Will The Customer Be King In 2023?

December 5, 2013 • Fashion Blog, Retail Detail


It is said that change is constant, and we’ve all seen a lot of that especially in the past few years, but looking ahead 10 years from now, could there be a dramatic wholesale revolution? Fundamentally for retailers, customers have changed more in the past three years than in the past 30, and the pace of change is poised to accelerate in the coming decade.

In the retail industry change is paramount. Changing fashions and shopper preferences drive decision-making around product assortments, merchandising and store design. Personnel strategies, marketing campaigns, supply chains and information systems are also in a constant state of change as retailers understand that success in the industry is an endless journey rather than a destination.

The expectations of our 21st-century customers are evolving and testing retailers’ capabilities and flexibility for change. The ultimate question is, are retailers truly able to fulfill consumers’ needs and provide them with seamless customer service no matter what platform. One of the main drawbacks is that most retailers still operate 20th-century organizations that are designed to pivot around the brand, product, or even technology itself, instead of revolving around the most important element, the customer. Quite often retailer’s merchandising teams are still divided by channel. Their marketing teams are similarly divided and in the process create different views of the same customer, while their IT teams think first in terms of risk management, rather than providing their expertise to impact the customer experience.

Getting back to the initial question of whether the customer will be King in 2023, there’s several imperative components that must be addressed and implemented.  The most important of them all is the customer comes first. The heart of a company’s decisions should be centered around their core customers. Being customer-led is a must for retailers. The overall customer experience is the deciding factor in customer and brand loyalty. Building great relationships with customers, and providing them with unforgettable customer experiences will definitely keep them coming back. At one point of time it was simply about just providing a great product, but today customers want to be engaged and feel like their important and a necessary to a retailer. No one wants to continue spending their money in an establishment where their looked at as just another sale. From the initial sales rep greeting, store ambience, product to merchandise and fitting room assistance, as a customer you want to feel like you were efficiently accommodated.

Revolution in retail won’t happen overnight. Let’s face it, retailers still need to make money and grow their businesses in order to successfully reach 2023. Bridge strategies are significant in getting retailers on board, and will cause them to think now about the future, and continue to weigh all short term future strategies against long term-2023 future strategies. Furthermore, bridge strategies pose retailers with the immediate question of what would be the first and second executive changes needed to be made if i were starting this journey? Quite honestly it’s going to take some work, a joint effort, and thorough commencing and brainstorming of all relevant departments including, marketing, merchandising, IT, human resources and management, to identify, cultivate and develop a “Customer First” strategy.  This move will importantly satisfy the customer, but ultimately achieve the retailer’s initial goal to achieve financial gain, by providing an efficient and gratifying customer experience and environment. Hopefully all retailers will jump on board and make the customer King!

-Keyera Simmons

Source: Retailing Today

Photo: Jenny Packham Jewel Tiara available at shopbop

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