The Retailer Spring Edition 2022


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Nicolas Hammer Co-founder and CEO Critizr

N o matter how big or beloved your brand, tapping into the power of local will deliver loyalty and growth Welcome to the newnormal – same as the old normal, but more complex. It’s been two years since the UK’s first lockdown, when life as we know it changed forever. Old news? Perhaps. But as we finally start to trust that the worst of the Covid crisis is behind us, you could be forgiven for thinking that our collective return to ‘normal’ has been just the tiniest bit overhyped. Against the background of war in Europe, unprecedented rises in fuel prices, the linked dip in consumer confidence and predicted cost of living crisis – it’s not a stretch to say retail has rarely operated in such a complex, challenging environment. And yet, there is cause for optimism. Covid, for me, highlighted two things: the resilience, energy and creativity of our retail community and the true power of local. Local connections, local relationships, local knowledge; no matter how big your brand, no matter how many stores you have and no matter how compelling your digital presence, the retailers we work with tell us that tapping into the power of local is the magic dust that drives positive change and sales growth. So how do retailers tap into this superpower? First things first: don’t startwith HQ It’s time to stop thinking of your head office as the powerhouse of your business. Instead, focus on the potent, untapped power of your local store teams. This is the point of connection, where physical and digital presences come together. Unleash the power of the warm welcome, the helpful advice, the intuitive connection, the seamless service, that can only be delivered by your frontline people.

to the golden age of retail.” ‘‘

This mindset shift is a human revolution, not a technical one. It feels like a return

Put the right tools in the right hands. The interface between your digital world, your physical store and your customer must be seamless and slick. We all know that customers live in the moment and want products immediately. Click and collect goes some way towards meeting that need but is often only available in certain stores. But with the right tool, any customer can message any store to enquire and reserve their desired item in minutes, through a couple of short, human-led interactions. As a direct customer interaction, that’s already powerful. But switched-on teams can go further. Say your customerwants to purchase a coffee table. They’ve browsed online and contacted their local store to reserve one. But the conversation reveals they’re unsure about the table selected. They send a picture of their living room, and the employee can now either confirm their choice or suggest a couple of alternatives – either way, the customer is reassured and makes a purchase. This action builds connections and provides opportunities, because any switched-on team member will also suggest (or even add in) a few gorgeous accessories to complete the look. It doesn’t have to be reactive, either. Say it’s an unseasonablywarm day in a certain part of the country. Store teams can create hyper-localised special offers on barbeque food, patio parasols or even sunscreen to push out to VIP customers. Equally, if a new rug comes into stock that would go perfectly with that coffee table, why wouldn’t you want to let your customer know? At Critizr, we call this Conversational Commerce – a way of moving beyond CX to deliver a truly personal service that unleashes the power of local to build loyalty and sales.

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