Prime Day may be postponed, but that doesn’t mean it’s over for retailers. In fact, this could be the opportunity brands need to play catch-up on the digital retail experience.
Amazon’s Prime Day is the ecommerce giant’s biggest shopping day of the year. The sales holiday is so impactful that, in past years, many retailers would time their own promotions and discounts to overlap so they could capitalize on the deal-hunting shopper mindset. Amazon typically holds Prime Day in July. But due to the pandemic causing inventory issues, logistic challenges, and an overwhelming online surge from forced inside shoppers, it has been delayed until the fourth quarter.
With Amazon’s summer sales event now shifting into the fall (though we still don’t know when exactly), retailers have a window of opportunity to capitalize on Amazon’s distraction and strategize how they can catapult into the lead with direct-to-consumer relationships and sales. Amazon has long set the bar for consumer expectations in the online shopping experience. Yet, the pandemic has caused explosive digital growth across the board, giving retailers a legitimate opening to invest in existing and new digital customers.
With this in mind, how can retailers utilize the next few months to prime themselves for success?
Focus on relieving digital struggle
The pandemic has forced digital acceleration upon everyone, and in response to COVID-19, customer behaviors and expectations have radically changed. Suddenly, digital-first became digital-only, as businesses were forced to throw their product roadmaps out the window and rapidly roll out projects like online ordering, buy online/curbside pickup, and alter communications systems essentially overnight.
As with anything done quickly, these new digital launches were sure to have caused some hiccups. Maybe the COVID-19 safety guidelines banner accidentally blocked the “checkout” button. Or perhaps new product pages are loading slower than ever from the strain of traffic spikes. Only by addressing top digital frustrations will retailers be able to drive adoption, reduce call center costs, and improve customer sentiment.
Retailers who don’t invest the time to smooth out the wrinkles and enhance the customer experience will have trouble attracting customers now, and beyond the pandemic.
Invest in technology while Amazon is distracted
With furloughed employees, overhead from dark physical stores, and budget scrutiny, retailers need to lean on technologies now more than ever before, allowing their teams to save not only money but also time. While historically, digital teams have often been a smaller investment within the larger organization, recently, with added pressure from new and edgy direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have retailers understood the value in the online retail experience. Add in the pandemic’s impact and you have the equivalent of throwing accelerant on to an already rapidly burning fire.
Brands need to ask themselves some of the tough questions they may have been putting off, like how long does it take to identify technical frictions or user experience confusion? How much is the manual synthesis of data sources needed? How quickly are we able to proactively course-correct? While working with limited resources has pushed businesses to take on a survivor mentality, investment in technology and digital transformation has quickly shifted from luxury to absolute necessity.
Align as an organization by centering customer needs
In a time of rapid change and uncertainty, it’s no wonder that many brands find themselves questioning the next steps and priorities, sifting through incomplete data sets, and often wondering what next decision would meet customer needs.
To accelerate the learning curve, brands have to adopt a continuous product design mindset and a customer-defined quantified approach to building better digital products faster. What behaviors are customers exhibiting on the ‘Summer Sales’ page? Why has the conversion rate dropped on this landing page? How many customers experienced that error? These are key questions retailers must be able to address quickly.
With real-time customer indicators connected to business impact, retailers can learn a lot faster about where customers are struggling, how performance impacts the customer journey, what to experiment on, etc. With this information in hand, retailers can learn faster, agree on priorities, and deliver the websites and apps that customers ultimately want.
While we cannot say that the pandemic has necessarily leveled the playing field, every brand has indeed had to adapt quickly and digital has risen to the top of the list of constraints but also benefits. With Prime Day delayed, retailers who use this time to uncover digital needs, optimize limited resources, and accelerate customer-driven decisions will get a leg up on the ecommerce pedestal.
Quantum Metric is a digital analytics platform that provides behavioral and predictive analytics for the retail, financial services, travel and telecom industries.Favorite