From the conversations at NRF 2021, Chapter One virtual event, rumors about the death of the brick and mortar store seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Which leads us to wonder, what other important stories our readers need to know about, especially when it comes to insights about enhancing the customer experience were shared during the event?
Let’s start with the revitalization of brick and mortar stores…
Despite the customers’ embrace of online shopping and the pandemic’s impact, the brick and mortar store lives on and some industry leaders are heralding its revitalization in 2021. As customers return to stores as the pandemic is brought under control once the vaccine is widely available, what will they find?
RETHINK Retail advisor, Ricardo Belmar shared stores are in a unique place to offer something new to customers and improve their retail and brand experience. “Rather than focusing on sending an endless stream of discount offers via email to those customers, they should be having them come in-store so they can see, Here’s the next latest and greatest thing … And by the way, it would work really well with those three items that are hanging in your closet right now.”
The next logical question though, is how can brands deliver this type of experience to its customers? The answer lies, of course in today’s most valuable commodity – data. At NRF 2021, Chapter One Matthew Hartwig, associate director of product management, data infrastructure at Wayfair shared how they are building a workforce that can put data to work to enhance customer experience by making every corporate employee a data analyst.
“If you’re not with the times and if you are not capable of analyzing a dataset, drawing conclusions and making a business decision on the other side, you’re not a great fit for Wayfair,” said Hartwig. This, and other data-driven insights from NRF 2021, Chapter One were covered by CIODive.
Which leaves us with one lingering question that wasn’t a big topic of discussion at NRF 2021, Chapter One, but has certainly been top of mind at Forbes – how do you turn that data into a real connection. The idea of empathy, or values-based marketing, has been top of mind for many customer experience leaders since the pandemic started. Data shows you trends and patterns, but then how do you put this to work in a way that connects with them in a fundamental way.
“Emotional connections are becoming increasingly important in a digital-first world,” shared Annette Franz, Founder and CEO of CX Journey, Inc in a recent webinar. “Brands with less mission-driven messages, or messages that don’t even align with the consumers’ values, may see a drop in sales.” Added Paige O’Neill, CMO for Sitecore: “Brands are recognizing that they need to stand for a higher purpose than just selling. They know that they need to connect with their buyers in new ways and prove that maintaining a relationship with them is worthwhile.”
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