Retail is on the threshold of major changes. Technologies such as robots, pizza-delivering drones and Virtual Reality provide unprecedented opportunities to enhance the customer journey.
Nowadays consumers are continuously adjusting their behavior to an increasingly complex media landscape. In the race to meet their customers, retailers need to shape the digital experience around consumer motivations and convenience.
“We strongly believe that understanding their needs and wants through human insight is the key to the battle to win customers,”says Kars Kooistra, Former Client Director Retail at Mirabeau. “Retailers know their marketing segments, but they barely take into account their human needs".
Together with a team of marketeers, psychologists and anthropologists we bring human behavior research into our projects to ensure that we are creating a service which truly connects with consumers.
Bringing value to their life by making things easier and more convenient. The chatbot we developed for Transavia is a good illustration of how technology can be combined with human insight to develop an innovative, effective relationship with consumers.”
Retailers know their marketing segments, but they barely take into account their human needs
ContextAccording to Marco Morales, Creative Consultant at Mirabeau, human insight has everything to do with context. “We ask ourselves how people use media touchpoints and how you as a retailer can be a part of that.
For example, the way you access information will be different if you are at home, waiting for a bus or at the office. If a customer is waiting for the bus, offering information on entertainment to pass time is a welcome communication, whereas invoices may not.”
As consumers develop, digital becomes an invisible layer of interaction. Retailers must learn to use this invisible layer to communicate with their customers. “We deep-dive into the digital sources customers are using: mobile, social media or Internet of Things. That is where we transfer our message. It’s all about knowing what customers want, what their priorities are and how our product can make a difference in their lives so that it adds value.”
Two-way conversationFor a long time, retail was solely focused on how to push a product to audiences. Retailers must now realize that their communication with customers has become a two-way conversation. Morales: “Customers are able to find out everything - very quickly - about a particular product through Google Search, their friends or any online tools and channels.
Customers are no longer recipients of a message. They can talk back, share information amongst themselves and therefore have more power. This development is something that retail has not quite grasped yet. Retailers need to make the transition in approaching their customers from a captive audience to a long-term partnership.
Our philosophy of ‘Be More Human’ is founded in helping retail businesses connect with their customers and bring their relationship into the 21st Century.” Companies such as Coolblue, Bol.com and Picnic are perfect examples of businesses that understand this concept. They added something different to their customer service and found a way to make the life of the consumer more convenient.
Opportunities and innovationsBesides using human insight there are many other opportunities for retailers to get ahead in the race for customers. Creating unique instore experiences using Augmented Reality for example is a good start and Artificial Intelligence and data analytics are innovations retailers can adopt. Retailers will also need to consider new forms of partnerships.
Looking at the customer’s needs and identifying where your capabilities are as a retailer and filling the gaps with strategic partnerships will make life easier for everyone. Domino’s pizza-delivering drones are a good example of a successful partnership. By investing in the last mile delivery and customer service around consumer convenience they were able to increase profits.
As consumers develop, digital becomes an invisible layer of interaction
ChallengesA massive challenge retailers face today is the speed in which digital technology is constantly developing. The smartphone took many retailers by surprise. Soon they will face a new revolution: fragmented communication.
Morales: “Retailers are still not seeing the opportunities available through conversational interfaces, social media and the Internet of Things, but that is no excuse. The information is out there!”
In order to survive, departments within businesses must work closer together. Kooistra: “The silos that exist within companies are a big problem. We often see departments such as Marketing, Branding, Sales and Customer Services operating all by themselves when in fact they should be working together. By not sharing information with each other they are reducing efficiency and profits in the overall operation.”
InvestmentMany retailers are still busy investing in short term solutions such as online ordering. Kooistra: “Retailers need to be very aware that they are not investing in a future that is yet to come.
Drones, Virtual Reality and so on are a reality we already live in and businesses have to adapt in order to survive. At Mirabeau, we recommend that retailers look at investments in another way and benchmark what the impact is of their investment in increasing the customer experience.
They have to combine the right technology with the needs of their customers and not adopt a technology for its own sake. To increase referral opportunities, loyalty, repeat business and attract new customers in a saturated market, retailers will need to add value to the life of their customer through a unique emotional proposition that will respond to their motivation in a way that’s natural and sustainable long-term.”
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