To Generation Z, companies such as Saturn, Blockbuster, Circuit City and Kodak, once household names, are now just relics of the past. Their faded glory is a reminder that brand loyalty is fleeting and consumers abandon companies that can't keep up with change. Businesses have to be flexible and connect with consumers through diverse channels to avoid becoming history. Here are a few creatives strategies that successful retailers use to boost customer engagement and sales.
Branded Online Marketplaces
Product development is a long, expensive process with no guarantee of a profitable outcome. Massive online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, lower development risks and increase flexibility by allowing smaller retailers to sell goods using the influence and visibility of a global brand. As a result, online marketplaces are agile and up to the minute, building brand loyalty by providing convenience, speed and variety.
Traditional retailers can use similar strategies to offer consumers more options while freeing themselves to create bestselling branded products and services. Wal-Mart and Crate & Barrel have successfully adopted this model, choosing curated selections that complement the brand. Despite sharing space with a multitude of merchants, marketplace platforms can maintain price competitiveness and brand loyalty by selling exclusive and globally sourced products.
Social Media Sales
The rise of e-commerce has made modern shoppers skilled at researching and buying products without ever visiting physical stores. Social media is a prime environment for brands to interact with shoppers sooner in the purchase path because companies already use it for customer engagement and brand storytelling. Although most social media sites lack direct payment options, many independent sellers and small business owners use monetization apps, including Soldsie and Curalate's Like2Buy, to rack up sales on sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest. Bigger brands can also use this type of one-on-one interaction to create authentic customer experiences, and they have the resources to develop their own monetization platforms.
Partnerships With Social Influencers
Working with influencers is a natural extension of selling through social media. Unlike traditional celebrities, popular influencers have accessible lifestyles and give practical advice that can help average consumers create something, solve problems or make important personal changes. Econsultancy reported that 60 percent of Generation Z shoppers are more likely to believe information from YouTube stars than movie stars. While consumers are often turned off by overt marketing, influencers gain credibility and clout through proven knowledge and valuable recommendations. Companies can tap into this intense brand loyalty to get consumers excited to share their products and brand story.
Delivering quality service in person is still the best way to strengthen brand loyalty, and pop-up shops provide an economical, low-risk option for testing new products and markets. From trucks to mall kiosks to building rentals, a wide variety of locations are available for brands to create unexpected experiences that attract customers to see the value of products firsthand. Pop-up stores don't require a long-term real estate commitment, allowing brands to tackle development in small iterations instead of giant leaps.
Building brand loyalty is about selling a customer experience, and companies must consistently follow up on brand promises. By thinking beyond the typical storefront model, brands can reach consumers through the same technology and media that shoppers already use to learn about products and make purchasing decisions.
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