GfK's Global Research Director for IT, Dr. Rudi Aunkofer, offers his advice on engaging correctly with your customers.
What is important for 2014? It’s the customer of course.
There are three things you should know if you want to address the right customers and get yourself noticed.
First of all, it’s an obvious thing but it’s actually very difficult in reality: you have to find a way to be different.
Not different for one day, not different for one month – different for a very long period of time.
Whatever someone types into a browser, they receive an endless list of results, so you have to make yourself different. Different in a way that means the customer can recognise and remember you.
There is a famous book by Geoffrey Moore called Crossing the Chasm. What does this mean? It’s quite simple. You have innovators and you have early adopters, but you have to get through the chasm to reach the big markets.
We see hundreds and hundreds of new innovations, lots of situations and lots of early adopters. They all have to make it through the chasm to make it a success. So the second thing to be aware of – especially if you’re in distribution – is: ‘What are the things we should do to get into a big market?’
The third point is that you have to look in detail at which channels you’re able to work with and which channels will get your products to the right customers.
Having a reasonable price point for your products is essential, and flagship stores are something worth thinking about. They are able to create unique shopping environments.
Flagship stores were copied from other industries and have been around for some time, but we are now seeing new concepts. Last year a German computer shop called Gravis unveiled a new ‘shop-in-shop’ idea. It saw a higher visit frequency, with customers able to find an assortment of products in one place.
I predict that this particular way of attracting and engaging customers will become very popular in 2014.