Earning — and keeping — customers’ loyalty represents a big challenge even at the best of times, and these are certainly not the best of times. Retail (along with the rest of society) has received multiple shocks to the system in 2020, including COVID-19; the subsequent economic fallout; and street protests, both peaceful and not, in cities around the country and around the world.
But retail is a resilient industry, and the year’s events also have created new opportunities. The biggest impact has undoubtedly been the e-Commerce surge generated by stay-at-home mandates and brick-and-mortar store closures. This third annual Retail TouchPoints Customer Loyalty Benchmark Report, based on responses from 109 retail executives surveyed in June and July 2020, reveals that 68% of retailers gained new online customers due to the pandemic, with 46% saying their e-Commerce customers were making more frequent/larger purchases.
Retailers’ task going forward will be to retain as many of these new shoppers as possible. Strategically minded omnichannel retailers will be seeking ways to encourage online shoppers to also visit their brick-and-mortar stores, since study after study shows that multi-channel customers represent a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). And as always, retailers will need to balance their customer acquisition and retention efforts to achieve the optimal mix of new and returning shoppers.
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