Customers expect to be delighted when they shop — but are you prepared to entertain? At BigCommerce’s 2021 Make it Big Conference, Retail Minded Founder Nicole Leinbach Reyhle sat down with BigCommerce’s Director of Content Marketing Melissa Dixon and uncovered the one word retailers should have top of mind this holiday season: shoppertainment.
Shop•per•tain•ment / n. / A combination of ecommerce and entertainment that drives engagement with interactive experiences that meet viewers where they are, and allows brands to connect with them through more meaningful interactions.
In this Make it Big 2021 session, Nicole revealed the latest consumer behavior trends plus retail predictions for yet another unprecedented holiday season. With increasing consumer expectations and more competition, understanding your customers is more important than ever this holiday season. Retailers can learn the keys to a successful holiday season with insights into what their customers are looking for and how to engage with them in a hybrid retail world.
Here are a few key takeaways from Nicole Leinbach Reyhle’s Make it Big session:
Melissa Dixon: How can retailers best understand what their customers are really looking for, and how they can meet their needs?
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle: “Their path to purchase was abrupted wildly during COVID. And here we are — the world has come back to life. And with that, what have we seen consumers do? Well, consumers took advantage of what they learned in COVID and now they’re applying it to their real-time experiences. And they’re connecting with brands and retailers in ways that they learned during COVID.
“For example, that social selling experience that I mentioned earlier, CommentSold, where you can shop directly via social media from the comfort of your home. So let’s say on Facebook or Instagram — if you’re a consumer, you can connect with the brand doing live video streaming from their store or their warehouse, or just a showroom highlighting product and inventory, and make that purchase from the comfort of your home. So it’s merging. It’s a hybrid blend of physical and digital.
“Another thing that we’re seeing is that consumers are driving choice by transaction opportunities. So let me explain that more. A lot of consumers right now are actually deciding, ‘Who accepts the payment of how I want to pay? That’s where I’m going to shop.’ I think this is genius.
“Consumers are driving choice by transaction opportunities.”
— Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
“For example, the buy-now-pay-later platforms that are essentially installment payment companies that we see emerging across the globe. I’ll use Klarna as an example. What’s happening is that consumers are following these choice of payments that they’ve now preferred to use.
“And with that, they’re in a community that says, so let’s say for example, a Facebook group, a lot of these companies actually have Facebook groups or they get email blasts that connects to the users. So the customers that highlights businesses that welcome Klarna and customers then decide because you accept Klarna, I’m going to now shop with you.
“So payment has actually become a marketing engine. And I think that’s super fascinating for small businesses and large retailers who like to take advantage of it. And that’s all driven by consumer preference.”
MD: Shoppertainment: Can you explain to our audience what all that entails and how retailers can leverage this strategy to really foster engagement and turn shoppers into those repeat customers to build brand loyalty?
NLR: “What I believe shoppertainment really entails is that connectivity and that engagement among consumers. And I’ve mentioned connectivity already once today. I really believe that is so important, connecting to customers.
“What shoppertainment really entails is that connectivity and that engagement among consumers.”
— Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
“But when you’re looking to build a shoppertainment moment, a shoppertainment experience and moreso a shoppertainment brand, it means that you are building on multiple touch points that keep your customers wanting to stay there.
“I’m sure you can agree with me here. We have moments of opportunity where we’re shopping and we’re totally disconnected. We detour, we get off that path to purchase and quite simply it’s because we’re not engaged, okay? We are not feeling that connectivity.
“But yet on the opposite side of that, other times we feel that connectivity that we are engaged with. Maybe it’s because I’m scrolling social media and there’s a humorous video or meme that’s branded to their particular product or company, and then I feel connected. And then I happened to go to the website and boom — I make a purchase.
“Other times, that path to purchase starts in different ways. But the whole idea of shoppertainment is to essentially, inform and engage. You want to make sure that your audience wants to be a part of what you have to say and what you have to share. So what you’re saying and sharing will lead you to shoppertainment experiences.”
MD: Coming off the largest ecommerce holiday season we’ve ever had in 2020, what predictions do you have for this season as far as what’s going to be most crucial for retailers?
NLR: “I would encourage the shoppertainment momentum to happen online and in store. If you have a digital brand only, how can you merge that into physical experiences that consumers can share online? So bring the shoppertainment to life in every capacity that you can. Make sure that your customers are excited to get engaged this holiday season.
“The other thing I would say is that you want to make sure that you have set up your payments so that customers of all generations and consumers can choose what preference they want to shop with within your brand this holiday season…
“I think the other thing too here is go ahead and look at the integrations that integrate into your platform. So for example, BigCommerce offers so many great integrations. Look at what can integrate to help you have a more robust, more easily managed holiday season from your shipping to your payments, to your packaging, to your communication to your customers, to just your data in general that you’re receiving and analyzing. I would highly encourage you now to do that, so when the holidays come, it’s that much easier to get through them and really focus on what you guys do best — which is sell your product, source your product, push that product out from a marketing perspective, and get as many consumer eyes on it as possible.
“And once again, I can’t stress this enough, I think I’ve mentioned it a couple times in so many words that old-fashioned customer service is so important, too. So, what are those connection points that customers have with your brand, and how fast are you responding to them?
“I know as a consumer myself, I’ll often go to Instagram to DM if I have an inquiry about a product, but I’m going to most likely reply to the brand and potentially purchase from the brand that responds to me faster. Because remember, that keyword earlier I said was ‘immediate’. Customers want immediate response in their shopping. So whatever that transaction destination looks like, make sure that your communication opportunities are also efficient.”
”Customers want immediate response in their shopping.”
— Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Krystin Gresham is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce where she focuses on thought leadership content. Krystin holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University. With a background in both retail and tech, Krystin enjoys staying up on the latest retail and technology trends in the ecommerce industry. When she's not crafting content, Krystin enjoys traveling with her husband and volunteering with the Junior League of Austin.