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Monday, December 13, 2010

Retail Experience Issues & Paco Underhill

Retail Experience Issues & Paco UnderhillAs you can tell from this picture, I have met Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, author of What Women Want: The Global Market Turns Female Friendly and accomplished retail experience anthropologist. This wasn't the first time, but it was the first time I had the presence of mind to ask for a photo!

Time spent with Paco Underhill is grounding. He reminds you of what matters in the retail experience and does so based on extensive observation. This most recent meeting took place in NYC in March 2010 as he discussed with Rich Relevance "Respect the Shopper. Harmonizing the Cross-Channel Experience." [White paper available for download via this link.]

In this meeting, Paco noted three levels of consumer convergence:

1. Mobile phones and the online world create a multi-channel world for consumers.

2.The economic crisis has acted as an accelerant for customers who are scrabbling to use technology tools to get more out of the money they have available, especially since the fixed costs in our lives - housing and healthcare - are out of our control and continue to increase.

3. Customers see one brand regardless of whether they seek us online or offline. This means that we must be consistent and unified regarless of the medium.

Paco Underhill brought up additional retail experience issues.
  • We live in a world designed by men, but intended for women.
  • We face intense time poverty and look for efficiencies online.
  • What is global vs. local? What drives customers globally to a brand? Is it online or is it brick-and-mortar?
Given that customers see one brand regardless of the medium through which they interact with retail, it's really important to consistently spend time walking in their shoes offline and online. At the same time, it helps to actively listen to customers - offline and in-store - to understand their world and how they use mobile and digital tools to interact with us.

Ideally, as we do this, we are keeping track of the information in some manner that tracks the range of options that customers have for interacting with us... and integrates - or harmonizes - all of those conversations.  Check out Time to Harmonize Your Cross-Channel Customer Experience for added perspective.

What's your take on this matter? How do you address these customer retail experience issues in your business? How do you track these conversations across different media?

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