The beauty of the retail industry today is the number of options for brands to connect with customers. Some may argue there are too many options. Brands once had the challenge of getting customers to walk through their large store doors, supplying products they wanted to purchase and hoping they would return, but everything was limited to that in-store traffic.
Now, foot traffic is still relevant, but brands also have to worry about growing their social presence, having social shops to make purchasing quick and easy, livestream shopping, oh and making sure this all connects back to their website/online store and that they are collecting data to improve future customer experiences. So yes, there is beauty in the authenticity these options have created for brands, but also many headaches to run a successful, growing business.
One avenue many brands have pursued — adopted more recently in the western part of the world — is livestream shopping. Livestream shopping is projected to rake in a massive $480 billion in China this year, according to eMarketer, and $11 billion in the United States, according to Coresight Research. Livestream platform Bambuser says livestream shopping viewership grew by ~38% every quarter in 2022 in North America and Western Europe, so there is huge opportunity for growth.
Shops via social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, have also become extremely popular by making that 1:1 in-store connection easier for brands to replicate online. Recent data from ActiveCampaign revealed brands that run “shops” on social platforms are attracting more customers, with 59% of all consumers (and 76% of Gen Z) saying they’ve discovered new brands this way. Consumers like to feel connected to the brands they support. They want to hear from the brand and understand their values, which social platforms help facilitate.
Shopify is ideal for this purpose as well because it has partners like Channelize.io, a plug-in that enables live shopping and video streams as well as multi-streaming of live shopping shows on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube, which makes it really easy to get this strategy off the ground. Not to mention that Shopify has many other technology partners that can help brands of all sizes connect their channels and therefore, all of their customer data — improving the entire lifecycle for the customer.
That said, brands can’t just have a TikTok Shop or one live shopping event and then move on — they need to invest in active follow-up after the purchase. This follow-up strategy is important for brands investing in livestream shopping or social commerce because they should be connecting with those customers now that visited them for the first time pre-holiday. If brands wait too long to thank customers for their purchases or serve them other relevant content, those consumers will move on and pledge their customer loyalty elsewhere.
A good way for brands to ensure they are always serving the right content to the right customers at the right times is by using a CRM (customer relationship management) solution. This software tool helps retailers manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer relationships and driving business growth. This includes following up with customers after a one-time holiday purchase through a livestream event, or those who purchased a few holiday gifts through an Instagram ad.
There are several ways in which retailers can use a CRM solution:
- Customer segmentation: CRM solutions allow retailers to segment their customers based on various criteria such as location, demographics, purchase history and more. This can help retailers tailor their marketing and communication efforts to specific customer segments, resulting in more targeted and effective campaigns.
- Lead and opportunity management: CRM solutions provide a central location to manage and track leads and opportunities, allowing retailers to prioritize and follow up on the most promising potential customers.
- Customer communication: Retailers can store customer contact information and communication history, making it easier to reach out to customers through various channels such as email, phone or social media. However, instead of using a static CRM that acts as a digital rolodex, brands should use a solution that enables automation so that they can send messages to customers based on where they are in the pipeline without any manual work required by employees.
- Order tracking and fulfillment: Retailers can manage the order fulfillment process, including tracking orders, managing inventory and coordinating with suppliers and logistics partners. This is especially helpful to mitigate excess inventory and stockpiles of items customers aren’t purchasing.
- Customer service: CRM solutions can provide a centralized location to track and manage customer support inquiries and complaints, helping retailers respond quickly and effectively to customer needs. Our recent data found the top two reasons consumers shop with large retailers over SMBs is because large brands respond to them and solve their problems faster. By implementing a CRM solution, small retailers can compete.
Overall, a CRM solution can help retailers better understand and serve their customers, resulting in increased customer loyalty and improved business growth.
No matter the tactics retailers are using post-holiday and the solutions that help them maintain strong customer relationships, having a solid post-purchase strategy in place is crucial to continued success. Authenticity and personality on social media is important; thanking customers for their purchase is too. More than ever, consumers want to feel connected to the brands they support. By embracing this connectivity and keeping it top of mind, brands will start to see their bottom line improve.
Karen Tang is the VP of Customer Success at marketing automation provider ActiveCampaign, ensuring its more than 185,000 customers are provided the support needed to grow their businesses and that her internal team is set up for success to do so. Tang is passionate about making the customer a hero and leading her team to optimal efficiency.