Like so many other industries, the world of retail is and continues to change right before our very eyes. With mobile, digital and social media each playing a significant role marketers are faced with even more daunting challenges to stand out from the competition.
And the competition may be the fiercest in the world of retail.
That's why so many retailers and retail marketers will be descending upon the Yale Club in New York City today for the 2nd annual International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) Retail Symposium.
The main topic of discussion will be the aforementioned "How to Collaborate In The New Retail Environment."
The comprehensive day-long event, which is being presented in association with the prestigious Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona, will feature networking opportunities and high-value sessions, each tackling issues critical to retail success.
According to Marty Brochstein, Senior VP, Industry Relations & Information at LIMA, for today's retailers it's not just about moving merchandise.
"Retailers are very concerned not just with selling products in their stores, but with establishing and cementing their own brand image in the consumer's mind as a necessary and unique shopping destination," said Brochstein. "Everyone who is trying to get their products into stores have to think not just about their own brands, but how their brands fit into the retailers' own brand messaging."
In today's frenetically-paced world, the term "speed to market" takes on a whole new meaning as it no longer just applies to a new product a retailer is offering but the retailers ability to adapt and adjust to the changing marketingworld around them.
A sentiment echoed by Martha Van Gelder, Director, Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing who said "the most important facts about retailing today is the velocity of change that the industry is experiencing and the extent to which the customer is in charge. To understand that is to accept that we all must be the students of retail; as fast as trends and technology can come at us, the consumer is on to the next great thing. "
Van Gelder also raises a very important point - one still overlooked by not just retail marketers and marketers and advertisers in general, and that is the customer, or consumer, is now in charge.
Paco Underhill, who will be delivering the symposium's keynote address and author of author of "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping," believes retailers need to realize the importance of what happens when the consumer ultimately makes the decision to buy, saying "... it's only in understanding what happens at the point of sale that the manufacturer is better able to understand how to leverage what their brand is, both in execution at the point of sale, but also what the implications are in the broader world of brand management."
The bottom line is for retail marketers and ALL marketers, the need to stay abreast of the changing technologies, as previously noted, is paramount for success. Consumers are absolutely driving the bus and they decide and determine which technology channel they want to favor and use on a regular basis. It's your job as marketers to keep a constant eye on where your customers and prospects are in the life-cycle of a purchase and to act and react accordingly.
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Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions.