As retailers and brands are well underway into planning for reopening measures, many are evaluating the best ways to adapt to the changing needs of customers who have spent an entire year away from the in-store retail environment. These changes are taking many forms, from digital strategies that leverage e-commerce to different store layouts, to broader considerations that put customer safety at the forefront.
While some industries like grocery chains, pharmacies, and CPG brands saw massive windfalls during the pandemic as in-restaurant dining was severely limited, other sectors of retail struggled to stay afloat. Each of these groups is currently facing unique challenges in planning for the coming quarters. For grocers, there are going to need to be serious considerations made towards customer retention; as restaurant reopening sets in, grocery chains are going to need to make the in-store experience as convenient as possible to keep customers coming back.
For struggling retailers like clothing stores, the mere ability to reopen, and reopen at a sustainable volume, is a major first step, but getting customers back in the door and getting them comfortable with the in-store shopping experience is another story altogether.
While many of the core benefits of a Universal Mobile Offer™ are felt on the CPG side with respect to promotion tracking, fraud reduction and offer management, these retail sectors can use the Universal Mobile Offer™ (UMO) as a value add to leverage in the reopening process, helping to incentivize and encourage customers as they begin on the path back to normalcy. Here are a few of the ways the UMO can impact retailers in 2021.
The Universal Mobile Offer™ Encourages a Safe Way to Save
One of the many transformations we’ve witnessed in the past year has been an increase in safety protocols at almost every brick-and-mortar shop we frequent. From grocery chains and pharmacies to clothing stores, new restrictions on customer flow patterns, capacity requirements, and increased protection for workers at point-of-sale machines have altered the in-store experience. As retailers reevaluate their safety protocols, reducing reliance on printed paper coupons and encouraging contactless payments can go a long way to helping customers feel more comfortable in stores.
Particularly for grocery chains who have undergone a cash infusion during the pandemic—what began as a $16B profit spike during the panic-fueled early days of COVID-19 settled into a sustained $6B increase in revenue compared to pre-pandemic months—there has been more liquidity to invest in updated point-of-sale systems. These new systems are better equipped to handle contactless payments and help make digital couponing possible. Even harder-hit retailers have taken the opportunity to invest in new digital technologies to encourage contactless payments in their stores.
Universal Mobile Offers™ give customers the same discounts as traditional coupons, but leverages smartphones to redeem them, which reduces the amount of shared surfaces customers and workers are required to interact with on a daily basis. This emphasis on safety while continuing to offer savings is invaluable to all sectors of retailers because it displays a commitment to the wellbeing of the customer that may have previously prevented them from returning to brick-and-mortar locations.
Increasing Foot Traffic With the UMOAs reopening measures begin spreading throughout the country, retailers are going to need to work to break some of the reliance consumers have placed upon e-commerce over the past year. Though customers have become accustomed to shopping from home, getting those customers back into stores is going to be a major priority throughout 2021.
While the UMO offers a promise of safety by encouraging contactless payments, it also presents an opportunity to increase foot traffic in stores by directly targeting customers with offers tied to physical retail locations as opposed to e-commerce offers redeemed through promo codes. The UMO enables retailers and brands to reach out to customers directly with special promotions designed to be redeemed in the store, in addition to special price activations that can be accessed in the stores themselves.
This value-added form of promotions creates an impetus for customers to return to stores on the promise of exclusive offers they aren’t able to access online. After a year spent relying almost entirely on e-commerce to drive revenue, the UMO builds a bridge between digital offers and physical shopping that can be an essential step in returning customers to normal in-store shopping habits.
The needs of retailers in 2021 are vastly different than they have been in years past. Grocery chains are facing a whole slew of new concerns as they strategize around the windfall of a boom year and work to manage growth and retention, and harder-hit retail sectors face the challenge of a customer base with shifting habits after a year away from in-store shopping. The Universal Mobile Offer™ presents a world of opportunity for retailers across this wide spectrum of need, offering safety and convenience that put the customer first.
Interested in learning more about how the Universal Mobile Offer™ can shape your promotional strategy in 2021? Talk to a RevTrax expert today to find what the UMO can do for you.