How Retailers Can Stay Relevant with Technology & Inflation Changes?

retail customer loyalty programs software for small businesses

June 17, 2022

Reading time about 6 minutes

With the ongoing issues in inflation and supply chain, most retailers are struggling to deliver value and offer savings to online shoppers.

Keeping updated with the latest technology trends and inflation changes is the only way to stay relevant in the market.

From the prices of food and gas to the rental charges and consumer goods costs, shoppers and retailers are well aware that inflation is at an all-time high.

Though inflation tends to fluctuate from time to time, a recent CPI report says there has been a price rise of 8.5% in March 2022 as compared to 2021, which is the most significant increase between the two years since 1981.

Shoppers are facing problems of fewer savings, low inventory & higher delivery fees due to these factors like rising fuel prices, supply chain challenges, etc.

To take care of these issues and adapt in the face of inflation, retailers need to act fast & shift their mindset to use advanced retail tools and technology that can help in delivering real value to shoppers.

That is where an effective Retail Loyalty Program Software comes into action. Let’s find more about it in this blog!

Impact of Inflation on Shopping Experience

Customers today want to feel valued when they interact with the brand. This means understanding customers on an individual level is a must to help them find personalized discounts and savings, updates on inventory items, and enjoy the best in-store experience to guide them through every step of their shopping journey. Skyrocketing prices can be due to several reasons such as –

1. Ongoing supply chain disruptions (due to pandemic & Russia-Ukraine conflict)
2. Increase in production costs (raw materials cost) & labor shortages
3. A rise in demand along with supply chain disruptions and limited supply

Undoubtedly, the inflation is rippling across industries but it is customers who are suffering the most. Here are some of the distinct ways that show how consumers are experiencing inflation:

– High Costs of Food & Beverage

Many consumers prefer to shop in person at their local retailers, which is why they are aware that prices are increasing.

A study conducted by Walmart, the largest grocery store in the US shows that most the customers are becoming more attentive to know how inflation affects their shopping experience.

Some of the noticeable changes after inflation are shrinkage in package sizes, lesser promotions, and higher prices for produce/meats. Retailers’ challenge is to find opportunities for savings and highlight them to shoppers in an easy way.

Read More: Brand Loyalty Vs. Customer Loyalty- Which One to Focus More?

– Low Inventory Due To Supply Chain Disruptions

Inventory management plays a major role to determine the success of any retail store. To offer a seamless and hassle-free customer experience, every retail business owner must know how to stock their shelves strategically to manage online orders and in-store demand.

However, with the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, many brick-and-mortar retailers are not able to restock their shelves as quickly as required.

To deliver a good in-store experience for shoppers, retailers must provide the products they need on time without delay. One approach is to inform shoppers of product shortages ahead of time and offer relevant products similar to that.

– The rise in Delivery Services Fee

With the increase in food and beverage cost, the charges associated with delivery services also increases.

Though charges may differ from one delivery service to another, most of the charges include a service fee for operating costs, like shopper operations, insurance, background checks, customer support, etc.

With the rise in inflation, covering these costs need higher service fees that some or many shoppers may not be willing to pay or afford.

This means more and more shoppers may like to visit stores for purchases just to avoid paying costly delivery charges for online orders.

Tips to Combat Inflation & Meet Customer Needs in Retail Businesses

Here comes the most challenging part for both retailers and shoppers i.e. to meet dynamic needs. Though we know it’s tough, it is possible with the help of the right strategy and retail tools to navigate the pitfalls of inflation and issues in supply chains.

– Use Mobile App for Personalized & Connected Shopping Experience

Research by GE says more than 80% of shoppers prefer online search for their desired product before purchasing.

Building a reliable app that follows the mobile-first strategy is a must as it will not only help shoppers to research products for savings & discounts but also engages them from the start of the pre-purchasing phase.

This help retailer to connect the digital experience with in-store making it easy for them to address consumers’ dynamic needs and keeping them updated during a period of change. Shoppers who engage with retailers online, in-store, and in-app are the ones that stay loyal for a longer time.

Read More: How to Create a Small Business Loyalty Plan?

– Give the Best Deals Personalized to their Habits

Shoppers always look for a way to save during purchases, especially when there is a rise in product prices. Offering personalized deals is the best way to connect with shoppers and make them feel valued as you understand their unique needs.

For instance, if a shopper is diabetic, they don’t want to repeatedly have pop-up product suggestions for sugary food items.

However, they will be happy to see discount opportunities on sugar-free products. There are reliable Loyalty Programs for Small Businesses in the retail industry that can leverage first-party data about their shoppers’ needs and provide customized deals that boost customer loyalty.

This way, building a connection with shoppers will help retailers to drive repeat purchases & increase loyalty.

– Timely Updates for Changes in Inventory

With the supply chain challenges, shoppers are more likely to find their favorite products “out of stock” for a long time, which can be quite disappointing for them.

By making use of grocery retail technology and mobile app features, they can prevent this situation and prepare customers in advance about out-of-stock items.

This can be done through- Intuitive Navigation of Product Catalog (for browsing in-stock products in real-time), Extended Marketplace (for connecting directly to CPG manufacturers for fulfillment), etc.

– Boost Long-term Loyalty

Successful retailers are the ones who keep their focus on shoppers’ individual shopping experiences and establish strong relationships built on mutual trust.

For shoppers, a Retail Customer Loyalty Program Points & Reward is what they look for to help in savings with relevant deals that encourage them to make repeat purchases.

Closing Statement

Inflation and supply chain challenges will continue to affect brick-and-mortar businesses, which means retailers must adapt to the change to meet shoppers’ needs.

Make use of a well-planned retail loyalty program that understands your shoppers’ unique needs and delivers exceptional experiences to each one of them.

For more queries on how to build a custom retail program for better customer experiences and boost customer loyalty, connect with the experts of Novus Loyalty and drive more revenue.