Shoppers are turning to e-commerce more than ever, as stores continue to close. Many retailers have implemented digital strategies over the past few years but these offerings will be put to the test during the coronavirus pandemic.
FN spoke with Alper Aydemir, co-founder and CTO at footwear technology platform Volumental, about how businesses can utilize the data they’ve been collecting and achieve retail success, despite challenges created by COVID-19. According to Aydemir, staying connected with the consumer and leveraging personalization will be critical for increasing conversions.
What role can data play in helping retailers adjust to the new environment?
Alper Aydemir: A customer has on average over 100 touchpoints [with your brand] before making a purchase. You need to make sure that each and every one of them is smart, attractive and helpful, which is something that data will unlock for you. It’s important for brands to leverage the data they’ve been collecting from in-store, online, social and other channels to target their customers with the right messages, offering the styles, shoe sizes and preferences that are relevant and personalized to their customer base.
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What will be the main pain points for retailers during this time?
AA: In the current environment, one of the important channels to collect data and offer a memorable customer experience is off the table: the physical brick-and-mortar store, since many brands have closed their stores due to COVID-19. At Volumental, we believe there will be an uptick in their e-commerce traffic, and our technology provides peace of mind for consumers as they can buy shoes online with confidence. Based on their previous foot scans at one of our brand partners, they know exactly which shoe size to purchase.
Are there any hidden opportunities for retailers right now, either in customer sales or internally?
AA: There has never been a world where people are at home this much. A lot of retailers are thinking, “Are we future-proof?” and this is a good moment to test that. This is the time for retailers to make decisions quickly and do so to improve their omnichannel and online capabilities. Over the past year, Volumental has been developing a product that allows retailers to engage with their customers across channels outside of the store. We believe these types of data-driven products are the solution to right now and beyond.
How can retailers engage consumers who may not be in the mood to buy shoes?
AA: When brick-and-mortar retailers are reaching out to their customers in a digital form, they should strive to maintain a high level of personal communication; personalized, targeted marketing based on all customer data will be a strong advantage. For instance, we offer 3D-scan-based content to our customers as part of our omnichannel product and have seen great uplift with that. People are spending a lot more time on their smartphones now and that’s part of our future and strategy in the next few months.
How can retailers prepare for the resumption of shopping post-outbreak?
AA: These are trying times for many retailers. But those retailers that maintain a line of communication with customers and show them that they are there for them, even without a physical store, will be best positioned when business returns to normal.
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