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Retail

Customer Engagement Now High Priority For Grocery Retailers

Grocery retailers must focus on customer engagement at the C-Suite level if they want to drive greater profits, according to ReThink Retail.

The specialist retail recruiter argues that supermarkets must have buy-in from board members if they want to drive improved customer engagement and increase profits. The comments follow on from research by KPMG and IPSOS that found that retailers need to wean consumers off discounts in order to improve margins.

Commenting on the analysis, Kate Barron, director of ReThink Retail, said, “It’s no coincidence that retailers with a customer engagement officer or chief customer officer in the C-Suite are generally outperforming those without. Consumers are considerably savvier and need to be fully engaged and almost in love with a brand if they are to accept price increases."

This can only really happen if customer engagement is a priority, and that absolutely must be driven from the top by someone in a role solely dedicated to this purpose, she explained.

"If every consumer touch point is providing an attractive and engaging experience that people can buy into, it’s likely that most of their customers will continue to shop there, even if there are fewer discounts."

Major firms have bought into this strategy and created a dedicated role, and more organisations will need to follow their lead, Barron added.

“However, professionals in these positions need to have a real understanding of the market and what customers are looking for, and those skills aren’t necessarily easy to find. In the short term, it’s likely that firms will have to look to other sectors, such as energy and hospitality, for talent, while in the longer term, they need to focus more on developing effective internal pipelines.”

Marc Cox, founder of employee engagement consultancy The Company Spirit, agrees with the recruiter’s sentiment. “Far too often we see customer engagement being delegated down the business, but it will never become a true priority for firms unless the idea is truly lived and believed in by the board."

He continued, "By having this, it’s considerably more likely for the rest of the organisation to become more customer-focused, which can only benefit firms in the modern market.”

© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news.

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