Our customers in 2012 and beyond

17 May 2012Ben Latham

Our Children should be in the boardroom of retailers today

“Our Children should be in the boardroom of retailers today” was a statement made by Andy McWilliams, head of multi-channel at Homebase today, whilst he was speaking at the eCommerce Futures Conference.

I am sure that most people would question the sentiment of the statement, however, the point Andy was making is that they are the next generation of shoppers and are already buying in a very different way to how retailers currently operate.  Retailers are struggling to keep up with the demands of the new customer and few are ahead of the curve.

Homebase place the customer at the heart of their mission for 2012 and beyond and understanding what their customers want and how they want it will deliver the success for Homebase.

Andy looks to his children to ID the current digital shopping trends and to understand how the next generation expect to shop.  He also seeks council from existing customers and has his ear very closely to the ground through a Social Engagement strategy, which delivers a report on his desk every Monday morning, informing him what customers are saying about his brand.  To that end he challenged everyone in the room to Google ‘your company name’ and add ‘complaint’ to the end and forward the results to your CEO.

Customers are more promiscuous now, making every touch point count, impulse purchases are changing and becoming a thing of the past, so what are we all doing to address that, and ensure they customers remain at heart of every decision.

Whilst retailers are still talking about multi-channel retailing Andy’s view is that’s just retail now, that doesn’t deliver you competitive advantage, it’s not innovation, it’s expectation and whilst fundamental to the success of any serious retailer it’s how you embrace the different customer interaction that’s important.

I leave you with a statement that was made by Romain Eude from my-wardrobe which summed it up brilliantly later in the conference when he said “when looking at your business today, it’s like looking at the still from the middle of a film” our job is to predict the ending.

 

Find out more about the eCommerce Futures Conference 2012

 

 

 

Ben Latham

Ben is a professional marketer with a wealth of experience developed over an extensive career in retail marketing. Ben spends a lot of time focussed on the user journey and blogs about usability and web conversion.