August 8, 2014 By BJ Cook,
By Mark Bastin, CMO - The Mann Group

For over a decade “Black Friday” or the day after Thanksgiving, has been considered the official start of the holiday buying season. As I am writing this, that would be approximately 111 days of calm before the storm. But the word “calm” is relative as retailers are crafting strategies to maximize holiday sales and consumers, with more digital tools than ever, are discovering, reviewing and learning about products well before any holiday hours are posted. It’s a safe bet to say that the expectations of empowered consumers continue to rise on their shopping journeys which is no longer a straight line as the retail world has become fragmented into physical stores, websites, apps and game consoles. The knowledge and use of digital devices as a shopping tool is on a trajectory that resembles a hockey stick. Consumers now hold the shopping power regardless of retail size, location or platform. The ability to discover, research, compare, discuss and purchase is not just on a desktop computer but now more than ever in the back pocket or purse of today’s shopper. Although we work primarily in the specialty cycle, outdoor and running retail spaces, we know that the blueprint for retail success across the board has always been to create a great experience, provide convenience and have quality products. A retailer who loses sight of just one of these ingredients will be fighting an uphill battle. To insure a shopping journey that is smooth, connected and consistent across all channels, consider the following:
  • Does your brand look and feel the same across mobile devices and   websites?
  • Are you using tablets on the sales floor to tell brand stories, increase sales, decrease time at a fixed cash wrap POS stations and grow brand loyalty?
  • Do you have a mobile marketing strategy in place to issue promotions, incentives, personalized interactions and mobile payments?
  • Are you using social media to create a community, drive engagement, promote and tell your brand story?
I’ll end by saying that with all of this digital discussion and potential, it is imperative that a healthy balance be nurtured between the digital initiatives in a retail space and the smiling faces of retail team members. A well trained manager or sales associate can offer a customer understanding, solutions and inspiration better than any tablet.

About The Mann Group

The Mann Group is the trusted partner to hundreds of independently owned shops and some of the worlds most recognized brands in the outdoor, cycling, running and action sport industries. Their deep understanding of the retail environment and comprehensive set of custom tailored services provides clients with value and insight that impact the customer experience, employee engagement and the financial health of their business. mg logo-horiz

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