Move from being customer-focused to customer-obsessed

Leading retailers took to the stage to talk customers at the AICC Retail Lunch

Being customer-obsessed is different to being customer-focused, key retail CEOs agree, and businesses need to know the difference.

CEO of Scentre group, Peter Allen; group CEO of Accent Group, Daniel Agostinelli; and CEO of The Iconic, Erica Berchtold, took to the stage to discuss how to keep up with an increasingly demanding consumer at the recent Australia-Israeli Chamber of Commerce (AICC) 2019 Retail Lunch in Sydney. The panel started with an acknowledgement of how technology has created an always-on, connected customer, who is more informed than ever before, and this knowledge makes them demanding. As a result, today’s consumer knows what they want and if retailers don’t provide it they'll hear about it.

However, this also provides a great opportunity for retailers to ask if they are interesting enough to attract the time and attention of these demanding consumers by engaging, influencing and inspiring.

What does CX mean?

For Berchtold at The Iconic, customer experience (CX) is about meeting the expectations of the customer and then expanding upon them. While online used to be a bargain space, it's now about being inspired, and inspiring with fashion and sustainability trends.

“We need to shift away from what we thought customers wanted and stay ahead of the herd,” Berchtold said.“This is also in how can we help a customer navigate through a lot of choice online. We’ve developed features called 'follow the brand', which is like an Instagram feed about brands they want to follow, and we’ve developed a wishlist board, which can be shared. It is cultivating that emotional engagement with a customer and helping them to have a better experience.”

Agostinelli said Accent tries to create the right environment for customers by asking if it is really customer-obsessed and being led by that.

“We’re looking for growth at all times, which is not easy to get," he continued. "What we’re trying to do is spread wins across most of the markets in footwear by launching new brands, like Pivot and Trybe, and being innovative and making people want to buy because of the environment and the experience they are getting from us.”

As Allen pointed out, customers are judging retailers by the latest best experience they’ve had – and it may not be with your brand. Key to keeping up is data and measurement.

“Customer-obsessed is really different to customer-focused, so we are moving to being customer-obsessed by putting ourselves in the customers’ shoes and delivering what they want. Tech enables us to do that on an individual basis,” he said. “Our job is to be attractive to the customers, so we need to curate the right mix of retailers, showroom, or stores. And it’s not just physical retail, now 42 per cent of our space is experiential. People are spending more money on experiences than on stuff.”

With so much data available, it’s about using the points most useful and relevant to your business, Berchtold said.

“Figuring out what is going to be most helpful from the data is an art. Plus, I’ve never been satisfied with giving a customer what they want, I’m focused on giving them what they don’t know they want yet," he commented. "The word 'channel' doesn’t exist to a customer, they are just shopping. So it’s about being obsessed with the customer and knowing what they want.”

Agostinelli said Accent tries to collect data at every point of interaction, and has a big database, which is also important for its innovation work.

“If you are going to have a relationship with customers, you have to have all the data and understand what their needs are. The days of sending an email to every customer are gone, the days of posting a photo on Instagram are gone, you’ve got to personalise things at an individual level,” he said. “We were always obsessed with the customer and what they wanted. It’s more about the environment and teams - can we rally the troops to do what they need to with the products we provide.

“The fact is, if you are not relevant customers are going to go elsewhere. So we are working in hard to be relevant."

An example in-store is MyFit, which helps consumers to get the right shoes to fit. Agostinelli said it’s also an experience. "We are looking for what is the next theatre experience in the same way. Just three weeks ago we launched a new artist’s music single in one of our stores," he said. 

“We track how long it takes to answer a call or to answer a chat, but we don’t care where it comes from we just want that sale by providing the best experience we can.”

Ethical investing

Many brands are also recognising being ethical and sustainable is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

“We jumped ahead of the bulk of customer sentiment and got on-board with sustainability, and customers can shop via those aspects,” Berchtold said. “They can see how it’s made, using what products, and that is increasingly becoming important to consumers. We don’t want to do a lot of express shipping, as it’s more detrimental to environment, so we communicate this to customers. We are also looking at what to do with leftover product, returns and so on."

As demographics change and the individual emerges from marketing efforts, retailers are also moving away from targeting via demographics.

“The biggest challenge we have is meeting a need across age demographics, so we’re looking at them as aspiration groups, rather than demographics,” Allen said. “We understand who our customers are, but each of our centres are very different across the portfolio.”

 Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011 www.arkaybeverages.com🤪🤟

Sylvie

How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it

kenzopoker1

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress ...

Nancy Tunick

The personal digital approach that's helping Vision RT ride out the crisis

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in