Had a bruising encounter with a retailer lately? Wonder if they had any clue about what you, the customer, really wanted from them, or if they even cared? If so, it turns out you’re not alone.
It’s a tough market out there - Ted Rubin , leading social marketing strategist and co-founder of Prevailing Path , predicts that in ten years, brands including Claire’s, Staples and Macy’s will have bitten the dust.
Sounds crazy? Think again. The trouble with these traditional brands is that they’re fixated on price and discounting. They’re not putting multi-channel e-commerce at the heart of their strategy. They don’t have the go-getter attitude that fosters innovation or the true customer focus needed in a fast-changing market.
Friction-free isn’t as easy as it looks
One issue is friction-free commerce. Making it simple to buy from you sounds so… simple. But it takes investment and time. Underlying the strategy is genuine care for customers, respecting them and letting them know they’re important to you in every single interaction at every touchpoint. If it’s painless to deal with you, that’s good. If it’s actually pleasurable, even better.
Customers are done with the lip-service
Customers want a two-way relationship – it’s got to stop being all give and no take. There’s a lot of talk out there about listening and dialogue and social media. But how do you interact meaningfully? Get close to your customers and understand the channels they use and how they use them. Then find ways to provide useful info and tools. At the same time, make sure you’re giving staff the freedom to give personalized advice and to take the initiative to do what customers really want.
The ones who think it’s all moving too fast, aren’t trying hard enough to keep up…
Fast-changing, digital markets get the blame for many commercial failures these days. Who can predict the future? Ted says you can, if you keep close to customers and keep your eyes on the horizon. When you see an opportunity or a coming change, act decisively. Be agile so you can adapt fast when something stops working. Set yourself up so you can easily try new things and roll them out or switch them off quickly, according to how your customers react.
Ted gives these and other challenges short shrift in his retail riff - Rubin on Retail . The Rockstar CMO Riff whitepaper explains the retailer-customer relationship through Ted’s eyes, as a real human love affair, and keeping the love alive takes all the ongoing empathy and effort of the real thing. But just like in a great personal relationship, for winning retailers it’s so worth the wooing.
Want to know how to get a piece of that bold approach that sets the retail winners apart? Read Ted's Rockstar CMO Riff: Rubin on Retail which gets down and dirty to sift through the tactics that are making or breaking retail brands of all kinds, from Nespresso and Amazon to JCPenney.