As a customer, have you shopped with the same brands your whole life? Probably not, but whether that’s due to changing tastes or shifting brand values, what might have happened if your favourite shop as a child had evolved with your own tastes?
It’s impossible to go back in time, but with advanced data analytics collected when the customer is shopping online – or digital touchpoints when customers are in-store – retailers now have the ability to understand exactly who their customer base is.
Renowned for its shocking adverts in the 90s, United Colors of Benetton is a good example of a brand that underwent a ‘mature evolution’ in the mid-2010s.
But how can brands evolve with their customers?
In this digital age, retailers can be like detectives – gathering data from digital touchpoints, and from customers’ interactions in store, to better understand customers than they know themselves. Once the data is collated, customers can be grouped into personas. To get these personas right, retailers need to know the target audience’s characteristics, preferences, and behaviours, and can then tailor marketing strategies and products effectively. To do this, a combination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis through sensors is crucial.
Data analysis is, essentially, akin to mind-reading. It helps brands understand when shoppers are excited about a new trend or bored with the old ones. Consumer tastes change and evolve constantly. Thus, with the help of this data-driven approach, brands can adjust their strategy and shopping style to match the changes.
It’s like having a personal shopper without leaving the sofa.
Consistent customer experiences
Staying in tune with your target customers empowers you to remain relevant and appealing. By keeping an ear to the ground and understanding evolving preferences, brands can adapt their offerings to meet changing needs.
Achieving this seamless connection requires creating a consistent, linear, coherent customer experience. When customers step into the shop, they want to feel captivated and engaged. By designing spaces that resonate with their interests and desires, brands can create an emotional and personal experience they won’t forget. Interactivity is another game-changer. Customers love to be part of the action, not just passive spectators.
Offering interactive experiences allows them to engage with your brand on a deeper level. Window displays are like your brand’s eyes to the world. They provide the first glimpse of what you have to offer. By using creative and eye-catching displays, retailers can draw customers in and make a strong first impression. Other options include interactive touchpoints and personalised recommendations.
The beauty of brands changing with customers is that both can evolve together. By staying agile and responsive to their needs, trust and loyalty will follow. It keeps brands relevant, helps them to stand out from the crowd, and fosters a strong connection with the target audience.
Learn from your role models
Though the goal is to change with your customers, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something to learn from brands that prefer to stick with the same customer base. When a brand caters to a specific audience, it builds a strong bond with those customers.
But staying static doesn’t mean becoming stagnant. Successful brands, regardless of their audience, continue to evolve and adapt to meet their audience’s changing needs.
So, how can evolving retailers learn from this? The best way to meet your customers’ needs is to know them inside out. Changing with your customer base means understanding exactly who they are and what they prefer. If brands can’t get this right, then it’s game over.
The bottom line
Whether staying static and targeting the same audience, or adapting with target customers, both approaches offer unique advantages in the dynamic retail landscape. Brands that focus on their niche audience can cultivate strong brand loyalty, expertise, and capitalise on social marketing. On the other hand, those that embrace change and tailor experiences to evolving customer needs can remain relevant and create immersive, engaging shopping environments.
Ultimately, the key to success lies in understanding the strengths of each strategy and finding the perfect balance that aligns with the brand’s vision and customer preferences. Customer preferences are crucial, and using data analytics and technology is the best way to ensure excellent customer experiences.
By Daniel Caravaggi, M-Cube Group Video Content Director