The year ahead – 2015!

ziera 2What should we expect in terms of how customers purchase and react in 2015? In our view consolidation of new technologies, purchase methods and delivery or collection of goods is well underway, and will continue at speed. New technologies are more readily acceptable and retailers are recognising the need to upskill and move with the changing times. Consumers now hold all the cards and are more engaged with brands than ever before. A new mind set is required whereby a culture that is truly customer-centric is needed. Top brands are now looking at the customer experience with a new sense of urgency. Bricks and mortar will remain the jewel in the crown with some serious integration taking place around the online space, combined with ‘click & collect’ and a smooth delivery and return process. These four elements are the ‘bed rocks’ of future retail trading. The fifth element is measuring and communicating the customer experience. Customer surveys are more important than ever before, however they need to be short and relevant, also enabling two way communication to take place whenever possible.  This is where new ideas come from, understanding problems and getting closer to your customers takes place. The days of siloed and long surveys with simple scores are over. Transactional and demographic information plus surveys by third parties needs to be captured and managed in a central repository, enabling the channelling of actionable insights to the right people in the organisation to take place. Sophisticated text analytics is applied to the data to gain further insights, enabling the organisation to make informed decisions about where and how to grow the business. Customers become true partners in evolving the enterprise and employees more empowered and loyal. We look forward to embracing this new environment with our partners and customers and wish you the very best for a successful and profitable trading year ahead. Richard J Potton Managing Director, HOED & VIGIL NZ /