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Sveinn Aki Ludviksson | 17 May 2016

To succeed in retail, put the customer in the driving seat

To succeed in retail, put the customer in the driving seat
Drawing from different survey and analyses that I have read, the key retail business trends for last year can be summarized as:
  • Ensuring a top-to-bottom customer centricity
  • Implementing new technologies and tools
  • Training the employees to increase customer engagement
And the top priorities were:
  • Focus on data insight and analysis
  • Creating a consistent and seamless customer experience
  • Digital transformation and optimization

What will retailers set as their highest business priorities for the upcoming months?

In the recent past the goal has been “to be a customer-centric company”, but today retailers need to step up and strive to become a “customer-first company”. In order to reach this goal, modern retailers are changing their structure with an emphasis on consumers’ need for instant, tailored information. In order to reach that, retailers must concentrate their attention on:

Speed of information

Gone are the days when you could delay for days before providing customers with the information or services they needed. Shoppers today are used to internet speed, and demand to receive data and services instantly.


Although capturing data will still be a big issue in the rest of 2016, the main shift will be on enhancing customer loyalty and providing a great customer experience. This means that the customer CRM and loyalty management will get more attention in the coming months.

Easy-to-use, tailored interfaces

Today’s consumers are getting more and more experienced in using digital devices in their daily life, from kiosk at airports and banks, to the omnipresent mobile devices to browse the internet and more. The high-quality experience that these setups provide today sets the standard for users, who grow to expect the same quality of service and experience everywhere. Therefore, retailers must present an at least equivalent level of simplicity and efficiency to fulfill the expectations of the consumer.

Social media

As regards reaching and supporting customers out of the store, both at home and on the go, digital and social media engagement will remain very important. Retailers must focus both on offering interesting content that responds to consumers’ needs and on keeping the channels of communication open.

Data and insights

The need to provide better customer centricity and insights will continue, so data and analytics will continue to be important, in particular to achieve…


It is not enough to provide good apps or end-user applications for capturing data, and to analyze the consumers’ needs and trends. Big data has been a buzzword for some time now; however, all the data in the world is worthless if one does not know what to do with it. Retailers need to be able to analyze the data in their hands and extract the right information from it to serve the consumer correctly. In order to put the customers in the driving seat, and guarantee them an immediate and personalized shopping experience, retailers must create a true Omni-channel system, so that all the needs of the consumer can be managed in one, consistent way.
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