Maintaining customer connection beyond the physical shop

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In the current pandemic situation, where the constraint of health measures is complicating the act of purchasing and where the fear of catching the Coronavirus is a concern for many customers, services that limit or even eliminate contact are thriving.

 

Delivery and drive: keeping the connection by being creative

The pandemic has forced physical shops to re-adapt and find new solutions to help them maintain that precious customer connection. Since March, digitalisation has accelerated and shops have moved out of their brick and mortar world and ventured outside.

In this new configuration, delivery has played a central role. But how do you set up a logistics organisation to deliver to customers so you meet the challenge of the deadline whilst controlling the associated cost? Some companies have had the idea of relying on start-ups, thereby benefiting from innovative, turnkey solutions. That’s what Système U did when they decided to extend its partnership with the start-up Yper, a specialist in last-mile logistics. Confident of the relevance of its collaborative delivery solution, the retailer has deployed it in several hundred drives and shops in France. This approach is also in line with the positioning of retailers who are keen to nurture their CSR strategy by preserving the environment and encouraging people to buy locally.

 

In the United States, while there has also been an acceleration of delivery services, this has also driven up the use of autonomous delivery approaches. Retail giant Walmart has forged various partnerships with specialised innovative companies. In Houston, Nero delivers products by autonomous vehicle, while Udelv delivers them via driverless cars and Zipline ships medicines by drone.

 

The drive has also proved to be a relevant solution for limiting contact and therefore the risk of contamination. This been very successful in the US since the beginning of the pandemic, although this service was far from being anywhere near as developed as it’s been in France.

 

Maintaining your business with remote shopping

How do you keep your business running at a minimum, keep sales going despite the shut-down, absorb structural costs whilst maintaining your connection to your customers? In recent months, live shopping has made its debut in France. A phenomenon straight from China, it consists of promoting a product live on the Internet while allowing everyone to react and ask questions. The Fnac Darty group and its partner Moulinex used live shopping inviting several renowned chefs (including Chef Fred, Noëmie Honiat, Camille Maury and Cyril Lignac) to present and sell Cookeo and Companion robotic cookers and multi-cookers.

 

The Galeries Lafayette Haussmann shop (Paris) also decided to step out of its comfort zone lasts May by offering a remote shopping service for the first time. A personal shopper was then given the task of presenting a selection of items to customers via video calls. This was such a success they did it again in December.

 

These innovative services, driven by a strong desire to maintain the connection with customers, will undoubtedly last well beyond the health crisis.

 

By Thierry Strickler, Market intelligence lead, Altavia

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