As brand manufacturers and retailers play catch-up with the disruption of the Internet across all channels, devices and customer segments, there are some basic principles of survival that each may want to consider.
1. The customer is in charge. The Internet has created a world of transparency. Product information, pricing, product reviews and social chatter have empowered the consumer. Give your customers the content and information they need to feel confident in their purchase decisions. This advice applies to both manufacturers and retailers.
2. Map the customer path to purchase. Visualizing the customer path to purchase is an easy way to not only understand the customer journey, but also identify where to invest marketing and technology resources.
3. Know your place in the value chain and play to your strengths. The customer journey starts online, but the majority of sales still occur in retail stores.
Manufacturers are responsible for having strong, relevant brands that share a belief system with consumers. Product features and benefits alone will not drive brand loyalty. Strong brand preference leads to strong sales online and in retail stores.
Retailers must play to their strengths — immediacy, experience and community. A lack of appropriate inventory or a poor shopping experience will only move more customers to e-commerce. Retailers should also focus on building communities for the sake of not only selling merchandise, but also building relationships and gathering customer feedback.
4. Capture the customer. A relationship with the customer is the center of maintaining and growing sales. Manufacturers and retailers must focus on digital strategies to capture customers and capitalize on marketing touch points. Email and PPC (pay per click) tactics are the easiest, most affordable and most effective means — and often the most underutilized.
Every potential customer who walks through a retail store or visits a retail or manufacturer website is a lost customer if his or her email and profile have not been captured.
5. Build your brand. Companies — manufacturers and retailers alike — that think a brand is a logo or a catchy slogan won’t be around for long. Companies that share a common set of beliefs with consumers and engage consumers around a belief system will win the consumer, maintain margin and grow.
6. Prepare for more disruption. With the customer in control, the rate of change and adaptation is exponential. Staying relevant requires planning and anticipation.
As brand manufacturers and retailers play catch-up with the disruption of the Internet across all channels, devices and customer segments, there are some basic principles of survival that each may want to consider.What are you doing to prepare for a rapidly changing marketplace? What are you doing to disrupt the way products are sold? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.