Surviving and thriving in the retail sector is all about how well you can build strong connections with customers.Right now, the leading strategies for connecting with customers center around capitalizing on data, tapping into emotion and crafting a total retail experience. Finding ways to apply these fundamental steps to your specific enterprise and target audience determine how successful you can be in retail.

Connect with Customers through Data

Behavioral tracking and segmentation are popular, but too much reliance on algorithms and formulated solutions can be hazardous to morale and leave frontline employees distracted or feeling confused with conflicting reports. Don’t let a greater focus on analyzing data be the reason you spend more time in front of the computer screen, disengaged from the actual retail space. Use the free time leveraged from effective data as an opportunity to discover new ways to connect with customers. Properly balancing the staff’s creativity with the science of sales helps leading retailers optimize connectivity with their target audience.

Decisions should be based on performance indicators for the product, rather than data that is merely interesting or insightful. Data is meant to serve management. That being said, analytics should empower frontline employees to make wise decisions about the future, opposed to them being held captive by the data collected in the past. Consulting employees and clientele during the design and incremental implementation of new projects also helps keep everyone better aligned. Routinely filtering out the distracting reports from those with actionable insights, such as a top-ten items sold list, can also make interactions between personnel and consumers more profitable.

For any data project to be truly effective, the IoT should be embraced and contentiously refined to the benefit of the entire organization.

Properly balancing the staff's creativity with the science of sales helps leading retailers optimize connectivity with their target audience.

Connect with Customers through Emotion

According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, establishing an emotional connection with consumers actually matters more than customer satisfaction. Fulfilling customers’ deep-seeded emotional needs and understanding the fundamental motivations of their emotions maximizes customer value far more than mapping their journey, activity or behavior. A few of the common emotional motivational factors for retailers to be aware of include the need to feel secure, successful or a sense of belonging. Retailers can benefit from learning to how to leverage the hundreds of different emotional motivators driving consumers’ behavior.

For those desiring a sense of belonging, retailers can leverage the motivator by helping customers feel apart of a group or affiliated with those they aspire after or relate to. Learn how to identify the customers who may be motivated by different motivators, such as a desire to stand out from the crowd, or enjoy a sense of well-being, enjoy a sense of freedom, enjoy a sense of thrill or protect the environment. Retailer may leverage the emotional motivator of needing to feel secure by alleviating worries and assuring consumers that what they have now will still be available later on.

Craft a Total Retail Experience

Customers now expect retailers to provide a connected, seamless experience across all channels of the buying cycle, including in the store, on social media, in mobile apps and on the website online. Consumers’ increasing expectations are pressuring retailers now more than ever to provide a one-stop shop, total retail experience. Research tells us that most customers now desire personalized offerings and 24/7 access to interact. Retailers also need to understand how to link new offerings to existing products that excite the target audience. Consistent interactions across every channel and brand uniformity helps support loyalty and customer retention.

Building connections with customers hinges on the ability to gather relevant insights about how consumers are interacting with specific products and retail channels. Now go out there and start connecting with your customer

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