In this current digital age, retailer’s need to be smarter, more agile and more customer focussed. Consumers have realised that they now have a lot more control in the retail market and producers must adapt to new ways of engaging their customers if they wish to sell their products.

With so many different substitutes for products, consumers are now becoming more concerned about experiences and emotional connections to products, rather than the product itself.

An example of this is the introduction of Nike iD stores throughout America. These stores allow shoppers to customize and create their own personalised sneaker. With walls of shoe laces and textured fabrics, Nike’s aim is for each customer to have a unique experience in the purchase of their product.

At the other end of the spectrum  is The Warehouse in New Zealand where customer experience leaves a lot to be desired although the retailer does offer low prices.

New Zealand retailers have only just started to pick up on the need to trigger customer’s emotions, in order to execute a sale. KFC’s release of the Double-Down and the KFC pie were portrayed as something of a secret. A minimal amount was spent on advertising, with most advertising being done through social networking and word of mouth. This led to customers feeling as though they needed to purchase the products in order to be cool and to join in the discussions. Thus KFC tapped into customer’s emotions.

Social networking and the internet have also played a large role in the changing face of retail. The internet provides customers with access to many overseas retailers at the click of a mouse. It allows them to research and become more knowledgeable and savvy about products before they make a purchase.

This increases the choice available for consumers and if retailers don’t embrace the changing market they will be left on the shelf.

Victoria Harris