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2021 trends guide for retail brands: How to adapt to the new normal

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UX Consultancy Guide for Clients

2021 CX guide for retail brands: How to adapt to the new normal

E-commerce
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Mario Stipetic

CX lead

UX Consultancy Guide for Clients

Table of content

  1. Omnichannel as one of the main strategic priorities
  2. Adopt customer-centric mind state
  3. Develop customer empathy
  4. Be inclusive
  5. Embrace change

Dramatic shifts in consumer customer journey

COVID-19 (corovnavirus) deeply impacted the financial, political, and social sphere of the world and the fashion market, and we are still in the transition phase (May 2020).

The most significant change in the customer journey is the increased usage of online shopping, which is more convenient and safer compared to brick and mortar shops.

The job of marketing managers is to define how those shifts can impact marketing communication and how we can help our customers have a seamless and positive customer experience.

Retail industry eCommerce adoption during coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has dramatically accelerated and shown all of its strengths compared to traditional shopping. Customers that acquired a habit of online shopping find it more comfortable and less time/energy consuming.

In this article, we will share some of the actionable things your marketing dept can consider implementing to improve trust and gain loyalty in this post covid19 "new normal" world.

Our CX consultancy company is offering a customer journey mapping, so please contact us if you would like to know more how customer journey map can help your brand.

H&M sales in the mids of Corona virus epidemic. Source: Business of fashion
https://bit.ly/3cc7qJz


1. Omnichannel as one of the main strategic priorities

The customer's ability to order the clothes through a web shop or social media and pick up the item in the store or as a drive-in is one example of the new norm. The direction of the fashion market has drastically changed in the course of consumer-oriented sales. Consumers want convenience, and the brands that will offer it will win in the long run.

A certain percentage of the customer will try to avoid crowded shops and will prefer to buy online.

Everything that your fashion team is working on currently will have an impact on your sales and your brand in 1-3 years in the future, what you are doing now will be visible only then and not instantly.

Millenials purchase channels. Source: Bigcommerce survey https://bit.ly/2ZqW6GG

Your company's chances of success will be substantially lower if your brand joins the "race" after your competitor take the market share.

The omnichannel approach required extensive preparation and involvement of all your company branches, including marketing, operations, logistics, customer support, and higher management.

How to react: refine omnichannel experience
Here  is an example of a  contemporary consumer journey with omnichannel applied:

  1. browse Instagram
  2. see what his/her peers are wearing
  3. click on the "see in store" button
  4. order through webshop with Apple pay
  5. pick up in-store on their way to work or school 

The tasks that took days with offline shopping now contracts to just a matter of minutes. The amount of invested energy is now substantially reduced.

Your team should acknowledge and understand your customers and make it as easy as possible to find and buy the product.

We will cover the omnichannel fashion strategy more in detail in our next report. Please join our retail CX community to get the notification.

2. Adopt customer-centric mind state

You probably experience this shopping pattern yourself - you want the product, shirt, for example - and you want it by tomorrow. The only option available a few years ago was to go to a local shop on your way home from school or work, browse the in-store offer, get clerk advice (probably biased) and buy it with cash or credit card.

Now, you probably load the brand website or Amazon during a break, view genuine reviews, and couple of alternative products, and then order the product in minutes. Then, the delivery company calls you and delivers the package to your home or work office. The roles switched, if the company wants to sell, it must deliver to your home and not expect the customer to visit a store. 

Home delivery model customer preferences. Source: McKinsey 
https://mck.co/3ebsb9Q

Everything is shifting to the ease of the consumer. And not without reason, companies that will embrace customer-centric culture will win the market, and others will fail or stagnate.

How to react example: offer one-day delivery
Not every order needs one-day delivery, but offer it and keep a certain percentage of your customers happy.

No customer wants to wait one week until he receives the delivery. In fact, the average customer wants to spend up to most three days, and that is shifting to faster frequency. The customer will choose a different store without you even noticing the lost sale opportunity.

Amazon almost created their entire empire out of one-day delivery and by listening to their customers.

In the post-covid-19 world, one-day delivery will be a must-have option and will impact a substantial share of your sale and customer loyalty.

3. Develop customer empathy

WHO stated that the Covid-19 virus has the potential to circulate between countries permanently. The vaccine is still not developed, and it will take years to vaccinate the entire population. 

The new situation requires marketing adjustment of your entire customer journey map. It requires you to acknowledge the unique experience and emotions. Each touchpoint on your customer journey is now changed and have different feelings and experiences.

You should map the customer journey and understand what questions and emotions your customer is experiencing in this new situation.

How to react example: offer option for safe, contactless handling and delivery
Offering options for safe contactless handling and delivery means that your brand is taking care of your customer's wellbeing and health. Not your whole customer segment will be interested in this, but those who are more cautious will.

Your web shop should communicate that you handle the shipments with gloves only, that personnel is wearing gloves, and give clear visual instructions for the delivery.

esprit.com contactless delivery


If you will need help in establishing how your customer persona and customer journey has changed with pandemic please contact us at:
 supersuperagency.com/contact


4. Be inclusive 

With the rise of eCommerce, especially after the Covid19 outbreak, online fashion sales rose.

The common perception of inclusiveness is not to leave any group out. You can also expand this concept and allow all of your users to participate in your product marketing and design efforts. 

Expanded inclusivity will bring your brand more in-synch with your customers and make it easier to make individual decisions and adapt to unexpected events like 2019—Corona pandemic.

It seems counterintuitive that if you disclose your product shortcoming, sales and brand trust will heighten. But for example, reviews are a significant part of Amazon's success and brand trust.

How to react example: offer real reviews and link to various independent reviews
The rise of Youtube videos, blog reviews, and product feedback is currently a big trend. With online shopping, the customer cannot see and feel the product in real life. The only way to experience it unbiasedly is through the independent comments and videos of others. 

It seems counterintuitive that if you disclose your product shortcoming, sales and brand trust will heighten. But for example, reviews are a significant part of Amazon's success and brand trust.

For example, the customers that care about the material roughness, with reviews, will buy an appropriate shirt from your site and avoid the ones where reviews mention that the material is too harsh - and thus be happy with their purchase.

The customer that doesn't care about the rough material will ignore the reviews about material harshness because this is not so important to him/her, and again, be happy with the purchase.

Customers will give you much-needed product feedback on the positive and negative sides.

Customer feedback, everlane.com

In the case where the consumers avoid physical shops, the only way they can shop is online. Independent reviews offer an unbiased review of your fashion items and help the customer to get a detailed overview.

For any online fashion shopper, there is a gap of not trying out the real product. You can address this gap by connecting with independent video reviewers. Independent product reviewers replace your friend's feedback and the need to go to the shop to "feel the product".

Your brand should encourage independent reviews and form long-term strategic connections. Reviews list the pros and cons of each product, and they offer you an opportunity to learn from the feedback and improve your product.

Burberry trench coat Youtube review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8494eswfrY


5. Embrace change

Some industry analyst argues that work from home is here to stay. Imagine the hours saved on commuting and the possibility of a stress-free environment without that one annoying colleague. Yes - everybody is feeling the same.

How to react: what products can you offer? pajama?
As your customer journey and persona changes, you should redefine what your brand can offer for work from home and outdoor situations.

Are the customers now care more about indoor outfit comfort? Do they want to look good on a conference call at the same time? Do they intend to wear a face mask in crowded areas?

You should conduct qualitative and quantitative user research and see how does your target audience feels about those questions. 

We can help you with the mentioned research; please contact us if you need free consultation or help. We are always glad to talk to our potential clients and heir their thoughts.



Conclusion

Even in the hardest times, especially when the Covid19 crisis has lowered fashion industry sales, your team should gather energy to leave your old plans behind, pivot them, establish new priorities,  and respond with the adequate product offering.

In the current fast-paced economy, only the most agile fashion companies will thrive in the long run.


If you will need help in establishing how your customer persona and customer journey has changed with pandemic please contact us at:
 supersuperagency.com/contact

What will be the most important 2020 fashion eCommerce trend based on your professional experience?

Note: we will publish selected answers and get back to you by email
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
We will notify you by email when we will publish the results.
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What will be the most important 2020 fashion eCommerce trend based on your professional experience?

Note: we will publish selected answers and get back to you by email
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
We will notify you by email when we will publish the results.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
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