Top 3 Retail Strategies As COVID Continues

COVID reshaped the shopping landscape for good, and brands globally seek to understand what these shifts mean for their customer engagement strategy.

These shifts, punctuated by the moment, have become important because engagement in a digital world is markedly different from environmental engagement.

To win, employ these strategies to build customer trust, loyalty -- and ultimately, sales.

Give before taking. Today, brands will give customers something if they buy something, share their email or become a member.

It’s time to flip this. Brands must start the relationship by giving customers something without any expectations.

As an example, AT&T leveraged the power of entertainment IP during the release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” transforming its flagship store into an experience destination for Wonder Woman fans. It included a massive 350-pound sculpture with an 18-foot wingspan,  authentic costumes and movie props, a comic book shop, watch lounge, photo moments using Wonder Woman’s iconic golden wings, and an interactive multiplayer game called “The Lasso of Truth.”

Customers didn’t need to be an AT&T VIP, they didn’t need to be a member, and it didn’t matter whose phone service they had -- all were welcome to enjoy.

Embrace interests adjacent to your brand. Many brands are isolationist, meaning they foolishly believe their customer is only choosing their brand, and not competitive brands. The biggest opportunity we see for brands is an ecosystem to provide more holistic solutions. This makes the brand more valuable, conveying a sense of “I, the consumer, can get EVERYTHING here,” not to be confused with today’s thinking of “they, the brand, can do it all.”

To do this, brands must embrace interests adjacent to their core offering without concerns of share of wallet. For example, people who buy athletic wear also buy protective gear or electronics for their workout -- purchasing like-things to complete that lifestyle moment.

BECOME  the “reference brand” consumers look to for other brands they want to shop, empowering them to discover more around a specific interest.

How do retail brands achieve this? Data.

Ask about family, pets, routines, stressors and wishes. Seek to understand the whole person. When companies categorize their customers into one group, and market to only one part of their person, they miss the opportunity to create a relationship by tapping into all that matters to them.

Brands must engage vs. selling in every channel. The path to purchase looks very different from the path to loyalty. All channels have an opportunity to create irrational believers, ultimately a brand's best consumers. If you’re only building a path to purchase, you’re only focused on servicing the sale versus all of the other things a customer cares about.

Use exploratory moments and access to things people care about to tap into emotions and strengthen deep meaningful connections with customers. It’s in this intersection of exploratory concepts that marketing and experiences create the engrossing, rewarding and curious space that people seek. When selling is the focus, brands miss the opportunity to connect.

These three strategies are proven ways to shift resources that put people and relationships first. Brands that do this are the ones that will win.

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