The last 12 months have not been kind to our friends in retail, with the effects of COVID-19 permeating through every branch of consumer behaviour. This presented huge challenges ahead with issues around:

  • Re-opening
  • Enforcing social distancing
  • Fluctuating lockdown rules

Where previously buyers were used to the processes of browsing and buying both in-store and online, COVID-19 shook up a lot of consumer expectations and retailers had to adapt to these new market trends or risk going bust.

Shift To Online

The shift to online and how retailers adapted

A relatively obvious but important factor the pandemic had was seeing an unprecedented boom in online sales. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) online sales rose to a record high of 33.9% as a share of all retail spending.


Managing availability expectations

With a growth in the market of online buyers comes a scarcity in product, as online shopping is far more convenient and accessible to buyers, especially during a pandemic, stock can be bought out far quicker than anticipated.

This can cause a lot of frustration for buyers as they still expect the same level of availability to the pre-COVID world.

Managing these expectations is crucial to keep your business relevant in 2021 and one way to adapt your CRM for agile fulfilment is by increasing the visibility of your stock levels to buyers. You can keep tabs on your customers purchasing history and any wish/waiting lists they may be on and use this information to manage your customers’ expectations.

Back in Stock emails had the highest open rate (65.32%), performing almost 70% better than the lowest performing email campaign type of post-purchase emails.

By keeping your CRM up to date with customer contact details you can alert them through emails and SMS notifications of product restocking, so they know exactly when to come to your online store and purchase the item they want.

Adapt Campaign

Responsive email campaigns

By utilising your CRM for email campaigns, you give yourself a holistic view of your prospects which can help influence the content you send out to them to better your ROI.

With effective planning and room for manoeuvring your emails can arrive in a prospect’s inbox offering exactly what they need, at what seems like the perfect time. This helps your messaging stick out from the abundance of spam offered by your competitors.

If you put your customer and their needs first, then they will reward you with being loyal.
Kath Pay, CEO of Holistic Email Marketing

For example, when COVID-19 first caused a lockdown in the UK if one of your prospects received a standard personalised email from an online competitor that ignored the pandemic then this would seem just as irrelevant and ‘spammy’ as the generic emails that contain no personalisation.

However, if you then adapted your campaign strategy and the data you collect for your CRM you can offer something relevant and timely for your specific customers. i.e offering discounts to front line workers or changing the time of day you send out messaging to fit within remote working timeframes.


Agility in mind

With the global effects of COVID-19 starting to slow down we can finally see a world in which things can go back to the way they were. However, it’s a perfect time for us to ask ourselves should everything go back to how it was?

With retailers having survived one of the hardest years in B2C history it would be wise to incorporate some of the lessons learned into future plans of action and maybe better the retail industry as a whole, gearing themselves more towards customer satisfaction and being prepared to survive anything.

If you’re interested in reading more about how best to incorporate CRM strategies into your business then please take a look here and let us know what you think.

Take the first step towards valuable data

With our Data Capture app and Data services team on offer we provide all the tools necessary to unlock the value in your customer data

Get in touch

Stay up to date with Gather