by Steven Cook

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In a highly competitive retail world, staying on top of the competition has become an exhausting effort. Keeping your customer satisfied is a more pressing issue now than ever before.

It’s hard to believe, but many retailers forget mobile devices are becoming one of the largest retail outlets in the world. Likewise, the demands that customer experience merge the physical with the digital space — not as an add-on but rather as a seamless world — are not being addressed.

I’ve noticed countless examples of how online retailers look to entice their customer with special services that seem to be personalized, but many are still coming up short. As the challenges in the retail world mount, and the world is landing on every street corner, there are a few things retailers must take into consideration.

Lately some of us at Edenspiekermann have conducted a bit of field research, interviewing industry experts and customers. As a result, we’ve put together three important components for retail brands that–if mixed accordingly–can help bring your business forward. Naturally, these ideas should be explored in-depth to see which combinations work best for your customers and brand.

3 Pillars for Retail Brands

Personal content

Customers want tailored content that’s smart and authentic, not just a great algorithm that suggests what they should buy. To put it simply: people want to be inspired, not just sold to. The knowledge that your brand can gain from the streets might surprise you and your customers, so truly listen to and empathize with them — it’s the road to personalization. The more your customers feel part of the conversation and the more fresh ideas that flow, the more they’ll share amongst their friends.

Use seasonal, lifestyle topics or influencers to educate your customers and make them feel good about themselves. Wrapping this storyline throughout all your channels and touch-points can make your brand the center of the conversation.

More than shopping

Retail brands need to draw the ideal experiential journey, employing both experts and technology to deliver unique and memorable shopping experiences. In essence, a shop needs to be an immersive and experiential advertisement for the products it represents. For bricks-and-mortar stores, don’t overwhelm your customers with demanding or disconnected technology that doesn’t bring real value or aid them in their shopping. Useless tech can just be annoying.

It’s important to view your “sales funnel” as a storyline, and always assume that someone will jump in at an unexpected point. This shouldn’t be a mechanical process, but a story that’s interesting — no matter where you might experience it.

Chances to talk

Attention to sales experience can deliver more repeated sales. Our research shows that people want to get answers quickly, especially when shopping online. Enable close relationships, and go beyond call centers or email — there are now opportunities to consult your customer in “real time”.

These customer service layers can lead to unexpected insights for your audience as well. The ability to understand what kind of customers visit your online shop, for example, and what they are doing, can trigger repeated sales. Talking to your customers and learning from them as they shop can only be beneficial to your business.

But there’s one last thing, too…

The retail segment is moving fast, and this counts for all retailers. Competition is getting tougher and customers are changing how they approach purchasing. There’s more to it than just these three points. Retailers must find their purpose and tell a story from the heart; it creates emotional resonance that’s hard to copy.

Brands need to be on top of every touchpoint, and this requires a sophisticated, well-coordinated effort that involves all stakeholders. Go beyond sales and find the sweet spot that will make your customers share and follow your brand.

This article was originally published at www.edenspiekermann.com in November 2015, but we think it’s still pretty relevant today. Head to our website to find out more about who we are, what we do, and how we work.

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Hello. We are Edenspiekermann, an independent, global design agency. We solve business problems with design.

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