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Keeping up with the Consumers

With consumers in the drivers seat how can brands stay relevant

Having spoken to some Retailers in China, and all face similar problems. The first one is the customers move quickly from one channel to the other. They go online, offline, they compare prices, jump on a new platform, go to a new mall opening, then to the next mall opening.

So what you have to ask yourself is how do I keep up with my consumers?

I am going to step out on the limb and say you have to be TRENDY. As consumers, we are always looking out for what offers the best experience, and a little Je ne said quoi.

I think that these are some areas retailers need to look at to help them move forward.

Marketing

Relevance do you have it, It's what you're saying intersects with what shoppers want to hear?

Stephane Monsallier said it best "We have to move from product centricity to customer centricity". Products are Secondary! That's right I said it, your product comes second, let that sink in before you through a fit.

With over 350 million websites and counting out there. Browsing activity on site doesn’t compare, with the human-to-human shopping experience in a brick and mortar store. So how can brands bring a human touch to their websites?

Well you have to ask yourself

  • Is the site engaging your visitors with dialogue? 
  • Are there friction points to get visitors to buy?

Also do your consumers feel welcomed or apart of something more significant when they shop or browse through your website, believe it or not, the consumer does need and want this feeling.

Data collection

There is always speculation about what trends will come and what will be the next big thing. Retailers often want a firmer idea to base their goals for the next year and who could blame them. With the digital world, this prediction comes from analytics, and now, increasingly, physical stores can access similar types of data.

With the current technology, customers can be tracked around a store; you can see which area of the store they like, what they look at and where they don’t visit. Pairing this data with basics information about the customer – gender, if they have children, time and date of visit while doing this legitimately.

This is what customer analytics is offering to stores in a similar way to online analytics provides to the online world. New systems allow for the collection of anonymous data smartphones collected through their connection to Wi-Fi hotspots through the shop or security cam. This data on the person’s movements, time in specific locations and with the advancement of technology stores can even detect products that are moved by that person (smart shelves). But the information isn’t personalized and doesn’t contain names, addresses or other sensitive data. What it will do is give a general understanding of who is shopping in your store and the best way to reach them or tailor the in-store experience to what the majority of shoppers that come in want to see.

Personalization

Personalization can deliver a different message based on sex or age, but data is helping to drive it even further. We know that different demographics react differently to different messaging and content. By combining two types, brands can give consumers what they want. CRM/Loyalty programs have been around for decades but now the information on what shoppers purchase help to provide them with offers that are relevant to them. There’s no point in sending someone a voucher for an item they have no interest in, e.g., me receiving hiking shoes voucher...so not my thing.

The combination of information collected in-store and online can also help to create a profile of what the consumer wants. Personalization has been a running trend in retail, this gives consumers the feeling as if a brand cares about them and pays attention to what they want. As more and more stores normalize this approach to businesses, the retail shop must ensure that customers are offered it in the best quality.

Conclusion

It will all come done to the combination of it all. Trends will come and go that is for sure, but have that right mix and understanding will make the difference.

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