Is your retail business evolving with your customers? - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Is your retail business evolving with your customers?

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SOURCE McGladrey

CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Omnichannel is the often-used description for success in retail, but using it effectively truly separates the winners and losers. Retailers need to be focused on their target customers, understand what they want, when they want it, how they want to buy it and what they are willing to pay for it.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140227/CL73041)

McGladrey's The one constant in retail is change explains how retailers are realizing that a positive cross-channel experience requires a new level of engagement with customers, who now expect to access brand and products through store, Web, social media and mobile. Retailers need to display a common experience across all channels. Listening to consumers and responding to a shift in their behavior will establish a stronger bond. With technology leveling the playing the field between large and small retailers, the strong survivors will likely be those that decide against 'business as usual' and, instead, create and adapt to change.

Based on McGladrey's 2013 Consumer Products Monitor, the key investment areas for companies are information technology (80 percent), equipment and machinery (71 percent) and physical facilities and warehouses (60 percent). While companies are increasing expenditures primarily to improve profitability and productivity, there seems to be less focus on actually trying to grow their businesses. Since it is difficult to increase market share, long gone are the days of "stack'em high and let'em fly." Promotions, discounts and price cuts might generate short-term traffic and sales, but they do not generate long-standing relationships with customers.

While having loyal customers is key to survival, it is also important for retailers to know how and why customers shop. An effective loyalty program will generate repeat traffic. Your people are part of the shopping experience, too. Some studies have shown a 25- to 50-percent increase in the likelihood of a customer purchasing after interacting with a salesperson – something for retailers to remember if they are trying to achieve savings by cutting staff. McGladrey's The one constant in retail is change provides more details on ways to keep moving ahead. Remember retailers, if you are doing the same thing you did yesterday, someone has already caught up – and maybe even passed you.

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