out to when we know what we will have in stock for the Christmas season.

In this fifth scenario, we look at items that require special care or warranty information to be filled out.

In the event that a garment requires special care, with OptCulture you can follow up that purchase with an automated email or SMS explaining exactly how to care for that product.

Are there items your store sells that require customers to fill out warranty information?

In the example of a bike store, customers who purchase high end bicycles fill out warranty forms that are returned to the manufacturer. Make this process seamless by automatically emailing these customers the details that relate to their warranty.

Here we created a segment for customers that purchased a silk item the previous day.

This segment can be attached to a daily email campaign and customers who fit that criteria will be sent the necessary email. This is just a simple example.

Any information you are bringing into Retail Pro can be mapped to OptCulture so that you can segment out exactly the customers you are looking for.

6th and last on our list, while certainly not least, relates to segmentation based on customers interacting with your communications.

Consider the seasonal email you just sent out for summer items.

What was the open rate? Were there any clicks?

Why not reach out to those who clicked through the original email with a follow up in a few weeks?

Even better, reach out to those who clicked but did not make a purchase. Their click expressed interest; segment them out to see if they acted on that interest. 

Refining segments

Once you have put together some segments and run some campaigns, look at your reports. Are these groups coming in and making a purchase?

Create a segment for customers who opened the campaign and add purchase rules and find out.

Consider expanding the rules to include more or less customers.

Discover what is working by looking at promotional redemptions for customers who have been sent exclusive offers.

Continue to ask questions and to use your data and OptCulture to maximize engagement and increase revenue at the same time.

A quick look at the email reports dashboard will show you if customers are opening and clicking through emails.

Clicking on the name of the campaign will take you into more detailed reports such as how many opens or clicks for a given time period, or even what devices customers are using to view emails.

So let’s talk. Give OptCulture a call to discuss how you are currently marketing to your clients and how using segmentation can help your business increase customer engagement.

About OptCulture®

OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro helps specialty retailers improve customer loyalty and engagement with their brand via customizable, omnichannel marketing. Capabilities and features include: Omnichannel loyalty, digital receipts, email & SMS marketing, campaigns & automation, custom promotions, ecommerce purchase data integration, mobile client app for accessing rewards, tablet or kiosk for in-store loyalty signups, analytics, and omnichannel customer data management.

OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro

We are excited to introduce a new add-on, OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro!

Fully integrated with Retail Pro Prism and all legacy versions of Retail Pro, OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro can help you improve customer loyalty and engagement with your brand via customizable, omnichannel marketing.

Join Retail Pro International and OptCulture on February 15th or February 16th for a demo webinar to see how you can build meaningful, omnichannel shopper relationships with OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro.

February 16 – 9am California / 12pm New York

  • Centralize shopper data from your CRM, ecommerce, and Retail Pro
  • Move overstock at particular stores through specialized promotions for targeted segments
  • Enroll more shoppers to your loyalty program with connected web forms and in-store kiosks
  • Reward shoppers for their online and in-store purchases with you
  • Engage shoppers with multi-channel, segmented and automated campaigns
  • Act on buying and behavioral insight about your customers

Request Demo >

Building Omnichannel across borders with Retail Pro Prism

white businessman and woman shaking hands, making a deal with two black businessmen to work together on building omnichannel across borders in their company

Building omnichannel operations for multinational companies requires integrated technology designed for business agility. With the right set of tools, retailers can build their brands across geographic borders and still provide a consistent customer experience.

A successful project must nurture continuous experimentation and collaboration among all partners in the supply chain.

Managing the marketing, planning, and omnichannel operations for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of brands across many countries with numerous points of sale in Asia, South America or Europe is a huge challenge.

Collaboration and experimentation are needed to meet consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations and provide feedback to brand partners on local market preferences and upcoming trends.

Having functioning contacts and support systems in the region that a retailer is expanding to from the beginning makes such expansion much easier. Retail Pro has an expansive network of business partners who provide support in the initial implementation, and in any changes or hiccups throughout their operations.

Omnichannel POS and the customer experience

a blonde sales associate concerned with customer experience helps a woman shopping for makeup using per personalized data on her customer profile

Omnichannel POS can support insights-driven experimentation.

To deliver connected customer experiences across digital touchpoints and stores, retailers integrate in-store point of sale (POS) systems, mobile POS, and omnichannel systems to their online stores, as well as their CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

That provides real-time visibility into sales down to the SKU level. Sales managers can strategize with customer-facing associates to develop and monitor the success of customized promotions and bundles for each store.

Customers also need to be a part of the feedback loop. They must trust the retailer, and feel that they have support throughout their journey – the item is in stock, ships quickly, can be returned easily if needed.

That trust often involves the customer providing some personal information to the store, in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience.

With an omnichannel POS system, a retailer can integrate their loyalty and rewards programs with data from their POS, making for a smooth transaction experience and more personalized and engaging customer experience, based on their actual purchase history.

A retailer can present a highly targeted experience if the data gathered is extremely focused.

Retail Pro Prism provides this omnichannel capability and customer experience and offers two loyalty programs – AppCard and OptCulture – for retailers to gain deep insight and create custom, individualized loyalty strategies.

E-commerce capabilities help retailers adapt to local markets as well.

The benefits gained by e-commerce apply to branded ecommerce sites as well as having a presence on online marketplaces such as Lazada, Little red Book, TMall, and Tokopedia.

Multinational omnichannel retailers choose robust software solutions to support its branded ecommerce platforms as well as middleware solutions to integrate systems with ecommerce marketplaces. That provides a solid foundation that lets e-commerce teams work seamlessly and efficiently across brands and marketplaces.

Retail Pro’s accessible API and extensive list of plugins and integrations in the Retail Pro App Market make it easy to integrate data from the POS, inventory and ecommerce.

Automating analytics and marketing in omnichannel

black retail businesswoman building omnichannel looks at POS data analytics

Standardized and automated back-end systems further boost efficiency.

Omnichannel warehouse and logistics managers automate their processes, from picking and packing, to shipping and final delivery.

A warehouse management system can further help by integrating enterprise resource planning, merchandising, and supply chain solutions.

Finally, business intelligence tools are deployed to deliver relevant insights across the entire enterprise.

BI can quickly generate insights by tracking clearly identified business and customer outcomes and analysts turn them into actions. For example, cross-analyzed data feeds coming from ecommerce marketplaces and social media can help identify small signals in certain product categories.

Retailers using Retail Pro can have access to several tools to help them in analyzing shopper and transaction data, such as Retail Pro Decisions – visual analytics software – and pre-designed reports in Retail Pro Reports. Retailers can use filters to focus on different aspects of their operations, and segments to investigate further on one period

Overall, the retailer is the “face” of the brands they represent, in every country. No matter how disparate the customers are from one location to the next, the retailer ultimately must use all the tools at its disposal to appeal to all, while maintaining a cohesive branding strategy.

Retailers personalize customer journeys by brand to connect with consumers. And brand promises must be aligned with in-market customer experiences, whether that’s online or in-store.

A loyalty program such as OptCulture for Retail Pro that centralizes sales data from customers in-store and ecommerce and gives you multiple avenues to reinforce their experience of your brand and offer automated, personalized marketing.

Enhancing the In-Store Shopping Experience With a Loyalty Program

Guest post from Antavo

In-store promotions are designed to attract customers to brick-and-mortar stores, build brand or product awareness and provide benefits that online shopping simply just cannot give them. If customers are not visiting the store they might be missing out on special promotions, discounts or free giveaways. 

Also when customers shop at a local business, they are strengthening the local economy as well. 

In order to compete with eCommerce, loyalty programs for physical stores have to be more than just membership cards. Creating a loyalty program is a great way to effectively strengthen your brand image, connect with your customers, improve your retention and drive more in-store sales. Following the pandemic touchless solutions are playing an essential role in the in-store experience. It is crucial that retailers show customers that they are invested in their safety as stores reopen.

Enroll Customers Into Your Loyalty Program In-Store In a Fun Way

Show customers how your in-store location is just as enjoyable as shopping online by:

  • Vivifying the thrills of shopping in person via allowing your customers to browse your online shop in your physical location 
  • Implementing click and collect 
  • Making sure your physical and digital stores work together
  • Letting your customers interact with your products 

Also, reward your returning customers with a loyalty program by offering discounts after a certain amount of visits, access to special in-store events and other perks. If they like the program they are more likely to recommend your store to friends and their families.  Special offers by push notifications, personalized offers will help you enhance brand experience. 

Bridge the gap between offline and online customer interactions with digital loyalty cards, which is an effective solution to boost in-store engagement and reach more customers through location-based messages, thereby driving multiple business KPIs.

Experiential Retail 

According to a study by Deloitte experience has become the differentiating factor for businesses. Over 50 percent of customers say that the overall enjoyment of the shopping experience was important when making their final decision. When customers visit a store and are offered experiences such as large video display walls, a cafe, kids’ corner, virtual reality they will want to return. All these create a memorable experience and soar customer expectations.

Retailers can engage with in-store customers by enriching the offline customer journey, by offering them fun, easy and convenient ways to interact with gamified features. For instance, an offline treasure hunt, where customers need to find marked treasures or products inside the store, then use their mobile to scan the item’s barcode for a reward. You can prompt customers to thoroughly inspect the whole store, ensuring that they discover products or sections they would have overlooked otherwise. Send customers a push notification inviting them to play a fun game and win rewards. A Prize Wheel is ideal for mobile apps if you prefer touchless engagement for in-store devices. Showcase the prize wheel on an in-store device to instantly catch customers’ attention. Customers can approach the wheel and take a spin, giving you a new way to engage them.

A Prize Wheel is ideal for mobile apps and for in-store devices as well.
After spinning the wheel and landing on a reward, customers are asked to log in or enroll in the loyalty program to redeem it. This ensures that they identify themselves while shopping.

QR Codes  

Implementing a touch-free solution like QR codes on brochures or on signages in different areas of the shop, on the counter or in the dressing rooms, is a great way to make customers aware of your loyalty program. You might consider putting a QR code on the tags of your most popular products, so customers can scan it with their phone and receive a reward in return such as a small gift at the counter or a sum of loyalty points. Make sure to let the customer know that upon scanning the QR code they get rewarded.

DSW, the American branded footwear and accessories retailer featured QR codes on their magazine ads to engage customers. When customers scan the QR code they are taken to the DSW’s mobile site, where they can find the store nearest to them to view the products in person, check their order status, view DSW’s rewards program, and redeem their loyalty points, or make a purchase then pick up their order curbside, completely contactless.

The visual design of Timberland’s Manhattan flagship store
The NFC technology helped Timberland increase customer engagement. The store could track, analyze and interpret their shoppers’ behavior

NFC Technology

NFC technology is a great way to spice up in-store customer engagement. With its help, you can create novel in-store experiences. It allows retailers to connect quickly and easily with customers at every step of the customer journey. In a loyalty program, NFC enables people to use their smartphones to interact with store-exclusive loyalty program features. 

In Timberland’s Manhattan flagship store around 50 percent of the store’s inventory had been equipped with NFC tags. Upon tapping information about the product came up on the screen. The NFC tag was integrated to collect data from the customer. The store started adding credit for customers who signed in on the tablets, adding an extra touch to the customized shopping experience.

Beacon Technology

Beacon technology boosts customer experience by increasing efficiency, providing money savings, convenience, inspiration, and personalization. With targeted ads and brand offers, notifications and greetings on special occasions, you can add value while increasing trust. With just a single beacon near the entrance of a store, you could send a promotional notification to the user whenever they enter it or track how many users come to the store in a specific timeframe. 

Target, the American retail corporation, is using beacon technology to help in-store customers to use Target’s app to create shopping lists, and then see where items are located in-store. As they move, their location changes in real-time, showing them whether they’re getting farther or closer to the product.

Target’s application will show your location on the map
The new Target application will actually show your own location on the map, as indicated by a blinking dot. As you move through the store, your location will update, too. (Source: TechCrunch

Introduce a Kiosk In-store

Self-service kiosks are a rising component of in-store technology. It gives customers the possibility to shop for both the physical and online product offerings. They help shoppers gather information and speed up the shopping process. In-store kiosks are also a great way to promote a loyalty program. You can either set up a kiosk where waiting customers typically gather or offer priority lanes as a members-only feature. It is also an excellent solution to make sure customers are entertained while standing in line. 

In order to help the customer as much as possible in finding products and to prevent lost sales, the ANWB,  a travelers’ association in the Netherlands, needed a new solution to offer customers products that are not yet in stock. The kiosk has almost the same performance as the webshop on a PC, but the navigation especially works in terms of visual language and icons.  By adding NFC technology to the kiosk retailers can ensure contactless touch screens for the customers making in-store shopping even safer in the post-pandemic world.

ANWB’s in-store kiosk makes sure that their full online catalog is accessible
With the in-store kiosk ANWB makes sure that their full online catalog is accessible. (Source: Kega)

Sales Associates

Obviously, human interaction has a great impact on a customer’s emotional connection to a retailer. It will be especially of outstanding significance following the pandemic when everyone is craving a return to normal face-to-face communication. Well-trained sales associates can help boost loyalty program membership rates, as one of the easiest ways to inform your customers about your loyalty program and how their today’s transaction will get them closer to earning exciting rewards.

The Douglas perfumery chain’s loyalty card, called the Beauty Card, makes it possible for the company to serve their customers in a much more personalized way both online and offline. Besides offering several benefits, such as birthday surprises, product samples and invitations to exclusive events. They also offer makeup refreshing, skincare services, and beauty tips in-store.

A sales associate is giving makeup tips to a customer in a Douglas store.
In Douglas stores, customers can collect Beauty Points on their Beauty Card with each purchase, regardless of where it takes place, at the brick-and-mortar store, online or via their smartphone. (Source: ixtenso)

Brick-and-Mortars Coming Back to Life

Following COVID-19 face-to-face interactions will be receiving an even greater emphasis, as customers are hungry for communication. As shopping has evolved dramatically over the past several decades, the competition between retailers is fiercer than ever. Customer buying behavior is constantly shifting, not only when it comes to in-store shopping but online shops have also joined the race for customers, providing them with more choice and convenience. 

Nevertheless, it is important not to overlook your stores as a crucial touchpoint in generating long-term customer loyalty. While customers are growing more comfortable with online shopping every day, the in-store experience isn’t going away anytime soon.

2021 Retail trends: 3 ways to generate repeat business with offerings that build on each other

Digital acceleration will be one of the most popular topics in the retail world in 2021.

Coming out of a pandemic-centric 2020, retailers expanded e-commerce capabilities, cultivated (and relied upon) core customers and became creative with customer fulfillment.

How they continue to improve and iterate on those solutions will determine how customers view them in the year ahead.

Layering these offerings so that they build on previous interactions and offerings will also help deepen the bond with your brand as shoppers build their lifestyle on the conveniences you afford them.

Here are 3 trends that can help you generate more repeat business by building on your customers’ needs .

Expanded service capabilities

Image: Karolina Grabowska

A one-time purchase can be converted into regular repeat purchases with the offer of subscription services. Subscription services provide customers products delivered to their doorstep with minimal effort.

Some subscriptions are predetermined; a subscription to a shaving club may mean automatic delivery of razor blades and shaving cream on a monthly basis.

Others might provide something unexpected, an assortment of athletic wear or a collection of spring shoes for different occasions, for example, curated especially for the customer.

During shelter-in-place orders implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19, such services became particularly popular with consumers who appreciated this type of expanded e-commerce capability.

According to Zuora’s Subscription Impact Report, a measure of the economic impact of COVID-19 on subscription businesses, subscription-based revenue continued to grow between March 1 and May 31, 2020, increasing at a 9.5% annual rate.

S&P 500 sales in Q1 2020 contracted at a -1.9% annual rate in the same quarter.

The key for companies will be to not only continue growing its subscriber numbers, but to also increase the average revenue per subscriber.

And that will require a focus on building customer relationships.

One way to do that is to offer incentives for brand loyalty.

Perks that build retail relationships

Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Some retailers have taken the past year to reevaluate their rewards programs.

As more customers were locked down, retailers saw foot traffic dwindle.

Statista found 52.7% of U.S. Internet users avoided stores due to COVID-19 in February 2020, and a virtually identical number, 52%, who reported shopping more online in May 2020.

Now more than ever, loyal customers need to know retailers are thankful for them and appreciate their business.

Smart retailers are examining the data collected from their loyalty programs and discovering more about the members, so they can tailor rewards that are extraordinary.

The result will be stronger bonds with customers, resulting in more sales and referrals in the future.

Customers who have been cooped up due to COVID-19 restrictions are also hungry for interaction.

Retailers are looking at video to help bridge the physical distance between customer and retailer.

Livestreaming with product and personality

Image: Lisa Fotios

With more than 24 million e-commerce sites vying for attention, using video via livestreaming is a way for retailers to differentiate their brands, even if it does seem a bit nostalgic of Home Shopping Network.

“Live commerce” brings together digital and physical shopping experiences.

While it’s a trend that became more popular as retailer’s faced slower foot traffic as a result of a global pandemic, it’s one that will continue in the years to come.

With livestreaming, or live commerce, customers watch a presentation on a product or service, coupled with a social element such as a video call or comments.

Content can be viewed within a retailer’s app, on a website, social media, etc.

The strategy, especially when coupled with a high-profile celebrity, can yield outstanding results.

For example, in November 2019, Kim Kardashian joined top Chinese influencer Viya Huang on her livestream channel and sold 15,000 bottles of her KKW fragrance in under an hour.

Not all retailers have such firepower available, but livestream events simply centered around “real users” could add the bit of differentiation some may need to jumpstart sales.

The “new normal” for retailers revolves around augmenting the familiar areas of customer experience.

By providing more convenience, working toward improving loyalty, differentiating their brands and working to transform themselves from old sales models, retailers can position themselves for success in 2021.

How Digital Communication is Giving Businesses a Boost This Holiday Season

The holiday season has arrived and while we can’t expect business to resemble years prior, there is a way retailers can make the most of it.

Customer experience matters now more than ever and everyone knows it! Many retailers are running promotions to attract business, and those without a means to directly communicate these promotions will struggle.

So how do you stand out from the crowd this holiday season?

Watch this webinar to see:

  • How to creatively use the Holidays as a means to gain shopper attraction
  • How to create a safety net for your business in the upcoming year
  • How businesses using AppCard for Retail Pro are able to personally connect with shoppers via SMS and Email