The story above was first published on CO-by U.S Chamber of Commerce by Barbara Thau.
Industries from food and retail to health and fitness were thrust into hyper-innovation mode by the pandemic. Unwittingly, they discovered new ways to sell their products and services. These include text-based commerce and online marketplaces. This will continue to be a driving force for business well after the crisis (hopefully).
Brands can make text-based commerce a revenue stream
In the midst of the pandemic consumers were increasingly shopping from their phones. Marketers took notice and turned to text-based commerce for their customers’ business.
To break the clutter of promotional emails and reach customers wherever they are, marketers turned to text-based messaging.
One beverage startup Iris Nova tapped into its text-based ordering system amid the pandemic in order to sell the Dirty Lemon range of health drinks. This provided a greater convenience and brand-to-shopper intimacy than texting can foster. It’s an unusual relationship that customers and brands have, which we think drives brand loyalty.
Related to Texting emerges as major sales channel for brands.
Loyalty programmes go beyond just points to purchase. They offer more than just convenience.
COVID-19 was the background for loyalty marketing. It went beyond encouraging shoppers to shop by offering them free products or discounts.
Marketers have become less strict about loyalty and reward programs such as Walmart, Sephora, and REI now offer convenience-minded, cause-driven and experiential perks. This allows them to build deeper relationships with customers that transcend the transactional.
Walmart is following the lead of Amazon Prime and is now appealing to consumers through its Walmart+ loyalty program. It is built around services such as home delivery, scan-and-go functionality via its mobile app, and allows shoppers to skip the checkout queue.
Outdoor retailer REI offers experiences-driven benefits to its members. These include guided hikes up Mount Rainier, which are either free or at a reduced rate.
Businesses are integrating these values into their loyalty programs as customers increasingly choose brands that reflect their values.
Sephora allowed last year’s Beauty Insiders to make use of their Rewards Points to support the National Black Justice Coalition. This enabled its consumers to put their purchases to work.
This type of effort helps consumers “emotional loyality”, a difficult-to-measure but crucial metric for business success. Mary Pilecki is vice president of market research company Forrester and told CO-O. It’s all about improving the emotional state of the customer.
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Small businesses and startups have discovered the benefits of online marketplaces as an affordable sales channel.
In recent years, direct-to-consumer strategies (DTC), have become a key growth story. This was because startups and small business stepped up their ecommerce efforts in the face of closed stores and homebound customers. Now companies are turning to direct-to-marketplace strategies to launch, grow and sell their goods and services.
As platforms to help brands grow, a new ecosystem of marketplaces is emerging, from Amazon, Google and Facebook, to niche websites like Market Wagon, for artisans food producers, to name a few.
Because these sites already provide an audience, they can drive online sales without the need to create a website. To expand their reach, brands can sell to multiple markets at the same time.
The rise of digital marketplaces like Etsy and Alibaba has led to a surge in sales. They also reflect COVID-informed purchasing sensibilities.
According to Brightpearl ‘s “How we shop” study, 75% plan to shop locally in the coming year. 71% will shop at independent stores. This is one of the most significant shifts in consumer spending behavior since COVID-19 . According to the report, this shows the “profound effect coronavirus had on our daily thinking”.
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Publiated at Thu 16 Sep 2021 21.22:05 +0000