As a business, it is no longer enough to simply acknowledge customer frustrations or worries. Today’s consumer is apt to recognize when brands are making mere reputational moves and consciously seek out companies that they believe are truly dedicated to doing what is right. As a result, innovative brands and retailers have the opportunity to connect with these consumers by re-evaluating and reimagining their internal practices and policies, and authentically infusing empathy into various facets of store operations.
In two parts, this research paper illuminates the multifaceted approaches brands and retailers are taking to empathetically interact with consumers, employees, and the communities they are a part of. It explores the ways in which it is imperative that businesses treat consumers and employees as individuals with nuanced needs, expectations, and backgrounds. It examines how retailers can increase safety and convenience by allowing access to key information, updating purchase options, minimizing wait times. Best practices for authentically empowering individuals and communities come to light, revealing key tools for deepening important relationships as well as sparking new ones.
Published November 2020
Pausing previously scheduled content and programming, brands are instead redirecting time and budgets toward collaborative community-building projects. As consumers take note of the companies providing measurable social impact, purpose-led brands will be top of mind post-pandemic.Driving Connection Through Values
In order to build a stronger emotional connection with consumers, brands are providing customers with tools and platforms to shape their values and incorporate them into daily life.Real Time Inventory
Advancing the merchandising process by implementing next-gen technologies that allow for accurate real-time inventory, staffing, distribution and delivery adjustments as well as consumer behavior data to stock the right product at the right place and time. This includes leveraging purchase and in-store behavioral data to make quick pivots or anticipate shifts and be the first to market with new products that meet emerging needs.Circular Economy
Developing new appliances that directly replenish and deliver products to the consumer or letting customers bring reusable containers to purchase and refill products, eliminating the need for single-use packaging. This also encompasses creating a responsible supply chain with tools that provide monitoring and increase protection for workers, ensuring an ethical journey from source to store.Liberated Spaces
Today’s on-the-go consumers expect their in-store transactions to be as frictionless as their online ones. By automating processes and transactions through technology, such as biometrics or connected apps, retailers are shrinking their points of sale, freeing up space within the physical store that can be utilized for other purposes and allowing retailers to put more resources into elevating the in-store customer experience.