As retail goes, so goes the rest of the market. And that might be uncomfortable for some marketing professionals to admit. If you represent a company in an industry like healthcare, banking or technology, it can be hard to admit that the marketing choice to offer discounts or build a mobile app might influence, or even predict, your company’s choices. But the truth is, your audience is spending far more time interacting with retail outlets than they are interacting with you. Retailers know what your audience expects from a business interaction. And when a consumer gets used to a given benefit or feature of a retail experience, they will start to expect it from you. So here are three lessons you can learn from retail disruption.

The line between bricks and clicks has all but disappeared.

Today, consumers are everywhere: on mobile, social, and in your physical location. It’s not enough to simply have an online presence, even a robust one — the transition from the real world to the online experience has to be seamless. This goes beyond omnichannel. Consumers have become used to finding an item online, buying it on their phone during the Uber ride to the store, and then picking it up as soon as they arrive. What can you do to emulate that experience? Some hospitals, for example, are experimenting with online ER reservations — patients can visit a website or an app, reserve their time and know a doctor will be ready to see them by the time they arrive. With a few clicks, they’re able to avoid the unpleasantness of an ER waiting room and their experience will be that much more satisfying. (At least, as satisfying as an ER visit can be.)

Consumers don’t trust ads.

But that doesn’t mean you need to fire your ad agency. The retail industry knows that storytelling, not self-promotion, is what creates real connections with consumers. You can talk about your comprehensive services and your dedicated staff — but when a patient tells their story about the cardiac team that saved his life, that’s when people are going to start really listening.

Today, consumers are buying experiences not just the product.

When customers are asked to recall a purchase or transaction that stands out to them, it’s very rarely just about the product that they purchased. They remember some of the details, how they felt, how the salesperson smiled or even how they were dressed – it’s the sum of the experience that stays with them and builds affinity. Experience creates influence over where consumers spend money and time and who they give our loyalty to. According to a study by Adobe, in partnership with Forrester Research, businesses that have made a commitment to focusing on CX (consumer experience, not experiential marketing) have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.5x higher employee satisfaction, 1.9x higher average order value, 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.9x return on spend, and 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates.

Digital Transformation isn’t the answer.

To avoid healthcarepocolypse or financepocolypse, your organization doesn’t just need to digitally transform, it needs to transform from the inside out, and that starts with people. Every organization has change agents who can be found everywhere, from the intern pool to the C-suite. Bringing these diverse points-of-view to the forefront and empowering them is key, and it isn’t easy. Having a partner that sits outside your business can help by bringing expertise, infrastructure, and relationship building ideas that build stability at scale.

The bottom line.
Don’t get stuck doing what you’ve always done. It’s time to explore and expand. At blr | further, we’ve aligned our capabilities to help you meet the demands of ever-changing customer expectation, partnering with you to align internal resources, and connect the dots of brand, data, storytelling, and tech so that your brand can create an experience that surprises, delights, and creates tangible results.

 

Reach out to Brandy today to learn more about how insights from the retail sector can help your non-retail brand grow.

brandy@blrfurther.com

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