Three Key Takeaways from Dx3
Last week, we were in Toronto for Dx3, Canada’s biggest retail, marketing and tech event. Over two days, we heard from industry leaders and innovative thinkers about the future—and present—of retail. Artificial intelligence, personalization, omnichannel thinking, hiring diversity, mobile strategies, and more were part of the discussion. Here are our top three takeaways from the event!
The pace of change has never been this fast, and it will never be this slow again. — Tara Wilkinson, Director of Marketing at Best Buy Canada.
1- Personalization Needs the Right Priorities
Personalization is a business booster, but if increasing sales are the only reason for exploring it, you shouldn’t do it. Your priority should be building mutually beneficial relationships instead.
Customers are smart—they can tell when they’re being used and when their experience isn’t the brand’s top priority. If you’re only collecting data because you’ve read a report that says using first names boost sales, they’re going to catch on. Instead of building a new, more personal relationship with your customer, you’ve given them a reason to distrust you. Overcoming that distrust will be an obstacle for future marketing efforts.
Instead, personalization should be a two-way street when it comes to value. According to Corby Fine, VP of Simplii Financial, a fair value exchange creates value for customers and builds relationships. And he’s right. A customer provides you with their data; you give them an enhanced experience beyond just using their name in your emails.
2- Customer Journeys Need Tweaking
When every business, in every industry, is using every marketing trick in the book, you need to find a way to stand out. The buzz around the customer journey has been mostly around combining brick and mortar and digital for an omnichannel experience but a fully realized customer journey should be holistic.
Inspiration, not the end sale, should be your focus when crafting your customer journey. This means creating a marketing strategy that’s about customer engagement at every touchpoint that is consistent and connected in message, tone and experience.
“We tend to see online and brick and mortar as different experiences, but these two channels are actually working together,” says HeyDay Co-founder Steve Desjarlais.
When looking at an omnichannel experience, your starting point is likely about creating social media presence that goes beyond promotion material. The next step should be building on that brand expression to ensure your digital and physical stores become one fluid, interconnected channel that allows the customer to choose how and where they want to experience your brand.
3- More than Just a Store
Tying into the second point, one topic that was discussed quite a bit on the floor at Dx3 was the concept of the store and beyond.
Even as retailers are embracing omnichannel approaches, the store is still the focus of many business plans. Ecommerce is a huge part of the overall strategies but digital sales are still being watched with nail-biting anxiety. Many retailers don’t have much of a customer touchpoint outside of their store at all.
This mindset needs to evolve. After all, as Handy’s CEO Oisin Hanrahan said on stage, “the customer experience of a product never stops.” There shouldn’t be a hierarchy of importance in your business that focuses on a traditional brick-and-mortar store at the top, but rather multiple touchpoints that all give your customers a reason to interact with you.
One amazing example of how to be more than a store? Nike’s Community Hub gives us all something to work towards.