The key to retail: Customer-centricity

Need help amplifying customer centricity in your marketing strategy? Read our blog on how to focus on customer centricity for retail brands.

Amanda Groth, 

16 September 2022

The series of headwinds faced by the retail industry in recent times can only be described as ‘the perfect storm.’ Anxiety around the cost-of-living crisis is building, recession fears are heightening, and the global supply-chain continues to suffer increasing disruption. With all this in mind, it’s become commonplace for marketing pundits to churn out headlines lamenting the dismal state of retail. But historically, turbulent markets force retailers to rethink, reassess, and adapt. And in the wake of the digital pivot, there is opportunity for marketers to refocus their efforts and ride out the storm. The future will belong to those who reshape their customer strategy to build resilience in a market which shows no sign of settling. It all comes down to customer centricity.

“Customer centricity demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions related to delivering products, services and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy,” according to Gartner. Customer centricity is not a ground-breaking new model, but the pandemic has accelerated digital efforts in retail, thereby redefining the level of personalisation which can be achieved across multiple touchpoints. As a result, customer expectations are at an all-time high and retailers must adopt a holistic, cross-channel approach to customer centricity to succeed in the complexities of today’s environment.

Amid inflation, consumers are taking greater consideration with who they purchase from, looking to brands who understand their challenges, communicate empathetically, and provide value that they won’t cut back on. Retail Voices revealed that “76 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalised promotions this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” To achieve complete customer centricity, customers cannot exist in a nameless pool of data points. They must be identified, understood, and treated as valued stakeholders. Intelligent data solutions, such as customer data platforms (CDPs), advanced analytics and machine learning equip brands with the data granularity and automation needed to personalise experiences across the customer journey. In times of financial hardship, companies may be wary of adding another expensive provider to their tech stack, but as consumers are forced to be selective, adopting the right solution may be the investment strategy needed to weather the storm and emerge on top at the other side.

Despite the magnitude of challenges, the retail industry holds an exciting future as data technologies empower a blend of online and in-person shopping experiences. Physical retail, as much as the headlines may want us to believe, is not dead. In fact, “Eighty two percent of customers say they want to touch and feel a product before they decide to buy it,” according to Deloitte. However, consumers now expect a completely connected experience no matter where they’re shopping. For example, with a holistic data-driven single customer view (SCV) and AI-powered understanding of behaviour, retailers can deliver a customer-centric experience across channels. By tracking omni-channel behaviour beyond transactions, retailers can deliver curated product recommendations, tailored offers and promotions to their customers in-store at the till.

Whether it’s browsing online, buying in-store, collecting an order, or purchasing through social media, customer expectations are driving the next generation of omni-channel retail. And whilst the headwinds show no sign of easing, the retail industry has always shown resilience to the greatest of challenges. It comes down to those who are willing to invest in their capabilities and deliver a holistic, customer-centric experience who will emerge stronger.

Need help amplifying customer centricity in your marketing strategy? Our Accelerate experts can help.

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