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What Retailers are Doing to Become Resilient during COVID-19

Businesses are simultaneously dealing with the immediate impact of the global pandemic and at the same time planning for when we emerge into a new economic landscape. While retailers are looking for short-term solutions, they’re also looking to implement changes that will help them in the long term to increase customer engagement and revenue.

At the start of 2020, we entered the heightened age of the in-store experience. With the global pandemic causing mass disruption, retail stores that were once putting the store in the epicenter of the customer experience, now look to create the same level of experience online. Customers that were once demanding a unique and convenient shopping experience in store, are now expecting the same quality and convenience online. With personal online services, retailers can bridge the gap of store closures by providing customers with personalized choices, convenient communication channels and seamless transactions from the comfort of the customer’s home. At the same time, it provides sales associates with opportunities to create highly customized shopping experiences at the touch of a button.

While stores are temporarily closing and consumers are being encouraged to stay home and socially distance, retailers are in need of new innovative remote and ecommerce solutions designed to manage the current economic realities. Tulip is working with retailers to expand their current Clienteling capabilities and offer the same elevated experience their customers are used to in-store in a digital format. Features and functionality such as omnichannel live chat and remote pay will play a vital role over the next few months while the retail world navigates and recovers from COVID-19.

Omnichannel live chat messaging to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction

Live chat applications offer a digital alternative to an in-store experience as customers can connect on an individual basis with store associates and have their answers within seconds. Customers can connect directly with their favourite brands through chat opportunities like social media messaging platforms, mobile apps and through the brand’s website. A Zendesk study found that 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use a live chat feature. 

Providing customers with real-time omnichannel messaging over SMS and the most popular social messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger, allows them to decide how they wish to communicate with the brand. In addition, customers can choose to interact over real-time video chat over their preferred social chat channel. Through instant messaging and video chats, customers can rely on quick response times, high quality customer support, and unique personalization. 

Tulip’s LiveConnect allows store associates to continue providing a conversational and human touch customer experience. Using an integrated chat solution, associates can instantly curate their interactions by accessing the store’s catalog, share product information and photos, check on inventory availability and reply to customer inquiries. Using LiveConnect, customers can also connect with a store associate through the brand’s website using web chat widgets. Live chat functionality helps increase conversion data to enrich customer profiles and capture incremental sales securely.

Implementing live chat functionality also increases the sales value per customer. A Forrester study showed that live chat usage corresponded with a 10 percent average increase in cart value. There are many advantages to retailers using the LiveConnect app, including: easy adoption by customers and sales associates, communications done through compliant and secure channels, converting visits to customers, increasing loyalty and driving sales. For sales associates, it lets them continue to track their customer interactions and credit their sales back to them, while working remotely on their mobile devices. Incorporating live chat functionality into a retailer’s strategy also builds versatility for the future of retail.

Remote pay to create a seamless online checkout experience

Customers want to pay for their purchases in the most efficient and fastest way possible whether it be shopping in-store or online. Although we are practicing social distancing and self isolation during the global pandemic, customers still expect the same frictionless, high quality concierge style service they were receiving when shopping at physical store locations. Consumers are using their smartphones more and more to review and purchase products. More than 6 in 10 shoppers who made a payment remotely through a mobile device discovered their selections through browsing online, according to a PYMTS Remote Payments Study.

Remote pay offers store associates the flexibility to continue clienteling outside of the store. It helps their black book customers purchase products remotely and includes payment processing functionality. This way store associates can offer their customers full support during the entire buyer’s journey rather than guiding customers to the ecommerce site to fulfill and complete their payment individually. Store associates can easily contact existing customers, build a cart on the customer’s behalf, organize delivery, and process payment securely. Remote payment lets store associates complete the customer shopping journey with quick and convenient transactions from their mobile devices.

The personalization and convenience of the online experience is now just as important as the in-store experience. Brands are looking at their omnichannel ecosystems to bridge the gap and allow them to deliver high quality, seamless and hyper personalized experiences and customer service across all channels. Ultimately, retailers are looking to make changes now that bridge the gap, while also building agility and resilience to help their connected store thrive in the future. 

Tulip is committed to guiding connected stores through uncertainty and in helping them move forward. We are working with some of our trusted partners to help our customers expand functionality of their existing solutions, and to help them find new innovative solutions to drive sales and stay connected with their customers.

To learn more about how Tulip is helping retailers navigate COVID-19, speak to a consultant today.

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