How do we get the ‘Tail’ back in ReTail wagging again?!
This type of question is what the team at Pivotal ask or are asked on a regular basis.
Let’s assume here for the purposes of this post that you are a retailer, with a brand and a bunch of products that are needed or wanted by the consumer. Customer engagement is the single most important way brands will differentiate themselves in today’s world – you need to overcome the expectation gap and re-orientate your whole business around your customers.
Customer expectations are increasing faster than enterprises are acting.
It’s the reason businesses have been investing more in creating customer touchpoints however these investments grow incrementally, customer expectations grow exponentially. While brands are developing roadmaps for incremental change, customers today expect immediacy. The expectation of the ideal experience is now – when buying food, homes and everything in between.
In other words, the pace of change isn’t fast enough the gap is actually getting bigger!
But what exactly is the gap and how do we fill it? The answer could be, your people.
- Do you have enough of them?
- Do they know what they are selling?
- Do they care?
- Are they engaged?
These are simple questions with deep and far reaching answers that most businesses are afraid to tackle for one simple reason… COST!
Think about it.
When was the last time you went in an Apple store and were ignored? Probably mostly never, not that they are perfect, however, their stores are busy a lot of the time with lots going on but you are guaranteed to be served by knowledgeable, enthusiastic people ready and willing to help.
In this last decade we have seen a rapid decrease in the bricks and mortar retail environment but at the same time many companies have reacted by investing in mostly technology and innovation to drive customer engagement in the store. Sure, when the new store flagship is opened, technology touchpoints are everywhere, supported by oceans of staff that are fully engaged and on a launch day high. However, when you come back a few weeks later and the hype has died down then normality kicks in. The tech is there working in the background like wallpaper but the people, the staff, the team, SO the engagers are sparse at best and not available at all at worst.
See this as not a cynical view but more of a reality check. So, what’s the answer?
Well it could be as simple as taking your store transformation or revamp budget and reduce it by 50% and instead investing what you would have spent on new fixtures and fittings and adding more people to your customer facing team Developed and rewarded accordingly.
Seems simplistic doesn’t it? But what if it’s really that simple, people just want good service. The experience of life tells us it’s a pretty dull one without people to engage with. So why not reverse engineer the current thought process of just technology and begin re-inventing Retail by investing in what has always made it an experience, the People as well as the technology!
We all have stories of when someone looked after us well or indeed did not. We rarely write a review or discuss with friends how great the experience was the last time we interacted with a screen.
Just a radical thought but worth a debate. We at Pivotal Retail Marketing are an open-minded bunch that thrive in POS/ design/ retail marketing and love what we do. We are always looking to challenge our clients and think of what we could and should do as well as what we did do.
Let us know your thoughts on this. Reach out to us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!
- Written by Kevin McCook and Emma Thorpe