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Retail Touchpoints: Threat or Opportunity?


As a consumer, we often hear news about dying retail brands that we no longer care anymore. For me is not just about the brand and its history that is disappearing, but those people who decided to start that brand and the employees who poured blood, sweat, and tears before they could see the brand is making an impact in the market. Also, I’d like to think about those companies that were supplying products to dying retail brands and the impact on other industries too.

Retail Touchpoints: Threat or Opportunity?
Touchpoints offer retailers the opportunity to listen and better understand consumer's needs

In this new digital world, people may not care as much about buying Heinz ketchup or Lux soap if they know they can get better-quality goods at a cheaper price with a brand that doesn’t carry the same cachet but offers less chemically processed ingredients. It’s not wrong to say that brands are becoming irrelevant and old retailers are rethinking the way consumers connect with the items they purchase.

In this dynamic retail marketplace where customers are opting for value over name brands, private-label or no brand initiatives also seem to be a good move. Customers will try this private label, like it enough to keep buying it and shift their preference away from name brands to brandless itself. E-commerce giant Amazon has been successful with its private labels such as AmazonBasic battery line as the consumers find it cheaper than branded batteries and perform just as well.

The opportunity to sell across new channels such as social networking and online marketplaces has seen an explosion of consumer touchpoints. These new channels have created a new challenge for retailers and brands who want to sell across new markets as they do not own most of the new media channels or control the messages that proliferate through them. As a result, these retailers need to understand not only what is currently available or coming down the pipeline, but also which touchpoints offer the best opportunity to influence consumer perceptions about their brands.

Technology and consumer’s behaviour are at a major transition point. Shoppers interact with retail brands across all the available touchpoints. Traditional loyalty and reward programs are no longer effective and not able to attract, inspire, and retain (AIR) shoppers. Leading retailers use in-store technologies help bridge the gap between shoppers and loyal customers. The development of new and engaging touchpoint opportunities is accelerated by technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), Internet of Things (IoT), and cognitive computing.

The acceleration of the number and types of touchpoints has been catalyzed by anywhere anytime access to the information, through smartphones and turned customers into moving targets. The key questions for the majority of retail brands are how many channels are consumers currently using? Who is managing those channels? How should we capture consumer’s offline and online data? Do we know where they shop and how they shop?

Touchpoints offer retailers the opportunity to listen and better understand consumer’s needs. And those retailers who know their customers and apply what they know about their customers’ preferences into their marketing and customer engagement strategy are finding a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Also, if managed well, this strategy offers the opportunity to reduce the cost of acquiring, serving and maintaining customer relationships. And perhaps saving your retail brand.