Private label is here to stay. That’s what research has shown as consumer demand for private label products has grown during the pandemic.
But whether a particular store brand sticks around depends on how it lives up to customer expectations. See, while customers have turned to private label during the pandemic, it’s the lower prices guaranteed by private labels that is typically the main reason.
If retailers want their customers to continue buying private brands long after the pandemic, they’ll need to win them over on more than just price. Customer expectations have changed over the years. Businesses that are able to stay on top of trends and deliver value to their customers are those that will continue to thrive and survive.
Here’s what we think the customer expectations are for 2021 — and how store brands can live up to them.
1. Be “Always On”
Even with private label products, things occasionally go wrong, be it with order processing, shipping and so on.
And when things do go wrong, the customer wants a speedy answer. In fact, more than 80% of customers want an answer within 24 hours. And while 37% want an answer within 60 minutes, 16% want an instant response.
In order to meet customer expectations, your business needs to always be on.
For example, you could install chatbots that are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). These chatbots are available 24/7, and because they use machine learning to crunch data and learn more about each customer, they’re able to provide an accurate and satisfactory response. Ultimately, this means faster responses, more consistent responses, and it ensures that your customers aren’t left waiting.
2. Truly Be Omnichannel
Customers have been craving an omnichannel shopping experience for a few years now. But in 2021, it’s the year when most customers will demand it.
Already, as many as 51% of businesses now use multiple channels from which their customers can access their store.
Key to an omnichannel shopping experience is seamlessness and consistency. In other words, customers expect a personalized and consistent UX as they switch from channel to channel while browsing and purchasing your products. For instance, they might discover your business on Instagram, before chatting with you on Messenger, and finally purchasing in-store. A successful omnichannel experience is one where the customer feels as though this whole experience from A to B was seamless.
To create an omnichannel shopping experience, you have to determine the channels your customers use the most. Then, map your customers' journey, segment your audience and make sure your content aligns with each marketing channel.
Ultimately, your aim must be to provide a unified customer experience across all your channels.
Also, don’t forget that key to an omnichannel experience is ensuring your staff levels are absolutely right at all times so that you’re able to meet demand wherever your customers are.
3. Personalize Your Customer Experience
In 2021, customers will demand even more personalization from businesses, especially online retailers.
This means offering them tailored product recommendations based on their past buying and browsing habits. It also means catering to their specific needs and preferences in other ways, such as with the way you deliver content, and even the exact landing pages you display.
It means sending personalized offers, too, which is what 60% of consumers now expect.
The first step in creating a personalized customer experience is collecting data. You can do this via chatbots (see above), customer service and website analytics.
Then, you can segment your audience according to several indicators, including location, education, age and gender, as well as — crucially — online shopping habits.
Finally, you need to implement a personalized strategy across all your channels (see above for the importance of an omnichannel shopping experience!).
4. Offer More Payment Options
As a retailer with thriving own brands, you know the importance of a seamless checkout process. Indeed, a seamless checkout process can reduce cart abandonment!
However, one of the reasons the checkout process often fails (and thus leads to an increase in abandoned carts) is because the customer can’t find their preferred payment method.
This has to change in 2021, with customers demanding more flexible payment options. In fact, PayPal transactions alone can boost checkout rates by 70%. Simply adding PayPal as a payment option, then, already improves your conversions.
Ultimately, it’s key that you take a look at your website analytics and carry out customer surveys to find out what payment options your customers want to see. Then, it’s simply a matter of adding these to your checkout.
Customer expectations have grown dramatically over the years. Their expectations are now pretty damn high. This, of course, means you’ll need to work harder in order to meet them — but there’s nothing you can’t deliver. Now is the time to “ramp up or get left behind."
Derek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy. With a focus on retail, Jones helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies.