As Forbes claims, COVID-19 will forever change retailing and its profound impact on consumer behavior will continue to transform e-commerce businesses for years to come.
Today, we’ll unfold transformations in consumer behaviors, retail, and e-commerce businesses in a COVID-19 world and bring light to how your marketing strategy can respond to these changes.
In this article, we'll cover:
- How COVID-19 is transforming the retail landscape forever
- Why marketers are refreshing their segmentation strategies
- The next generation of AI-driven & behavior-based audience segmentation
Let’s get started.
How COVID-19 is transforming the retail landscape forever
In late March of 2021, The Economist released a video report called "The future of shopping: what's in store?", shedding light on the ongoing shifts and future trends of retail during and after the global pandemic. On a global scale, 2020 drove a dramatically high number of shoppers online, and consequently, e-commerce sales accounted for a considerably bigger portion of total retail sales than ever before.
For instance, as shown in the following chart, e-commerce sales accounted for 14% of total retail sales in the US last year. That's up from just 7.3% in 2015 and 0.9% in 2000, illustrating the pace at which retail sales have moved online over the past couple decades, particularly in 2020.
One may ask: When the pandemic eventually comes to an end, will the growth of online retail sales slow down?
It doesn't look like it according to the data.
Why marketers are refreshing their segmentation strategies
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we got used to a "new normal" and changed our way of life in many regards. The continuous lockdowns have resulted in people spending a record-breaking amount of time online and moving most shopping activities from offline to online.
More importantly, recent studies strongly indicate that changes in consumer behaviors are here to stay in the post-pandemic era. A survey report by United Nations asserts that COVID-19 will change online shopping forever.
As displayed in the chart below, when being asked whether they would continue shopping for food online once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, approximately half of consumers in the UK stated they would.
Correspondingly, consumers’ changing behaviors call for retailers to refresh their marketing strategy. A recent Fujitsu study revealed that COVID-19 is accelerating digital transformations in the retail industry, and 79.1% of retailers plan to use digital marketing in 2021.
To make the most out of this new demographic of online shoppers, marketers are focusing on personalization more than ever. This is because this new demographic of online shoppers have different consumer expectations than traditional online shoppers and expect a more personalized experience, much like one would receive in a store. Additionally, with the rise in online competition, e-commerce businesses must differentiate themselves to retain new customers, and the best way to do this is by investing in their customer experience with personalization being a key component. As a result, marketers are prioritizing customer segmentation strategies, which enable teams to create more targeted, personalized marketing campaigns and experiences.
The next generation of AI-driven & behavior-based audience segmentation
Now that we've covered the importance of refreshing your segmentation strategy, how do you go about it?
As discussed, your customers are spending more time online and leaving behind more digital footprints. However, the most common and costly segmentation mistake retailers make is not taking advantage of their customers' behavioral data.
These customer data points are a gold mine! Compared to traditional retailers who had very limited access to their own customer data, modern retailers can utilize their customer data to understand how their customers shop at every stage in their journey. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), the next generation of customer segmentation is here.
Traditionally, the first generation of segmentation was based on demographic data, geography, and timezones. Going beyond this basic layer, Clerk’s AI-driven and behavior-based audience segmentation utilizes customers’ behavioral data.
While the first generation of segmentation allows you to know who and where your customers are, Clerk’s behavioral segmentation makes it possible for you to figure out how exactly your customers behave including what they are interested in, when they shop, when they open emails, how they navigate your site, and more!
It's time to let AI take over and make the most out of your customer data. Based on historical and real-time customer data, Clerk's AI can figure out complex marketing questions, like:
- Will this customer be interested in this product, category, or brand?
- How often does this customer purchase from your store?
- Is this customer still active or slipping away?
- How does this customer respond to offers and discounts?
- What is the average order value of this customer?
and the list goes on…
By supporting better analysis of historical and real-time customer data, Clerk's AI-driven segmentation engine allows marketers to create scalable audience segments for varying marketing purposes, such as re-engaging customers slipping away, turning one-time buyers into recurrent customers, and much more! In short, Clerk’s audience tool can help you sell more effectively by enabling you to identify the right customers for a particular campaign.
Change is never easy, especially since the ongoing pandemic makes the future even more uncertain. However, Clerk can help your business cater to consumers’ transforming behaviors effectively and effortlessly with our cutting-edge segmentation innovations. Get started by talking to one of our e-commerce experts today.