Digital Retail: Customer Engagement For Enhanced Weekday Footfalls

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The combination of Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud technologies over the last few years is fueling what we are calling the digital age. Technology is no longer just an enabler for Business, but is transforming the way business is done. The Retail Sector is a prime example with the advent of Digital Retail. Tablet based store associate applications for productivity improvements, smartphone based consumer shopping applications, and consumer insights using market basket analytics are all examples of how the Retail sector is adapting to Digital technologies in a big way.

Customer Engagement has always been a key business need in Retail. The digital age amplifies this business need and the Voice of the Customer – because customers now have platforms such as social media to voice their opinions about any brand easily, and with great positive or negative impact.

Additionally, a common business problem for most Retail Stores and related establishments such as Shopping Malls, has always been the dip in footfalls from a weekend to a weekday, with Wednesdays often being the lowest point of the week.

Could there be a connection between the levels of engagement with customers and the footfalls to the store? In other words, could we look at increased engagement with customers to drive additional footfalls into the store, especially during a weekday? The answer is definitely a YES.

Retailers today are trying to address this problem by running special promotions for weekdays, and especially for Wednesdays. However, the question really is – how much of an impact do such promotions have and are these promotions enough for customer engagement?

In our opinion, just a ‘promotion’ or one way communication based approach will not work. We would recommend three simple things to Retailers:

  1. Engage with customers in a two way dialogue: By complementing promotions with the ability to capture structured customer feedback and opinions.
  2. Sense the pulse of the customer: By analyzing the data received, and deriving insights such as sentiment towards the retailers brand.
  3. Leverage Digital Engagements to increase physical footfalls: For example, by combining online and digital contests conducted during the week to a prize distribution at the store or mall on a Wednesday evening.

The benefits of an approach like this are obvious. Besides the possibility of increased weekday footfalls, the focus on customer engagement rather than just promotions now gives the retailer the ability to know their customers better. This in turn can help the retailers to keep their customers engaged over a period of time, derive deep insights, and leverage those to ensure the best possible experience for their customers.

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