Quarantine has changed us and nowhere is this as clear as where and how we’ve been spending our money. First, it was a nationwide shortage of toilet roll, and then, locked in our homes, thousands of us tried our hand at baking. Once we’d emptied supermarket shelves of flour, we went in search of yeast. With would-be bakers now happy to purchase over-priced yeast from eBay entrepreneurs with a mark-up of 900% on supermarket prices, it’s a world gone mad.
So, while millers struggle to keep up with demand, how has the pandemic changed consumer behaviour in other verticals?
A recent study showed that during lock down, 68% of consumers made purchases on sites they hadn’t previously bought from before. 70% went onto say they had a good experience, and when asked if they would continue to shop through eCommerce sites, 61% said ‘yes’.
But what does this mean for physical shops? In other research focussing on behavioural patterns during lock down, there was shown to be a dramatic increase in online spending among people who normally visit bricks and mortar shops. Some of this was likely driven by unusually heavy and persistent discounting by some of the larger online retailers. However, the main threat to the golf retailer is that the biggest demographic that purchased from new eCommerce sites was the 40-54 year old group – ie. people who would normally buy in physical shops and who are also a key target market for the sport.
Competition is stronger than ever and, while there are concerns that these changes in consumer behaviour could last way past lockdown, there are also real opportunities for smaller, more agile retail businesses – such as the golf retailer.
Re-engage with Customers
If some of your customer have been shopping elsewhere while the pro shop was closed, it’s essential to re-establish that previous connection, entice them back to the shop, and keep them coming back.
Social Media – Focus your efforts on platforms where your customers spend their time. Two or 3 posts a day won’t be too much right now and remember to keep your content relevant, interesting and varied. If your pro shop is based in Leeds, you don’t need people in Brighton to see your posts so use Facebooks targeting tools to attract new potential customers within a 20 km radius and who have an in interest in Golf.
Email – Even with our already cluttered inboxes, email is still a successful form of communication. In fact, during the pandemic, email marketing has seen an increase of 40% in open rates. It’s an easy way to target a specific group of customers and stay front of mind.
XMAIL is a customer communication tool that lets you send personalised emails from the pro shop. Automated emails are triggered following a sale in your sales system, XPOS: delivering intuitive, relevant communication to increase footfall to the shop, build loyalty and ultimately increase sales.
The Importance of Knowing who your Customer is
Over recent years, online buying and selling has taught us to think big and wide - worldwide even - Coronavirus has changed this. Consumers are sticking close to home, supporting their community, buying from retailers they know and trust, and turning their backs on the larger, ‘higher risk’ Malls. Knowing who your customer is has never been more important, and maximising the sales opportunities from your new and existing consumers is key.
Hats off to you if you’ve been capturing customer data as a matter of course. If you’ve been doing this at point of sale for some time, you should now have a useful marketing database including full name, contact information and whether they’re a member or guest: All essential data - not only for communication, but also to help you understand who your shop customers really are.
Since the shop reopened after lock down, you may be seeing some new faces in the pro shop, but you may also have noticed the absence of others, who would rather now avoid indoor spaces.
Double your efforts to capture customer data and, if you’ve introduced new sales channels, include a field on your system to record where sales have come from. Was it Reserve & Collect, or did they come into the shop?
The more you know about your customer, the better your communication will be and the more accurate your buying strategy. Watch out for different buyer types and target your messages accordingly. Think about how you might engage with:
- People who are playing golf but no longer come into the shop to make a purchase
- Customers who are happy to come into the shop
- Customers who prefer to order via phone/online and pick up outside the shop (Click & Collect)
You can dig further by break down the above bullets into existing and new customers
For new customers, it’s vital for your business to get them on board and have a plan to entice them back to your shop. XMAIL helps to cultivate those new golfers and first-time buyers by informing them of related products and services provided by the pro shop, inviting them to events, or reminding them to regrip their Clubs.
Move Fast with Technology
Before 2020, retailers were looking at new ways to adopt technology to improve their overall offering and boost the consumer experience. The pandemic has only served to push this forward. Experts believe retailers should look closely at how they are using technology across the whole business, and that more of them will look to work with third party tech, or software, partners during this time of rapid change.
Click and Collect
Lockdown pushed consumers online and there is now a huge opportunity for smaller retailers who weren’t traditionally online, to re-evaluate their sales channels and look at how they can best serve their customers.
Click and Collect has seen a gradual increase in popularity over recent years and the pandemic has since progressed the adoption of this model. And, with benefits for both consumers and retailers, we believe it’s going to stick, permanently.
Consumers enjoy the speed and convenience of Click and Collect, as well as being able to save money on increasingly high postage charges. It’s also environmentally friendly, Covid-safe and offers a great way to ‘buy local’ and support your pro shop. For retailers, there are significant cost benefits over ‘traditional’ online selling due to savings in packaging, postage and logistics. What’s more, when a customer visits the store to collect their items, the retailer is able to make a friendly connection, plus there’s also a chance for upselling, or additional sales.
The right technology is key to ensuring a smooth transaction and display accurate stock information. So how does Click and Collect work?
- The customer browses the shop products online
- Customer reserves item(s) and usually makes payment at this stage
- Email order confirmation is sent
- A second email is automatically sent when the items are ready for collection
We’re helping our customers to succeed in a post-Covid environment and watch out for new business tools and more great tech coming your way this Summer. www.crossovertec.co.uk Click on the CHAT button on our website for help.