You think putting a social media strategy in place is all you need to engage and understand today’s consumers? Think again. In an era of omnichannel experiences and personalization it’s simply not enough, according to Tyler Douglas, chief marketing officer at Vision Critical, a cloud-based customer intelligence platform out of Canada with clients like Chico’s and Nordstrom.
“Today’s empowered customers are shaking up nearly every industry, including retail. They shop differently than previous generations, have higher expectations of the brands they buy from and are far less loyal. Gaining and keeping their attention is an ongoing challenge,” Douglas said, noting that the data retailers typically collect from their customers is all reactive. “It’s looking at the past, what they bought and where they bought it. Rarely are we asking why.”
That’s why Vision Critical recently launched Retail Intelligence Suite, a software solution created to fix how retailers attract and retain today’s tech-savvy shoppers by becoming more consumer-centric.
“[Retailers] want to deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels, bring customer feedback into their product innovation process and increase brand loyalty,” said Kobi Ofir, chief technology officer. “We developed Retail Intelligence Suite so that retailers can address and overcome these challenges by engaging with customers in the right way and at the right time to drive better business decisions.”
So how does it work? By eschewing traditional market research techniques such as surveys and focus groups and instead creating an opt-in online community of members who will provide ongoing feedback and insight that builds over time into a rich body of knowledge. In addition, it can help evaluate specific customer behavior such as pre-purchase research and comparison shopping and validate ideas for new products, inventory planning and in-store experience.
Think of it as “smart” data that empowers retailers to treat customers as individuals and form relationships that earn loyalty in the face of increasing competition.
“On a regular basis a retailer would launch a series of engaging activities designed to address common retail challenges that would help keep those members alive and aware of their participation in the community,” Douglas said, noting that shoppers should be treated as more than transaction points. “It’s as much about giving consumers a voice to be heard as bringing a better bottom line.”