Continually Chasing Shoppers Has Retailers Needing to Go Beyond

Ray Hartjen
Ray Hartjen
Director, Marketing

RetailNext is proudly introducing RetailNext Beyond, a one-day summit of the industry’s most forward-thinking retailers, coming to two North American cities in April.

You’ve heard it mentioned on this blog by a variety of contributors: Shoppers have changed the way they shop.

It’s an indisputable fact. Shoppers have access to all the product information they can possibly consume (including peer reviews), the convenience of online and mobile shopping, and a nearly unlimited number of global alternatives in which to buy goods, particularly commoditized goods.

Retail has responded, maybe not completely in kind, but the industry has responded. It’s going through a rather large “reset,” and as the old goes out, the new comes in. However, as difficult as it is for the industry to accept, retail still lags behind on the path being blazed by its customers. Retailers are struggling to catch up with where shoppers are today, and by the time they do get there, well, shoppers will likely be another one, two or more steps ahead.

Shoppers now enjoy a connected journey when they shop, and they expect a seamless navigation between a brand’s digital and physical touchpoints. And, if shoppers’ expectations aren’t met, particularly those of younger “digital-first” shopper generations, they quickly move on to the next brand to seek fulfillment and satisfaction.

It’s not that shoppers aren’t loyal anymore. It’s that shoppers are looking for retailers willing to earn their loyalty with the shopping experiences they desire, deserve and expect.

So, where are shoppers and retailers headed, and how can the retail industry ensure their two paths converge and continue as one? It sure would be cool if there was one magic elixir – we’d all jump on it like a duck on a June bug. But, other than a requirement to be shopper-centric in each and every phase and function of the retailing enterprise, there is no “one answer.”

But, in the place of a singular prescriptive remedy, there is an intense desire, as well as an abundancy of great conversation and ideation. It’s because of those three elements that RetailNext is proudly introducing RetailNext Beyond, a one-day summit of the industry’s most forward-thinking retailers, coming to two North American cities in April.

Spawned from RetailNext’s annual Executive Forum, RetailNext Beyond promises to bring together store operations managers, sales associates, retail marketers, and other retail professionals to discuss, strategize and action plan around optimizing the delivered shopper experience. RetailNext Beyond isn’t designed as an abstract thought leadership event for those seated in the C-suite at some ivory tower headquarters. Rather, RetailNext Beyond is a concrete and conclusive program tailored to those who roll up their sleeves and daily walk the store floor – both the literal physical store and the figurative digital store – exceeding the expectations of shoppers and delivering that magical, “wow” retail experience.

I invite you to join and contribute to the conversations that will be facilitated in San Francisco (April 2) and New York (April 10). Together, we are going to explore and discover how each of us can empower retailers at every level of the enterprise by going beyond.

Join the #retail, #ConnectedJourney and #SmartStore conversations on Twitter at @RayHartjen and @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.

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