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The Importance of Customization for Canadian Retailers When Selling to Buyers

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By Angelina Lawton, Founder and CEO, Sportsdigita

Retail is a constantly evolving business. Increasing margins, improving retention, and connecting with new markets are ever-present challenges. As consumers become more savvy and discover that they have more choices than ever, retailers must examine their practices to stay relevant and credible.

Leading retailers should embrace the service aspects of the industry and ask the question: How can we help you? By asking more questions about customers, learning their needs and genuinely investing in how best to meet them, you’re more likely to strike a chord that resonates in the short and long terms.

“Retail is a customer business,” says Nordstrom CEO, Erik Nordstrom. “You’re trying to take care of the customer — solve something for the customer. And there’s no way to learn that in the classroom or in the corner office, or away from the customer. You’ve got to be in front of the customer.”

Today, that translates to establishing a meaningful digital presence. The web is where consumers interact most often with brands. Being in front of the customer is only the start for retailers. Because digital marketing technology has evolved to enable brands to create curated customer experiences with relative ease and affordability, customization has become the rule rather than exception. Knowing your audience is no longer just a tactic, your audience now expects it.

In fact, 74 percent of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized, according to data from Instapage. A whopping 91 percent of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them, says Accenture. And if you’ve already adopted customization, consider this: You may not be doing enough. According to Retail Touchpoints, 36 percent of consumers say retailers need to do even more to offer personalized experiences.

To stand out in an industry with saturated marketing messaging, customization is king. According to the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, sellers can cut through the noise with customization curated through knowledge, adaptability, and trust. Thinking through each of these factors can help you build a stronger bond with your customers.

Knowledge: Retailers should do everything possible to make certain their salespeople not only have complete information about their products and industry, but also know how to most effectively present themselves and their expertise.

Adaptability: A salesperson’s ability to ask and answer questions, to provide insightful knowledge, and to collaborate and build a long-lasting working relationship often determines whether a customer connection is made.

Trust: Engaging with customers — both existing and prospective — in a genuine way that shows you are listening is the difference between building brand loyalty and trust and becoming just another brand in the marketplace.

Listening, providing insight, and responding to a customer’s needs are all important aspects of customization. Retailers can prepare by asking themselves a few key questions:

What challenges exist for retailers in executing a virtual selling strategy?

To meet objectives for successful sales presentations, organizations face the additional challenges of training diverse individuals in their sales teams in areas such as branding, messaging, and presentation design, all of which require costly and distracting sales meetings and the additional challenge of designing training that meets individuals’ learning styles.

What customization strategies and tactics exist to help boost sales?

Give your sales team a full menu of options for tailoring content to specific client interests. By offering key messages and digital assets (videos, music, and image files) in an easily-accessible space for your team, you can stay on-brand while delivering a personalized message to every customer and prospect interaction.

Customization can range from adding a custom logo to a presentation to personalizing brand colours and assets for each individual presentation. Obtain an internal library of assets that match your brand guidelines, and provide a simple, centralized library for your image and video files so that users always have access to the latest approved assets.

Styling individual presentations with a brand’s look and feel will show extra effort and demonstrates to prospects that they aren’t just another sale. Example: California Closets, a leader in luxury space-management known for delivering custom home solutions and premium service to clients across North America (including Canada), needed a sales solution to help with digital sales efforts. Sportsdigita responded by delivering highly-customized digital catalogs and specifically creating a “favourite” feature to determine buyer preferences. California Closets’ prospects and customers can now easily access a digital showroom or catalog of possible solutions for their home and “favourite” what is of interest to them. Giving the buyer a sense of personalization while simultaneously capturing their preferences via CRM for targeted follow-up messaging — effortless retail solutions for the digital age.

Are you leveraging data integration within your presentation platform? Today, the sales process is all about automation. CRM integration capabilities and sales analytics can automate your sales process, saving valuable time and resulting in a shortened sales cycle, giving you more time to pay attention to customizing your sales approach.

How can retailers use sales enablement technology to better communicate their brand story to prospects, open more sales channels and ultimately drive more deals?

Cloud-based presentation software and solutions offer a variety of tools to deliver responsive, current, relevant content that builds trust. These software technologies give sales teams the content they need to customize every presentation using the latest knowledge for quick adaptability while delivering a superior customer experience for their consumer. Furthermore, finding an innovative approach to meeting your customers where they want to be met and giving them the tools to guide themselves down the funnel (such as “favouriting” content) can be the difference between standing out and blending in in this new digital-first era of retail business.

Angelina Lawton

Angelina Lawton, Founder and CEO of Sportsdigita, is a respected leader in the sports industry. She was recently named by Forbes as one of “The Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports” and was a cover story feature for Inc. Magazine. Sportsdigita has disrupted the sports industry by partnering with more than 400 clients across professional sports and enterprise with its ground-breaking interactive presentation platform, Digideck. Angelina received a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in Journalism from Arizona State University and was formerly the SVP of Corporate Communications for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

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