Gone are the days when retailers followed innovative approaches to attract customers into their stores. Now retailers are rolling the dice, and adopting multiple, and unique strategies wherein they reach the customers, and make the sales happen. What has caused this 'Retail Migration', and how successful would it be?


Retail game is getting tougher. Retailers are facing significant competition. If they fail to understand and satisfy their customers they would lose them to their competitors. Discreet retailers are rewarded for their long term outlook in business, their maturity with varying consumer preferences, and for their ability to balance short and long term opportunities.


Generally retailers pass information to the customers through ads, commercials and other media. But currently communication with the customer has become immediate and viral. Customers discuss brands, and services amongst themselves, and are being influenced by what others say. Retailers need to move from their conservative location based retail approach towards customer centric strategies. They will have to figure out their target audience, and then decide the methods to reach them. Appropriate multi channel, and cross channel methods can be adopted to enable the flow of information, and motivate interaction with the customers.


Retailers need to consider some factors before they go in for customer centric approach:

  • Why customer centric approach?
  • How different is adopting customer centric approach from the traditional one?
  • How to make the change?
  • How to be more successful?


Based on their target audience, retailers can adopt customer specific strategies to approach, interact, receive feedback, and suggestions, and motivate them towards sales.


Smart Phones:


Smart phones are getting smarter than computers. Most of the consumers who do not have the time, or who do not want to search around for their shopping preferences opt for phone shopping. Smart phones are manufactured with capacitive touch screen, multimedia and computing features enabling the customers to use smart phones for their shopping purposes. Technology up gradation should be done enabling the users to browse through, search, check out daily deals, and proceed to buy the product through debit or credit card. Some retailers also facilitate SMS facility helping the users to avail details regarding information and price of products listed online.


 

Social Networking a retail game:


Customers of today have undergone a transformation from being a passive recipient of the information. They are smarter, tech savvy; know what they want, and how to research it. Internet has shrunk the world. Social media sites provide forums for customers to share their knowledge, and discuss. Retailers post their way into customers' hearts. Oregonlive.com reports a manager of a boutique saying, "What we have with our customers is a lot more personal. We actually know the customers who comment and reply to our posts."


Apart from using social networking sites for spotting out the latest fashion trends, apparel brands have gone a step further to involve customers also into designing. Brands such as Pantaloons, Van Heusen and Wills Lifestyle use networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and many more as their design centers. The users of these sites can become co-creators of fashionable apparels.


Multichannel and Cross channel retailing:


Customers offer prospective opportunities for companies that are willing to understand and respond to their rapid growing expectations. Retailers need to opt for more than one way to sell their products to them. Multi channel and cross channel marketing offers retailers to communicate to the customers, and also take their feedback in an interactive way.


Multichannel retailing offers customers more than one way of selling, for instance; a web site in addition to the normal retail store gives more opportunities to retailers to interact with the customers and promote their products. A recent market survey states that retailers who had an online presence apart from their stores had increased sales revenue with 52% of their sales made online. Similarly, retailers, who had only online sales without physical stores gained only 31% of internet sales. This clearly indicates that for more successful retailing, a retailer needs both physical and online presence.



 

Consumers who came to know about the product through one channel might choose another channel to purchase it. Retailers should realize this trend, adopt cross channel marketing, and transform their operating model into a seamless customer experience across all channels.


Retailers who adopt multiple methods to approach customers can give them a rich experience through the various stages of customer-retailer relationship. By having a customer centric approach, retailers can personalize their experience with the customers which can be ultimately used for boosting sales.


References:


1.      Oregonlive.com

2.      Economictimes.indiatimes.com