The global health crisis inflicted by the novel coronavirus out break has put retail businesses under severe strain. Nationwide lockdowns imposed by governments to contain the spread of the virus had wiped out retail footfalls and disrupted supply chains across the globe. Retailers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, had to bear the brunt of this demand shock, dwindling supplies, and crumbling logistics.

Reuters reported that U.S. retail sales plummeted by 21.6% year-on-year in the month of April 2020. Social distancing is the new norm that both shoppers and retailers have to comprehend. Shoppers are responding to this situation by making online purchases with leading eCommerce portals experiencing exponential demand for their offerings.

The pandemic is serving as a growth catalyst for online retailers with access to the right technology and logistics ecosystem. In this accelerated shift to e-commerce, fast movers must take advantage of technologies that enable smarter customer engagement. Combining smart engagement with marketing automation will be key in scaling conversions and average order value. This article explores the shifts in consumer behavior and how retailers can use marketing automation to their advantage.

There will be no turning back from e-commerce renaissance
While preventive measures are in place, shoppers are turning to online avenues for their essential needs as well as hedonistic urges. The increase in average time shoppers spend on the internet is an obvious cue for retailers to strengthen their web presence. Adopting a customer-centric approach is essential to gain the trust and loyalty of shoppers. Since most shopping is now happening online, it is critical for eCommerce marketers to understand buying habits to drive favorable business outcomes.

Source: Cloudfare

Even before the pandemic gripped the world, retailers were observing the change in shoppers’ preferences and competition from the eCommerce world. The current crisis has left physical stores at the mercy of consumers. As the fear of COVID-19 may not disappear anytime soon, the eCommerce industry is poised to witness a surge.

The gold-rush lies beyond your basic e-Commerce website
To stay ahead of the curve, eCommerce players need access to tools that can decode shopper behavior to deliver a personalized experience. There are various marketing automation tools out there with out-of-the-box features to drive shopper engagement with relevant offers. However, choosing the right product/solution that suits their business model, data, and tech stack is easier said than done for SMB eCommerce businesses.

Most small and medium businesses of today are striving to improve their web presence to contact, engage, and stay connected with shoppers. Email marketing still remains an effective way to reach out to customers with targeted offers. It is, therefore, essential for marketers to use shopper insights to improve their email marketing campaigns. Gaining actionable insights into consumer behavior with the help of artificial intelligence can enable marketers to plan accordingly. Since online shopping is increasing, retail businesses must use technology effectively to capitalize on this new development.

Here are the key benefits of using AI in eCommerce:

Gain deeper insights into consumer behavior such as preferences and spending habits
Identify leads that are worth targeting
Generate promotional ideas to engage customers and take them through the sales funnel

The MIT Technology Review Insights’surveyed 1,004 senior executives from different sectors and regions of the world to find out the true impact of AI in the coming years. The graph shows how marketing and customer services are the two hotbeds for AI and its applications.

Marketers can be on top of their game by using the growing potential of AI-based analytics to formulate strategies and attract customers. While the coronavirus pandemic is pushing shoppers online, it is essential to understand their behavior to better engage them. For instance, the less tech-savvy older generation is resorting to online shopping too. Ecommerce players should be in a position to serve them with the most relevant and easy buying options to earn their trust and loyalty. From paying to entering information such as addresses and phone numbers, online retailers must keep things simple on their digital platforms. The idea is to remove as many hurdles as possible to take shoppers to the checkout page as quickly as possible.

Consumer Insights Are Not Beyond The Reach of SMB e-Commerce Stores
Consumer information, product, and sales data hold key insights for eCommerce marketers. With accurate and timely insights to guide their decisions, marketers can effectively engage shoppers with attractive buying options and rewards. For example, consumer, product, and sales data can tell which are the trending products that customers are looking for.

Gaining shopper insights is effective for the following key

Planning the supply chain accordingly
Formulating effective marketing campaigns to target high-value customers
Incentivizing purchases to boost engagement
Furthermore, it can save costs, increase productivity, and boost ROI.

Step-up your e-Commerce game with GreyFox’s smart marketing automation
Skellam’s latest product, GreyFox AI, is our newly launched product that can integrate easily with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify.

Smarter Customer Engagement

The technological capabilities of using GreyFox as a marketing automation platform can present shoppers with personalized offers by analyzing shopping habits, product affinity, and sales datasets. It enables eCommerce businesses to provide personalized deals to shoppers by accurately studying their behavior thus leading to smarter customer engagement.

Loyalty Management

Not every shopper wants discounts, some may want to choose their own rewards based on their own spending plans or wishlists. eCommerce players must not overlook this as it is the key to better customer engagement. With the GreyFox, online retailers can offer deals that closely match their shoppers’ preferences. Using its underlying technology, retailers can automate marketing efforts and manage customers based on their loyalty to the brand.

Offers and discounts management

GreyFox also brings into play a new level of personalization. It enables brands to offer the right deals to the right customers at the right time. So, when a brand provides hyper-personalized offers, it will increase the brand loyalty of customers, both existing or new. Hence, the proper management of offers and discounts is essential for retailers to keep the customers coming back for more.

Gamification of personalization

Gamification is a disruptive personalization feature that can change the face of eCommerce. Since every customer is unique, it is not necessary that a single offer can appease them all. Gamification serves as a more engaging mechanism for shoppers to reward themselves with offers that best suit them. We strongly believe that the gamification feature will significantly influence shoppers’ buying decisions.

Quick Feedback

The advantage of using GreyFox is not just limited to creating offers and marketing them to customers. It also simplifies the method of understanding your customers. From surveys to review requests, it handles everything. Once the data is collected, it’s built-in text analytics gives key insights into areas of improvement.

Skellam has got the feature-rich product for your eCommerce business

Choose an affordable option for automating the marketing processes and gain the trust and loyalty of your customers. With Greyfox, you can unlock a plethora of advantages to boost sales and increase your ROI.

Author's Bio: 

Marketing automation software can help you achieve smart customer engagement and make your eCommerce business successful during and post-COVID-era.