The theme at this year’s Global Retailing Conference was Ignite the Customer Experience, with speakers sharing the many innovative ways they have incorporated this successfully into their business model. Below are some of the insights that caught my attention:
1. Reach your customers where they are and guide them to where they can be.
Nike uses their Factory Stores for customers who don’t want to pay for a premium shoe – this helps them provide the customer with what they want now while establishing a long-term relationship. Many of those customers will become loyal to Nike and eventually pay for the higher end products.
My take: to build what your customer wants, you need to know what they want. One of the best ways to do this is to leverage social signals. Ugam uses a propriety big data platform to generate insights to know exactly what customers want.
2. Let technology do the admin stuff – Focus on customer service, not on administrative tasks - that is the message that Hointer is preaching as they devise innovative tools to automate much of the shopping experience, leaving store staff to focus on value-added customer service.
My take: This applies in the back end as well. Retailers can find partners to help them do the necessary day-to-day work so that the retailers can focus on developing great new ways to meet their customer’s needs.
3. Continuously innovate to improve was a consistent message from companies like Nike, Macy's, Bobby Brown, Westfield, Whole Foods, HomeDepot. Here is a short list of some of the innovative approaches shared:
- Westfield is capturing shopper patterns and using them to offer the best choices of brands and products
- Blue Nile can deliver rings 24 hours after receiving the order
- Wholefoods gives a $250K award to the employees who come up with the next big innovative business idea
4. Find your core message, live it, preach it. Whole Foods has found innovative ways to live and preach organic foods. For example, they provide local selection, have created transparency in how their food is sourced, focus on fair trade and promote healthy living. Whole Foods has learned that their customers want more than organic food and they have included these various motivating factors in their offering.
My take: All companies should have a clearly defined message and ensure all employees can live and preach it.
5. Find the right employee or partner. While most retailers were at the show to hire or to learn best practices, many expressed frustration at finding people who could hit the ground running. In specialty cases, such as competitor price monitoring, the best option is often to find an experienced partner to work with.
My take: Finding the right partner brings in the expertise you need right away.
For those of you who missed the GRC, hopefully the presentations will be online soon. Meanwhile, see the 2013 presentations.
Next up – IRCE 2014, June 10-14 in Chicago. Come by and visit our Ugam team at booth 575 or contact me directly if you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting.
Nina is the Director of Marketing at Ugam where she is responsible for communicating the Ugam message of managed analytics.In her free time she is an enthusiastic gardener and soccer fan.