The COVID-19 pandemic has had a colossal effect on how retailers conduct their business. With social distancing and lockdowns, retailers are thrust into the world of online retailing. Since today’s customers prefer a ‘contactless shopping experience’, online retailing has evolved from being a convenience to a necessity. When brick and mortar retailers were forced to close during the peak of the pandemic, online shopping experienced a significant high. As we can see in Capgemini’s ‘COVID-19 & the age of contactless customer experience’ report, online sales had 8.4% increase in sales during the March-April 2020 period.

This massive boom enticed retailers to go digital and increase their online presence. A growing number of retailers understood that most of their customers are online and that they would struggle to satisfy their customers without digital customer support. As they moved online, retailers understood the importance of providing an excellent ‘contactless customer experience’. Contactless customer experience, a notion that started trending because of the pandemic, is set to stay as today’s customers are gyrating towards a no-touch shopping experience. Thus, retailers have to understand the nuances of the notion to increase customer satisfaction. The following pieces of advice will help both new and experienced retailers up their digital game and retain the love of their customers.

Take a digital first approach

Customers just want to ‘Click, Confirm & Collect’, so retailers need to adopt a completely digital approach to satisfy them. A digital first approach does not mean just online ordering and payment. Retailers should take another step and invest in online tools like CRM and digital messaging tools to provide a seamless customer experience. Providing consistent and transparent messages about new work hours, safety protocols and product promotions will ensure a personalized service to the customers.

Forge digital connections

Contactless doesn’t mean that you cannot connect with the customers. In fact, forging relationships with customers is the single best way to succeed in online retailing. Hence, retailers should set-up safe yet accessible connection platforms to increase customer interactions. One of the best examples is digital messaging, which is the most convenient way to connect during this pandemic. There are several benefits in incorporating a digital messaging tool like WhatsApp as it can help build trust, solve customer queries and promote products.

Be everywhere every time

Since customers use multiple online channels like social media, mail, chat and phone to shop, there is a need for retailers to be present in all these channels. There is also the need to have a consistent message over all the channels to ensure that customers have a consistent experience across all these channels. This method of marketing where retail brands have consistent messages across multiple channels is called omnichannel marketing. According to a recent report, retailers who successfully pull off omnichannel marketing will have over 90% higher customer retention. This is a huge boost for brick and mortar retailers.

Learn to automate

Since customers don’t like to wait, retailers need to provide instant support. Although this is a simple fact, it is very tough to implement. Especially for smaller retailers, who have a limited workforce. Lack of instant support can severely limit the growth of small retailers. When the number of queries start to increase, the limited team might struggle to provide instant support to all the customers. With the help of customer support automation, retailers can render speedy resolutions at low costs. Simple changes like automated WhatsApp messages or live chat automation can help retailers provide memorable customer experiences in this contactless world.

Make it simple

Oftentimes, retailers want to add more features to their site or app with the intention of attracting more customers. While this approach has its merits, it can also make your interface a mess. Messy interfaces increase search times and lower customer satisfaction. Hence, retailers should look to offer minimal features in a simple/user-friendly interface to attract more customers and increase customer loyalty. Retailers should also streamline their back-end to ensure faster checkouts. Simple, streamlined and connected systems will be the backbone of contactless customer experiences.

There you go, these five pieces of advice will help retailers improve their digital customer support. Since, contactless shopping is here to stay, retailers should proactively adopt new digital technologies to make sure that they have a competitive edge in the market. Taking a customer-centric approach and focusing on providing superior customer experiences is the best way to succeed in this contactless shopping market. We hope that both experienced and emerging retailers find increased success with the help of these five tips.