Retailing has seen great change over the last decade. From the customer standpoint, the online novelty is now the norm, with loyalty to certain stores overwhelmed by the ease of shopping around online.
The perspective from the retailer, whether online or in bricks and mortar stores, has a rather more old-fashioned conundrum – stickiness. The battle for attracting new customers has become a science, and a very expensive one. How does the retailer get customers to stick to its site, or come to its stores, and how can it manage digital technology to improve traction with its customers?
Above all, technology needs to enhance confidence in the retailer – to encourage the discerning but time-poor customer to adopt and support a brand or ethos of a specific retailer. PwC’s Total Retail Review 2014 sets out consumer expectations in this high-tech age.
The technology needs to be both useful to deliver the customer something that will make them stay and to disrupt their mindset or purpose to add a further factor or purchase into their objectives. This goes beyond technological developments, such as in store music from such specialists as Mood Media to create an appropriate ambience. The glue that encourages this commitment has a number of common strands:
The technology needs to be focused not on the retailer’s targets but instead on the customer’s needs. It must be demonstrably useful in addressing these.
Connectivity is a vital element in gaining tractions, as it must follow the shopper from the store and create further opportunities for engagement with them.
Disrupting the customer’s mindset or original purpose creates value-added opportunities to offer useful alternatives or upsell.
The technology must be easy to access and use, and represent added value for the customer.
If it doesn’t work, the objective will not be achieved. The technology must be robust to ensure the experience is enhanced and seamless.
The holy grail of data collection is to gain greater knowledge of customer requirements and use this to build a two-way relationship that will increase traction and brand loyalty, building a deep understanding of the customer’s wants, needs and potential susceptibility for upselling. A spiral of feedback and improved relationships will enhance both your bottom line and the solidity of regular business.