The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the retail sector exceptionally hard, with 45% of consumers still uncomfortable shopping in public. Many retailers are putting together promotions to entice customers back in a bid to make up for sales disruption caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Mehmet Sezgin, CEO & Founder of myGini discusses how accelerating sales offer creation and onboarding with a digital toolkit will help retailers reach customers faster and ultimately recover lost business.
Research shows the retail sector has been heavily disrupted by COVID-19, with U.S. retail sales estimated to fall by 10.5% this year. Although grocery sales and eCommerce have surged throughout 2020, smaller, predominantly brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to cope with reduced levels of footfall in stores. The same forecast indicates they will suffer a 14% drop in sales.
Agility for retailers is more vital than ever before, especially as a second wave of COVID-19 is poised to reintroduce business restrictions and pile fresh pressure onto already struggling businesses. Retailers must find innovative ways to win back and retain customers by quickly capitalizing on fast-evolving market environments and consumer buying habits, on both a local and national scale.
Standing out among the crowd in a post-COVID retail landscape requires agility
The retail sector will be clamoring to capture the largest possible portion of a smaller, more cautious consumer base to recoup losses incurred during the lockdown. Indeed, there is already a longstanding battle to compete with rival retailers as mobile payments, personalized offers and AI-powered recommendations all take center stage as businesses try to capture the spending power of Gen Z.
Retailers must today be able to offer relevant, tailored offers to customers and prospective customers. This could take the form of simply enticing new customers with one-off cashback offers or building a long-term customer base with incremental loyalty promotions.
Rapidly onboarding these promotions onto aggregator sites can provide a timely boost for retailers wanting to get customers back post-COVID, enabling greater tailored of promotions to time, location and shopping behavior. This gives retailers maximum freedom and flexibility in personalizing their loyalty programs.
Overcoming the roadblock of ‘traditional’ offer creation and onboarding
The lack of digital onboarding systems means retail offer aggregators have typically been slow to bring merchants onto their platforms, which lead retailers, especially in local communities, to miss out on quick wins to grow their customer base. Existing offer onboarding methods are fully manual. Aggregator companies that currently sign retailers up for offers in the U.S. routinely require set-up via the phone or physical forms. Many of these processes have been further compounded by COVID-induced delays.
Digital toolkits provide an agile alternative
Digitizing the full creation and onboarding process offers a rapid alternative for retailers to generate and distribute promotions across offer aggregators.
For example, filling in prepared forms on a dedicated website is a natural evolution from the current, lengthy practices that require retailers to call or fill in contact forms for each individual promotion. The process can be further accelerated by directly integrating digital contracts with eSignatures and linking with accounting software such as QuickBooks to generate invoices, eliminating previous manual delays.
This type of end-to-end digital toolkit enables retailers to create and onboard full offers online, meaning each promotion takes just minutes to create and push out to consumers.
Reaping the rewards of rapid onboarding
This digital toolkit is a service myGini has already worked with retailers and offer aggregators to provide to the retail sector, having developed a digital service for the rapid creation and onboarding of promotions.
myGini is the industry’s first app to allow merchants to create and onboard promotions on U.S. aggregator sites in a fraction of the time it takes through traditional manual methods. The toolkit allows retailers to instantly upload sales promotions to aggregator sites for both instore and online purchases.
myGini also offers unmatched visibility to these new promotions through its extensive partner network of retail offer aggregators and financial institutions, covering 60 million cardholders. Offers can be targeted on both a local and national level in response to COVID restrictions and lockdown levels varying on a state-by-state basis.
A return to normalcy for retailers
Despite the business uncertainty caused by COVID, new digital services mean pandemic disruption does not have to bring innovative promotions and rewards schemes to a halt. Pivoting to a digital onboarding toolkit prevent new offer initiatives from being an overly time-consuming effort, and enables retailers to ‘chop and change’ promotions as retail conditions and consumer sentiment shift.
These services represent the next step in digital transformation of manual and legacy processes – retailers that capitalise on them early will be able to react and embrace new market opportunities by creating relevant offers for both onsite or online purchases through card management and loyalty apps.