2020 gave retailers lessons for life. In an unprecedented situation, purchases through social media platforms – such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok – have become the next big thing; and understandably so. Fresh produce from local farmers, or an exclusive dress from a young designer – all popping up in social media threads and delivered straight to our door.
At first sight, the pursue of personal interactions gave an obvious advantage to small and even smaller vendors, be it offline or online. In a physically disconnected world, they were able to provide connection and trust. For many big players, this was bad news, as they watched niche players becoming a go-to address. On top, this evolution came with a noteworthy extra for the small but beautiful: the price is by far not the biggest differentiator.
So how can larger businesses become more personal? By getting smaller? No. Because being a large organization comes with a vast (and helpful) toolbox at your disposal. Chances are you haven’t used its real potential, so far. The new players in the market only realized what had been an underlying issue for the industry already, for years: Buyers don’t want to be numbers.
Customer data is usually scattered across many sources, and becoming more digital is the only way for big players to fix this. This doesn’t mean giving up on brick-and-mortar. On the contrary: physical stores need to become part of an integrated strategy –which backbone is made of data.
Combining the online- and offline experience has the unpayable advantage of scalability, solid data and product variety. Brick-and-mortar stores should remain – as the ideal conversion point of virtual and real experience. Which means even besides addressing each market individually, in terms of language and culture, you can take personalization that much further.
How – and which steps should follow? Stay tuned for the upcoming lessons.