In the latest in our series of reports around digital innovation within the retail industry, we focus on how consumer habits and preferences are evolving – and the opportunities this presents for retailers.

Connected Retail means creating a seamless 360 connection between all points of the customer experience, both physically and digitally. Within this framework, a retailer’s brand is only as strong as the experience it creates for its customers – and knowing who those customers are is key to executing this successfully.

Insights from Connected Retail: Connecting with tomorrow’s customer… now show that tomorrow’s customer will respond to brands that display a nuanced understanding of their needs and habits by creating engaging and personalised experiences.

Focussing on the customer of tomorrow means brands are better equipped to develop the type of experience they seek and importantly, when they seek it. A meaningful relationship requires a level of trust, which can be lost if engagement is pushed beyond the limits of what is considered respectful. Collecting and acting upon data is one thing, but there must be an emotional consideration behind the engagement too in order to maintain true relevance.

To incorporate change, brands need to treat self-disruption as necessary, rather than optional. Use customers as an ally by viewing your business through their eyes in order to refine the relevance of your value proposition. And be sure to look beyond digitisation as just technological enhancement. It is a significant opportunity to simplify systems, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

What does the customer of tomorrow look like?

It’s not all about the Millennials

With so much focus currently on the growth of the Millennial and Gen X sectors, their buying power and their preference for digital channels, it’s easy to skew targeting in one direction. Our research shows that baby boomers are quickly catching up: they’re becoming more digitally savvy and will grow to resemble digital natives very soon. Yet, more than 90% of over-60s think that Australian companies are not listening to them.

They like to experiment

Technology is evolving rapidly and so is today’s customer. With frequent exposure to innovation, tomorrow’s customer is open to new ideas – so seize the opportunity to discover how your brand can play a new role in their lives.

Their behaviour is dynamic

Traditional marketing segments are becoming less applicable as customers have greater access to information that leads them to broaden their interests and change routine more frequently. This means that retailers need to leverage insight analytics in order to understand the latest customer behaviour. Enabled by wearable devices and big data, customers will come to expect brands to anticipate what they want before even they know, themselves

They reward brands that can engage with them

Offering a purely functional service will not be enough to capture the interest or the loyalty of tomorrow’s customer. They seek to be engaged by brands that personalise their experience and can demonstrate a purpose beyond just selling products.

They make snappy decisions – and you can help them

‘Always on’ and connected, tomorrow’s customer has instant access to choice and information – so they make more decisions and at a faster rate than ever. When it comes to helping them in a purchasing decision, providing personalisation and information quickly will go a long way.

By understanding what drives the customer of tomorrow, retailers can begin to develop the technology and capabilities that will be essential in delivering an extraordinary experience. I cover this in my next article, Capabilities to keep pace with tomorrow’s customer.

Learn more about how to respond to tomorrow’s customer today by downloading a free copy of Connected Retail: Connecting with tomorrow’s customer… now



John Riccio

John is a former partner at PwC Australia and the founder of Digital Pulse.

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