#ForzaRetail: Discovery of a known world

Last week I’ve joined the annual conference Forza Retail for Belgian retailers in Antwerp. For me, retail is an unknown world and I was ready to grasp new knowledge and grow my research expertise. After a full day of interesting and less interesting speeches, it was clear: retail is a new sector, research in retail is a known world. At the start of the congress day, Chairman Ginno Van Ossel was looking for a new path to purchase. Promotional communication is not death, but there’s a desperate need for positional communication….
Ultimately, Relationship Marketing should be the end-goal. Only then, consumers can be connected to a brand in general, a retailer (either as a ‘branded house’ or a ‘house of brands’) in particular. Bring the consumer in the boardroom. Check.
Pieter Goiris, CEO of Boondoggle, translates this vision into communication. For him, retail is the management of a two-way relationship in which all communication channels have to fit into each other to get across the message. A key element in that is going beyond creativeness; that is developing campaign based on a ‘smart idea’: a marketing campaign should trigger WOM. In the end, every customer touchpoint is a potential conversation starter. Measure activation KPI’s of communication. Check.

The influence of point-of-sales communication and the in-store shopping experience remain thus very important. It’s wisely to use those elements in a cross-channel retailing approach. Rob Weiss, introduces ‘Het Nieuwe Winkelen’ as a concrete pilot study in which offline, online and mobile services maximize the impact of the retailer. RQ-codes are the new leaflets. Mobile research to connect with current needs. Check.
Els Van Keymeulen, HR Manager at TORFS, acknowledges the importance of in-store experience. At TORFS, sales men and women are the brand’s first and most powerful advocates. Ultimately, the sales process breaths out a sense of happiness and authenticity that influences WOM among customers positively. To reach that goal, the consumer brand and the employer brand should be mirror images of each other. Taking into account social media, we know “the best is yet to come”. CRUSH and self-brand identification as drivers of brand conversations in the short run, brand leverage in the long run. Check. Conversation Management. Check.
Retail might be a new sector for me, thinking of our research techniques and methods I know we have the tools at InSites to provide deep insights and actionable recommendations.

Pictures by Brecht Schoeters (@aktinix on Twitter). Check out tweets about the conference here.

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