How exactly does a retailer today reach their target audience and motivate these customers to spend money with them? Is it a well thought out strategy or just doing the same thing with a few extra twists like Facebook and Twitter and hope it all works out? According to another Garter study in 2012, retailers projected spend for 2013 was 10.6% of their total revenue on marketing operations. That is a lot of money and for what? Traditional advertising is very hard to measure ROI and 10.6%? Yikes! I would like to suggest as others have astutely pointed out that the world of the customer is upon us and people want to be treated special and feel they are getting a deal of some kind. I realize many retailers are diverting traditional marketing budgets to this thing called digital marketing in their quest to keep up, but what is digital marketing anyway? Is that marketing on social networks, large video monitors in the store, email campaigns, and mobile coupons? What does that do to drive retention and spend? I think there is a balance needed with a thoughtful understanding of exactly how you win and keep customers in this dizzying world of ever advancing technology.
Let’s start with people, which would be the employees and the customers. Technology, specifically real-time information about your customers and your inventory is absolute. But are we putting too much into “digital” and not enough into the “human factor”. I also believe as others that customer service is becoming the new marketing. Spending more of the massive 10.6% on ensuring you know your customers while treating them special will create the marketing buzz much better than the Sunday paper or an email campaign.
I believe there is a movement that is growing like a tsunami towards serving and creating a great experience for the customer. You can call it omni-channel or whatever the buzzword is next week, but it is all about treating your customer special and making them feel like they just won first prize! This is customer-centric retailing. What are you doing?