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Is the convenience driven consumer here to stay

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Now more than ever, executing a strong loyalty strategy is imperative in order to keep these consumers coming back to you and not a competitorNow more than ever, executing a strong loyalty strategy is imperative in order to keep these consumers coming back to you and not a competitorNow more than ever, executing a strong loyalty strategy is imperative in order to keep these consumers coming back to you and not a competitor

By Taranjeet Singh

As the country approaches towards a second wave of the pandemic covering almost a year, we have seen consumers shift their usual routines and behaviours to adapt to a completely new way of living in the new normal. With global lockdowns in place, occupancy capacity limits, and varying comfort levels for in-person activities, consumers have turned to alternative options to continue with their daily routines and necessities.

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Enter ‘The Convenient Consumer’. The Convenient Consumer values brands that meet them where they are, allowing them to act on their own terms and schedules. In the last year, we’ve seen grocery stores utilising delivery services, gyms being replaced with at-home apps and videos, the rise of streaming services take the place of theatres, and curbside pick-up enhancing ecommerce and enabling the omni-consumer. According to Deloitte’s Global State of Consumer Tracker, more than 70% of Indian respondents are considered to be “The Convenience seeker”, who is willing to spend more on convenience.

These consumers have taken on home fitness workouts, taken upskilling courses and perfected their coffee making skills – ultimately, causing a shift in the industry for years to come. Marketers should focus on balancing an at-home and in-person presence in order to connect with consumers across all environments and build a lasting relationship in the new normal. Listed below are a few steps:

Provide value at every interaction

It goes without saying that today’s marketer needs to be able to reach consumers throughout each touchpoint of their shopping journey, but beyond that, they need to provide some sort of value with every interaction. One way to do this is through utilising both in-store and online data to provide consumers with a personalised and seamless shopping experience across all the channels that they’re engaging with – from email, to social media, to brick-and-mortar and more. Creating a consistent experience that is unique to the shopper shows that a brand is willing to meet them where they are, making it easier for them to get what they need, regardless of the environment that they are shopping in.

Overcommunicate your options

In the past year, the rapid increase in e-commerce has caused supply chain issues that resulted in out-of-stock items and extremely long delivery times. In turn, consumers ditched their brand loyalty and switched to brands that were immediately available to them. With loyalty up for grabs, marketers should be communicating the ways that they can meet the consumer where they are and help fulfill their needs. Whether that’s through options such as buy-online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) or through discounted express shipping, consumers will interact with the brands and retailers that are catering to their needs and making it as easy as possible to get what they are looking for.

Keep the consumer at the center

Consumers discovered new favorites during lockdown across online grocers, brand websites and direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses, and according to data from Criteo, in India 52% of shoppers say they will purchase more online during Covid-19. Now more than ever, executing a strong loyalty strategy is imperative in order to keep these consumers coming back to you and not a competitor. We’ve seen long-time brick-and-mortar customers turn into omni-channel shoppers and the key to engaging this new audience along with existing and lapsed consumers is to focus on a customer-centric marketing strategy that is less focused on siloed channels but instead drives lifetime across all channels.

Invest in brick-and-mortar

While many consumers turned to e-commerce for the first time in 2020, there are still a vast majority who want to go in-store to touch and feel a product before making a purchasing decision. To help bridge the two experiences together, retailers should take a page from e-commerce by leaning on technology. Providing inventory search kiosks, contactless mobile payments, and even augmented reality to visualize products at home, will make the in-store experience as simple and efficient as possible.

In order to succeed with today’s ‘Convenient Consumer’, one thing is clear: marketers need to meet this consumer where they want to be met. By providing a personalised and seamless experience across channels, along with options such as curb-side pick-up, digital subscriptions, contactless payment and more – consumers can access products and services on their own terms and ultimately, will continue to interact and build relationships with these brands for years to come.

The author is managing director, SEA and India, Criteo

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