The Retail Industry: Consumers and Education, What This Means For Manufacturers

02.04.2014 Articles , Blog

If you were to do a quick Google search for “Retail Industry Trends 2014,” a variety of articles would appear, everything ranging from spotlights in USA Today and The Washington Post to must-reads from Retail Info System News and The National Retail Federation. Great pieces providing consumers a collective rundown of trends that they should expect at retail. It is a win for consumers; an inside look at the retail industry. And while the education of retail trends is important, how does that education impact manufacturers? Especially in the current retail landscape where customers are going into stores armed with information and already sure of what they will purchase?

For manufacturers, it’s a challenge that raises the questions:

  • How should money be spent at retail to achieve optimal outcomes?
  • How can consumers’ preconceived notions about specific products or companies be changed?

Here are a few ways for manufacturers to answer these challenges:

  • Customer experience – while many relate the customer experience to convenience, there are many other factors to examine when it comes to retail experiences. For example, is the shopper being met with the intended brand story? Are the on-the-ground teams knowledgeable and personable? Is mobility being embraced? Is the consumer seeing the value in the products and services offered? By providing an exemplary customer experience, retailers and manufacturers are generating loyalty, creating repeat customers and removing reasons for consumers to shop anywhere else.
  • Omni-channel strategies – omni-channel strategies create a seamless approach to the consumer shopping experience through a multitude of channels: mobile, digital, brick-and-mortar, television, radio more. According to Marketing Land, the omni-channel consumer is shaping the future of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores alike. Expecting everything to be at his or her fingertips, the omni-channel shopper also expects the overall brand experience to be as easily accessible. Because of this, it is important that retailers and manufacturers be able to reach the consumer in real-time, with their brand voice and story, in various ways. While this may seem daunting to companies that are tied to the brick-and-mortar model, integrating omni-channel strategies can create a 360-degree experience for customers, effectively building organic interest and loyalty.
  • Brand voice and story – in a world where anything is available at the click of a button, having a solidified brand voice and story is imperative. While it may seem simple enough to share that story. It isn’t; your brand voice needs to be made tangible at retail. Can consumers experience your brand? How does it relate to their lifestyle? Is your on-the-ground team able to create that experience? As mentioned, the omni-channel consumer is looking for that experience, to be a thought-leader in the industry, retailers and manufacturers need to provide it.

With the ever-changing retail ecosystem and information available on demand, manufacturers and retailers must assert themselves by sharing their brand voice and story, creating retail experiences and investing in more ways to connect with the consumer.