There’s no denying that being a retailer in 2013 is a whole different chapter in the how-to-run-a-successful-store handbook. Your customers used to wander through the aisles of your nicely plotted and polished shop, now they’re asking questions on Facebook, expecting your site to give them all the information they need on whatever device they choose and taking to Twitter to complain when their order takes an extra day to arrive. They know what they want, how they want it and when — and retailers have to adjust.
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As Digital Planet CTO Zane Zietsman explained at this year’s Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg, these connected consumers don’t respond well to the traditional unidirectional messages traditional retailers try to push at them — they want to choose how they are spoken to, and enter into conversations with brands on their own terms. Zietsman acknowledges the role the internet has played in the changing role of the consumer, but says while “the internet is the catalyst, mobile devices are really driving the consumer behaviour shift”.
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