Consumer Retail Touchpoints
Consumers have used the technology available to them to increase the ways they can shop and purchase retail products and this increase has dramatically increased the number of consumer touchpoints in the retail marketplace. This can be disconcerting to the planning and forecasting for retailers because it requires an awareness and planning to support the consumer demands. This is a new practice for retailers and now retailers must take the time and the effort to understand, react and support these changing demands. There is a huge benefit to supporting and encouraging increased touchpoints; increased touches with the consumer provides an opportunity to increase the personal relationship with the consumers and this new omni market requires retailers to develop and increase the relationship with consumers to survive.
A strategy for support of the touchpoints begins with first a focus on collaboration and engagement of the consumer. The touchpoints into the retail marketplace will increase and develop through the collaboration and engagement with consumers and as a result, these touchpoints will increase the reasons for consumers to return over and over to the retailer creating a habit. This habit is the objective for retailers and the reason for the number of touchpoints because the more times the consumer returns and the more opportunities, or touchpoints, the consumer can use to interact with the retailer the greater the sales for the retailer. It is now the retailers opportunity to understand and develop these touchpoints through collaboration and engagement of the consumers.
Retailers have been developing touchpoints over the years, such as email distributions and subscriptions and rewards programs, it is time now to take it up a notch and tie things together through location based engagement with consumers. Location based activities are available from many apps and services, for instance when I travel Google provides me with maps of every airport when I land. Google has extended this to maps and links to retailer websites at malls as well and some retailers have added location awareness to their mobile apps to allow them to provide sales alerts.
These changes though don’t just happen, they require commitment to the process and increased collaboration and engagement not only with consumers but also with the entire extended supply chain partners. This extended engagement allows retailers to truly support the growing touchpoints demanded by consumers and as a result will also allow retailers to improve and increase the consumer relationships to encourage consumer returns to this extended market place. This is the holy grail of retail; the encouragement of consumers to return over and over again.
The technology available to consumers now provides the ability to quickly and easily connect to any retailer to shop from any location and any time. This technology allows consumers to shop at multiple retailers for the same product simultaneously. In the past, retailers have attempted to stop these practices, especially in the brick and mortar environment, and these have always backfired. This leads now to the need for retailers to accept and encourage the touchpoints to give them an opportunity to develop the consumer relationship and provide them with a reason to return and complete the purchase. Retail is about relationships and these touchpoints provide a means to develop the relationship and the reason for consumers to return over and over.