s we read the business press, it appears, due to a host of social, economic and other reasons, that retail growth has slowed over the last year.
The big brands are stuffed with inventory, inflation is hurting demand, and the market is cooling.
If you’re an omnichannel retailer, all of these are sound reasons to pull back expenses and play good defense. After all, that’s the conservative and safe play in these environments.
But is that the right strategy?
I will make an argument to the contrary.
Everything is a cycle, and when we hit a downturn in consumer spending, it's actually a great time to double down and prepare for growth. With the stimulus packages, COVID, and the new work-from-home trend, ecommerce adoption accelerated 10 years in the span of 18 months.
That kind of comparison is impossible to show growth against, as we're seeing in the technology markets today.
If we fast forward two years, however, growth will rebound and ecommerce probably won’t stop its acceleration until online sales are 40%+ of total retail sales.
My position is to take market share in the tough times and optimize your profitability during growth.
Investors and boards are already braced for bad news, so why not take the short-term hit and invest in the future?
What that means strategically is that this is the time to build and invest in growth while the cost of capital is attractive. That opens a host of opportunities to acquire other companies at attractive multiples, invest in technology and talent, and take advantage of the lower demand to invest in digital marketing and data platforms.
It also means prioritizing your CX strategy above all.
While traffic is slowing down post-pandemic, the game has changed for ecommerce, given the majority of the customer journey now happens on a mobile device.
To build revenue, brands must optimize their marketing spend, improve margins and make speed and conversion their priority. Outstanding CX across all physical and digital touchpoints is crucial to drive engagement and improve the frequency and growth in the retention of new and existing customers.
Think about it, 96 - 97 % of all visitors to a brand’s website don’t buy a thing and over 60% don’t make it through the cart checkout.
The main reasons are speed and friction – the promo code didn’t work, the shipping was priced wrong, there was no option for Apple Pay or PayPal, the estimated time of delivery was off by 10 days, then the 1-800 number took five minutes.
By that point, the customer has jumped to Amazon and you’ll likely never see them again.
Brands have gotten away with poor call centers, lack of personalization, chatbots that don’t work, and ineffective supply chain communication strategies for too long. Today's mobile customers simply do not have the patience to deal with infective CX strategies, policies, or support.
Turning one-time customers into repeat buyers takes on heightened importance in a time of rising CAC, and CX must be the focus at every touchpoint.
It only takes one second to lose a customer for life.
The bottom line is that; CX has to be the heart of your brand’s existence, then you can grow and take market share year after year, even as other retailers play it safe and stay on the sidelines.
The next generation of ecommerce growth is coming and now is the time to start honing your CX competitive advantage.
Don’t play it conservative, take share!