If we learnt anything from 2020, it was that change can be quick and unexpected. The retail industry was impacted severely by the pandemic, but just as fast as the situation intensified globally it stabilised locally. Today, 2021 dawns with the sector in a far healthier state in New Zealand than almost any other global market. That’s because retailers, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, adapted and innovated to delight their customers. Some of the trends that defined 2020 will remain and others will evolve in 2021. For New Zealand’s vibrant, resolute retailers, here are some of the trends to navigate and capitalise on this year.
By Gordana Redzovski, Vice President, APAC at Vend
The pandemic has accelerated technologies and trends that allow customers to shop safely. Most notably, click and collect and curbside pickup surged in 2020, while the use of contactless and mobile payments also increased as people prioritised safety and convenience. It’s not only convenient for shoppers, but an opportunity for retailers to upsell. Indeed, studies find that between 50-70% of New Zealand shoppers purchase additional products when collecting an online order in-store. These processes are here to stay in 2021, so using them to enhance delightful in-store experiences is crucial. Similarly, the pandemic has made people more cautious about handling cash, so ensure you accept multiple forms of payments, including Apple and Android Pay, and buy now, pay later solutions.
New Zealand loves local
The strong #ShopLocal movement in New Zealand will continue to thrive in 2021. To engage Kiwis who love supporting their own, make your story and local roots prominent in everything you do. Promote yourself within your neighbourhood; invest in campaigns, promote the shop local movement or partner with non-competing businesses to spread your reach. Be proud of who you are and where you’re from, and New Zealanders’ affinity to your business should grow as a result. Not just offline, but online too. In a digitally empowered world, 90% of global shoppers search online before visiting a store. Ensure your business is easily searchable online by populating a Google My Business profile with your contact details, store hours and other pertinent information. Adding photos of your store, products and friendly staff, and encouraging your customers to leave reviews will give your business the local flavour it deserves this year.
Research from Facebook found that consumers are planning their store visits further in advance online, and around two-thirds say their shopping decisions are planned, not spontaneous. Therefore, it’s crucial that your brand is active in the ‘research phase’ of your customer journeys. Understand how, where and why they shop and position your brand and the beautiful products you produce appropriately.
You’ll need an omnichannel strategy to engage shoppers across all channels. To master this omnichannel approach, solutions like Pointy from Google allow you to list in-store products online, so customers can see what’s available before heading to your store. Pointy integrates with POS systems like Vend, and allows retailers to engage with eager shoppers anywhere, anytime.
For retailers, incentivising loyalty is a crucial competitive advantage to pursue in 2021. One of the best ways to boost loyalty is to demonstrate to customers that you genuinely understand and value them. So, look at your customer data: Where are they from? What channels do they use? What are their demographics and shopping habits? With these insights, segment your customers and create personalised experiences that meet and exceed their needs. By being strategic and targeted with how, when and where you engage with different segments, you can provide the personalised experiences so many prioritise today. And, after all, when customers feel understood and valued, their loyalty to a brand increases as a result.
Creative, compelling content is — and will continue to be — extremely valuable. In an industry with near endless choice, one of the best ways to stand out, keep shoppers engaged, and acquire new ones, is by producing content that truly resonates. Accomplishing this starts with analysing your customer insights. Knowing their pain points, aspirations, and what they relate to will help you craft your messaging. Equally important is knowing what platforms and media to use when distributing your messages. Instagram Reels and TikTok content, for example, is gaining a great deal of traction among younger shoppers, so could be a great avenue if they’re part of your target audience.
So, as New Zealand’s retailers venture boldly into a new year, local and loyalty, creativity and consideration will be crucial competitive advantages to leverage in the pursuit of those bold visions and big plans in 2021 and beyond.
Gordana Redzovski is Vice President for APAC at Vend, the industry-leading point of sale and retail management platform that lets retailers run their business in-store, online and on-the-go. For more information visit https://www.vendhq.com/