On the 10th September 2020, Proximity Insight facilitated a panel discussion on the Poq’s App Commerce festival line up. Cathy McCabe was joined by two other inspiring women in tech: Sojin Lee, Founder of TOSHI, and Megan Neale, Co-Founder of Limitless Technology to discuss extraordinary service in a digital age.
Cathy was asked to give a thought leadership piece on the festival’s line up. The session, titled ‘Preparing For Peak’ outlined 3 key trends that will help brands prepare for the upcoming peak retail season under the current circumstances. Cathy shared insights and best practices on the initiatives that best serve customers while keeping them safe. The message was for retailers to champion customer experience whilst navigating the increasingly blurred lines between store, app, and online.
“Digitalisation is very much a part of our DNA.”
To open the Poq webinar, Cathy discussed how much digital technology has integrated itself into brands daily lives, with a focus on ecommerce and online shopping experiences, along with social media and the influence of the internet. “We’ve seen a huge shift in the last 5 years, with most brands focusing on digital transformation. The question is, how can you focus your energies on making sure digitalisation is at the heart of what you do? It touches every single role and function within a company.”
To answer her question, Cathy split the remaining part of the Poq webinar into 3 topics.
The Changing Role of Customer Facing Teams
In order to adapt to ‘the new normal’ ahead of the peak retail season, it is vitally important for brands to adjust how their customer facing teams communicate with clients. At the end of the day, they are the ones who can leave lasting impressions on their shoppers. Therefore, brands should take advantage and use their influence to create long-lasting, well-nurtured relationships with customers.
“Where the digital silos are disappearing, there’s an urgent need to embrace the blur. This is why customer facing teams are so important. There’s a buzz around multi-skilled functions that customer facing teams really need.
“You need to ensure that you’re capturing data. You need to pick up and follow those digital breadcrumbs. This is not just for luxury and premium brands, but high street brands too. If you don’t understand how and where your customer is shopping at every point in their journey, you’re not going to be able to optimise that experience.”The Rise of Virtual and Appointment Based Commerce
With footfall lower than normal before the peak retail retail season, how can brands still drive revenue? With new restrictions on the horizon, it is essential for brands to embrace and make the most of virtual appointments.
“Customer facing teams need to focus on being able to service that customer as a part of the post COVID impact: virtual commerce becoming the norm. We’re seeing huge impacts here. The focus on virtual commerce is really driving customer relationships as well as profit. A customer that may have only shopped once with the brand is now shopping two to three times more, simply because they’re able to connect with associates.
The Importance of Human Connection
One thing we like to highlight at Proximity Insight is just how important human connection is. This is even more important in these unpredictable times.
“One to one human connection is so powerful. It’s about continuing to build on the emotion that the customer experiences as a part of their initial purchase. When we look at the importance of human connection, the one thing that comes up above all is that it’s crucial to build a relationship with customers, and ensuring that it’s focused around a real person.”
Finally, Cathy discussed the impact that video can have on a brand. It can really push customer-brand relationships further than ever before.
“We’re all quite happy to jump on a zoom call and have a meeting. Video is having an impact by enabling brands to sell remotely. By incorporating video into your day to day running, you can connect with customers, show them real products and create hugely immersive and interactive experiences.”Cathy closed the webinar with an actionable, thought provoking statement.
“It’s the simplest of messages that make the biggest impact. Personal is powerful. It drives the relationship, and builds empathy and trust. The power that a simple ‘thank you’ can have is immeasurable. Whether the purchase was £20 or £2000, the important part is showing that you genuinely care.
Really focus on creating a relationship with your customers that you can strengthen and nurture for many years to come. As we all know, this peak is going to be quite different. But it will give brands the opportunity to focus on how they can drive revenue differently.
Prepare now, make strategic choices, build human connections.”
Watch the full webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL5GFrui_mA