The Loop team recently congregated over Zoom to discuss the state of retail during Covid-19. We started by sharing own experiences, and how we anticipate it will change coming out of the pandemic. We noticed a common thread—a lot of brick and mortar businesses were lacking the real-time insights to foresee customers’ needs and expectations. It’s a clear hole in many business operations, and is creating a huge stir right now. It’s not good enough to guess anymore—having real-time, actionable data is the turnkey solution for staying ahead of competitors.
Below, our CEO, CSO, and COO discuss 3 reasons why they believe real-time insights are the gateway to retail’s “new normal.”
1. Supply Management Becomes a Priority!
Without real-time insights, it is tough to foresee changes in local buying trends. Although in many places that meant toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, we also saw retailers running out of brewer’s yeast and hair dye in Italy, frozen cookie dough and pizza kits in the US, rice in China and Vietnam, and buckwheat in Russia.
Retailers aren’t the only ones who would benefit from accessing micro trends. Although brands depend on the retailers’ orders, direct access to consumer buying behaviors allow them to prepare their stock for abnormal demand.
The image below shows the sale spikes (and slumps) in certain product categories between last March and this March. Last year’s trends certainly couldn’t help businesses foresee these product demands!
Curious about real-time insights and what they look like? Check out our portal
2. The Concept of Loyalty Will Change
Building off the importance of supply management—going to a store, and expecting a product, will make or break customer loyalty. Every country and community has their local needs, and the retailers that kept up during the era of Covid-19 likely won over some loyal customers.
David went on to say, “Yes, Whole Foods is more expensive, but they always have what I need. It’s a clean store. And that’s why I’ll go back.”
Real-time insights help brands too. If they can keep up with demand, they will beat out their competitors. No longer are people looking for Charmin or Cottonelle toilet paper. They are looking for a dependable source of toilet paper. To maintain that level of service, retailers’ loyalty will also shift towards brands that can provide product quickly.
Nobody’s perfect— running out of inventory happens. But a proper notification system can maintain loyalty. David shared a photo from a recent visit to Target, showing how even the biggest retailers are likely losing customers because of their outdated notification systems. It’s a little too late, don’t you agree?
To mitigate inventory issues, communicate with your loyal customers proactively and let them know when their favorite items will be back in stock! Loop’s loyalty platform drives automated, personalized mobile messaging to keep up that relationship with your customers.
3. Promotion-Building Becomes Efficient
Rather than the simple “spray and pray” method of marketing, retailers who target certain customers with price reductions or promotions that will interest them will simply sell more product.
Brands also benefit from data-driven promotions because they can measure the interest in their products —who is buying their products, who is redeeming their promotions, where is the greatest return?
Wouldn’t this be easy if this process was automated? Loop’s promotion-builder uses artificial intelligence to read each consumer’s buying behaviors and triggers promotions accordingly! Read this case study with local Vancouver liquor store to see it in action.