Business Insider – Retail – 5 ways retail marketers can stand out to customers in the evolving shopping environmentEstimated Reading Time: just 5 min

As reported on Business Insider – Retail:

PayPal download credit #3

Consumer shopping habits continue to change as the COVID-19 crisis continues into the winter. According to a global study released in October by Salesforce, 63% of survey respondents said how they obtain goods and services has "transformed" over the past year, with 57% saying the way they engage with companies has changed, too.2

E-commerce had already been steadily increasing pre-pandemic, but the early months of the crisis accelerated that trend as stay-at-home mandates and social-distancing measures went into effect, according to a recent PYMNTS study commissioned by PayPal. It found that half of retail shoppers who once planned to return to their pre-pandemic, in-store shopping routines now say they will keep their digital shopping habits even after the pandemic is over.

For retailers, the increased shift to online shopping means they face more competition in the digital space than ever before, which opens up a new set of challenges, including learning how to properly target the right audience and converting traffic into buyers, says Neil Patel, CMO and cofounder of NP Digital.

Deploying the right online marketing strategies can be a true business saver, however, helping businesses to "understand their customers’ lifetime value and optimize their stores," says Marcy Campbell, vice president of sales for the North American and Australian markets for PayPal.

Here are five ways retail marketers can better engage with their customers in the changing shopping landscape.

Leverage all the digital tools to reach more customers.

From text messaging and email campaigns to diversifying where customers can find your products, there are a range of digital channels that businesses can use to increase their sales and revenue to compensate for declining sales during the pandemic.

Patel says that developing on local strategies, which focuses on local search engine results rather than national rankings, can help improve their digital footprint for local searches that are relevant to their products or services. "And using tools to engage their visitors and client base can also drastically improve their ability to improve sales and [gain] repeat customers," he says. "Simple strategies like using text messages to increase engagement, get more reviews, and boost sales can be implemented quickly — and without breaking the bank." 

Keep your website clean, simple, and easy to navigate.

According to research published by online marketing consultancy Blue Corona, 48% of people say a website’s design is the top factor in determining the credibility of a business, and 38% of people will stop engaging with a website altogether if the content and/or layout is unattractive.

And knowing how to code to build an e-commerce site isn’t necessary anymore. "Big commerce platforms make it easy for anyone to create an ecommerce store quickly and without having to venture off beyond a few blogs to help them learn the ropes," says Patel, reiterating that user experience is "everything."

Start with having a welcoming and intuitive UI/UX that’s clean and simple to understand. "We find that the most successful online retailers keep it simple with a ‘less is more’ content strategy," says Campbell.

Make sure categories are simple to navigate and product pages are enticing. For example, using high-resolution images, videos, and informative descriptions can help people understand what they are buying. "And adding social proof in the form of reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content can go a long way to convert visitors," Patel adds.

Provide a fully integrated online-to-offline shopping experience.

Having an omnichannel solution is no longer just "a nice to have" but business critical, says Campbell. This cross-channel retail strategy combines physical and online commerce, delivering a unified and consistent experience across your brand ecosystem.

Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) is a prime example of this. Curbside pickup has also been gaining more steam in recent months. A recent PayPal survey conducted by Netfluential found that nearly half (46%) of merchants surveyed are planning to offer curbside pickup this holiday as they take extra precautions to keep shoppers safe.1

Offer flexible financing options. 

In these uncertain economic times, consumers are holding more tightly to their wallets and looking for value. One way to gain loyalty from customers is to offer flexible financing options such as buy now, pay later tools. One option is PayPal’s Pay in 4 solution, which lets consumers split their payments into four interest-free payments.

"The ability to shop and pay later could be the difference between affording essentials, such as groceries and home goods, and going without," Campbell says, adding that businesses will want to include this messaging clearly on their website.

Research has shown that when customers know early on in the shopping journey that they can pay for their purchase over time, they are more likely to complete the purchase. For example, PayPal’s survey showed that businesses that promoted PayPal Credit3 on their site saw a 21% increase in sales versus those who did not.4 Merchants with pay-over-time messaging on their site saw a 56% increase.5

Focus on the soft sell — it builds trust.

As a consumer, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being inundated with content, discounts, and offers every day. This makes increased personalization and targeted experiences extremely valuable. The less "salesy" a company is when it comes to communication methods with their customers, the better, says Patel.

"Too many companies have the mindset that the more offers they send, the more emails they blast, and the more deals they promote on social, the more people will buy," he explains. "The reality, though, is that people want value and not sales pitches. They want substance, not a barrage of discount codes. Companies need to understand that the more they give, the more they will get in return without having to ask for it."

Find out more about how PayPal’s buy now, pay later options could help your business.

This article is for informational purposes only and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Please consult with your attorney and/or tax advisor prior to implementing guidance. 

About Pay in 4: Loans to California residents are made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law License.

This post was created by Insider Studios with PayPal.

1An online study commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Netfluential in August 2020 involving 1000 U.S. PayPal SMB merchants selling products directly to consumers through a website or e-commerce platform. The sample is made up of merchants in different verticals, 200 in fashion, 200 in cosmetics and 600 across home-goods, furniture, garden electronics and sport.

2Digital Commerce 360, "Shopping behavior keeps evolving as the Pandemic Continues" James Melton 

3PayPal Credit is subject to consumer credit approval

4Average annual incremental sales based on PayPal’s analysis of internal data among 210 small and middle market merchants with annual online sales up to $37M with messaging and buttons against a broader group of merchants that did not, with 24 months of continuous DCC volume between January 2016 and November 2019.

5 Average lift in overall PayPal AOV for merchants with PayPal Credit messaging versus those without, 2019 PayPal internal data.

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Source: Business Insider – Retail
Author: Sponsor Post
Date: 2020 12 14

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