As our freedoms slowly unfold over the next few months and we slowly come blinking into the sunlight again, what will have changed?
Certainly, whatever the rules, there will be people who just want to go out and socialise and others who want to be more cautious about social interaction – so what does this mean for our Retail community?
It will take a while for footfall to return to it’s previous levels – whether that’s through enforced restrictions, guidelines, personal choice, financial constraints or new habits formed during lockdown. According to a recent Kantar survey, 53% of shoppers said that they will adapt their shopping behaviour after lockdown.
We can no longer assume that we can “open the doors and they will come” – the customer journey has become much more interwoven between bricks and mortar, online and social media for that, and the winners will be the businesses that genuinely do put the customer at the heart of their business.
Consider a typical Sales/Buying funnel:
Pre internet, Awareness was the job of the Marketing Department, and pretty much everything else was majored by the Store Team, supported with collateral & processes from other departments.
Pre pandemic, Discovery was very much driven by Online Search, and Social Media was establishing itself as key Evaluation and Engagement tools.
The pandemic period has enforced changed behaviours, but of course these behaviours will not stick. There has been a fundamental change though – whilst 20% of customers in Kantar’s survey said they’d be shopping online only, 0% said they would be returning to only Bricks & Mortar shopping.
The good news is that the remaining 80% see themselves as multi-channel customers.
So if people are more cautious about, or are restricted in, going shopping; and people are planning to research or shop more than pre-pandemic levels online, Retailers have to start paying attention to their funnel if they are to avoid spending their marketing effort in the wrong places by or on the wrong prospects.
Good B2B businesses are masters at this – They understand that the conversation with customers at the top of the funnel is completely different to the conversation at the bottom. B2B sales & marketing teams nurture prospects through the funnel. They don’t spend time and money chasing after prospects that are not “qualified”, focusing their energy on the prospects they really believe are potential customers at every step of the way.
At the top, it’s all about the customer – what problems are they trying to solve? What inspiration are they looking for? Salesy communication at this point is simply a turn-off.
As the customer progresses through Discovery, demonstrate your authority by helping them to learn about your products and services.
Evaluation is the point at which you talk about your unique selling points and hero products, and Engagement is all about establishing a conversation.
All of these steps so far are convenient for a customer to do Online or via Social Media, so if you aren’t coming up in Facebook feeds or in Google searches you are certainly missing an opportunity.
Yes, people will come back to the shops, but by the time they get to you they’ll be better prepared and more targeted than they were pre-pandemic as they’ll have completed more of the funnel from home.
There are 2 key messages out of this I’d like to highlight
- Help your customers navigate their journey across your channels. Use the funnel stage and personality of each channel to deliver your messages, but keep the thread and tone of your customer conversation consistent as the same customer is seeing you everywhere.
- The customer may be more prepared, but there is always an opportunity to surprise and delight! Online still can’t deliver that amazing multi-dimensional visual display, or that incredible social interaction which delivers great service.
Want help with your customer journey mapping? Give us a call!