Are your customers shopping differently even though the pandemic doesn't have the world in its grip anymore? Do you see noticeable changes in your retail customer journey?
As the world wakes up to some semblance of normalcy, brands and marketers are looking for telltale signs about their customers switching loyalties and transitioning across different shopping channels, among other behavioral changes. In the pandemic and post-pandemic world, brands have had to revamp their marketing playbooks with data and insights that make better decisions. Visionary brands continue to peg their bets on customer intelligence. This is especially critical for retail brands since the retail landscape has gone through a complete revamp in the last two years.
For example, tracking consumer behavior to understand the nuances of the omnichannel retail and marketing ecosystem has led to 46% of retailers wanting to increase investment in digital channels this year. These channels include online stores, apps, social commerce, and other platforms that lend to omnichannel shopping experiences.
Read on to discover how retail customer intelligence helps brands make better marketing and business decisions and recover from the pandemic slump.
What is retail customer intelligence?
Over time, every brand collects numerous data points to generate insights about a single customer or cohorts of lookalike customers. This includes insights like:
- Online and offline purchase history - Why are your customers purchasing certain items offline and some online;
- Spending breakdown across different channels - Does your online shop generate more sales than your app? Why?
- Survey or customer service-led customer feedback - Are customers returning to your store? What are your retention metrics looking like? Who are the shoppers that don't return, and why?
- Search history, website behavior, social media behavior, content preferences and more;
- Other factors like lifestyle choices and preferences in the physical and online worlds.
Customer intelligence is the amalgamation of the above data points about consumers' behavior and affinities. But often, the question brands ask is where to find all this information about consumer behavior. They might have significant first-party data to help them understand customer interactions on their own channels. But how do they beef up this understanding with customer behavior outside their own brand channels?
The answer is in customer intelligence platforms that capture the evolving retail consumer behavior. These platforms streamline the process of data collection and data enrichment and help brands make better business and marketing decisions, meet their customers' most pressing needs, and eventually, sell more.
How is customer intelligence different from market research?
Customer intelligence is a step beyond market research. When you understand the WHY of your customer's behavior, you are accessing valuable information that addresses the root of behavioral change.
Market research ends at the WHAT of consumer behavior. It only helps you shape your campaigns with a surface-level understanding of your customers.
Market research and customer intelligence need to work together in the modern retail landscape. Market research will help you understand the buying journey; customer intelligence will help you improve it.
What retail customer intelligence says about modern retail customer behavior and how brands are using these insights
Digging deep into Lifesight data and studying the trends from around the world, we distilled some interesting insights on the post-pandemic shift in retail consumer behavior in the last two years. Here's an interesting example.
Gen X and Gen Z show similar omnichannel preferences, but their reasons are very different
Not big fans of online shopping, the older generations have simply navigated their way through online channels out of pandemic-induced necessity. But they enjoyed the convenience, and now, they can differentiate what they would purchase online and what they would definitely go to the store for.
Gen Z is following in their footsteps after spending too much time on their screens during the pandemic. In the post-pandemic era, 81% of Gen Z consumers want to shop in-store to fuel personal experiences that are disconnected from the digital world.
This interesting switch in preferred buying experiences has generated an entirely new group of omnichannel shoppers. Gen Z is showing new interest in offline shopping, and Gen X is not ready to give up the convenience of online channels. As a result, brands have a fresh opportunity to pivot to meet all of their customers where they are. But the question is how to turn these insights into action.
Let us give you the example of one of our customers that made some interesting omnichannel shopping decisions with Lifesight data.
The brand found that Gen X was not much into experimentation with products and shopping experiences. Instead, they want to go to the store, purchase only needed items, and leave. So the brand decided to replicate this behavior across its online channels. This meant clean interfaces allowing Gen X customers to navigate to their shopping list items without any hassles or interruptions.
The brand's Gen Z customers were far more open to more experimentation. They viewed shopping not as an errand but as a social appointment involving friends, families, and quality time. The brand offered experiential opportunities for this cohort using VR and AR on online shopping channels. These social shopping experiences engaged and retained Gen Z customers like never before.
Few brands could deliver this level of personalization across their shopping channels. As a result, the business outcome for this Lifesight customer far outweighed what the brand had invested in understanding its customers.
We have found that the post-pandemic strategies need to start with questioning traditional customer insights, no matter how accurate they might have been in those days. Brands need to quickly replace obsolete trends that lost significance during and after the pandemic with new strategies that work in a world where everything has changed.
Bring back lost customers with retail customer intelligence
The pandemic led to the loss of many customers due to the sheer mismatch in what brands offered vs. what the customer expected. You couldn't simply provide curbside pick-up if the customer expected doorstep delivery. Many brands had to adopt the logistics of online shopping almost overnight, losing customers in the process. It's time to compensate for that loss and bring back lost customers.
The goal is to regain brand loyalty among lost segments and retain customers. This is where customer intelligence will be the most crucial tool in your arsenal. Win-back campaigns promise to be the most effective strategy of all in the post-pandemic era. And if you want to do it right, your win-back campaigns must incorporate insights from retail customer intelligence to meet the customer where they are.
Unlocking retail customer intelligence with Lifesight
Before the pandemic, reaching your next customer with audience data was easy. Their behaviors, after all, were not changing every single day. However, customer intelligence has taken on a new meaning in the post-pandemic world. It requires brands to understand the long-term impact of the pandemic on customer behavior while also accepting that that behavior can change at any time. Your customer retention, win back, and acquisition strategies based on robust consumer intelligence will help you address this genuinely dynamic customer journey.
Even as we speak, retail brands worldwide are collaborating with Lifesight to make sense of changing customer behavior and the deluge of consumer data. As a result, they are revamping their CX and marketing playbooks with deep, holistic data and actionable insights at hand.
Are you ready to join this group of innovative, data-obsessed retail brands? Request a demo to keep pumping your bottom line while providing your customers with delightful shopping experiences that meet their evolving needs.
Helping you address your customers' most pressing needs is what Lifesight does best!