Remarkable Retail Podcast: Getting Closer to the Customer

How do you get closer to your customers?

Go to the stores!
Talk to your store associates. 
Send your corporate team to work side-by-side with store managers.

While this is not a novel concept, many retailers have lost sight of who their customers are and how to satisfy their needs. Connected data is paramount. Social listening is helpful. But, as Steve Dennis says in his book Remarkable Retail, “Empathy is the heart of a customer-centric strategy. Understanding and caring for your customers is paramount.”

Our President Sarah Engel sat down with industry icons Steve Dennis and Michael LeBlanc on the Remarkable Retail podcast, right after she finished the mainstage keynote with the remarkable, irreverent Chairman of IKEA Lars-Johan Jarnheimer. There, they spoke about the changes, struggles and opportunities within the current retail landscape in Europe and the U.S. 

What’s changed? Too much for the character count of a LinkedIn post, but the post-COVID population movement within the US has drastically impacted the larger market along with shifting regional and state demographics.

What are retailers struggling with? Amongst other aspects – like customer understanding – building a lasting brand and having the patience for long term outcomes rather than only short term performance metrics. 

What opportunities are on the horizon? AI truly does present an opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience and make their employees more efficient – but only if they’re leveraging AI for a defined purpose and outcome (merchandising efficiency, content creation, customer service).

And the biggest takeaway from the podcast – lead with kindness. Not niceness, but directness and honesty to build a transparent, collaborative, innovative workplace.

For the full episode of Remarkable Retail, you can listen here.

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