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10 ways retailers can appeal to their customers

Retail Expert Henri Davis Speaking at The GA Members Day 2012

This blog post is adapted from an excellent talk recently given by retail expert Henri Davis at The GA's Members Day in Birmingham. Here are the highlights of what she said:

The current situation in retail is that consumers are governed by uncertainty. It's been this way since 2007 when Northern Rock's collapse triggered the current change in economic climate and could continue for some time yet. Customers are now cash and time poor and generally spending less (but more often) as a result. These days we are all re-evaluating what's important in our lives and making more discerning choices. We want things that are functional and useful, but are also drawn to the unique and remarkable.

Because of this the current retail market is one of extremes with discount stores like Card Factory at one end and upmarket luxury shops like Paperchase at the other. Anyone in standing in the middle ground without a defined niche is in the danger zone (as was seen with Clintons retail chain going into administration). Also, now more than ever, retailers have to be relevant to their consumers offering good value and excellent customer service as standard, no matter where they sit in the marketplace.

So how can retailers respond to this current climate? Well to start with businesses must have personality. Chains like Scribbler, for example, have been expanding during this period because their brand has personality, they sell cards that stand out from the mainstream and they offer a customer friendly experience. The personality of your brand must stay consistent across all your customer contact points from store fronts, staff and websites through to Twitter and Facebook. You must also know what your customers want from you now. To do this you have to engage with them. Most importantly, do not underestimate the power of 'new' for your business. New shows that your business is dynamic and forward thinking. It's also a great reason to engage your customers regularly. Typically Henri suggest retailers should introduce something new at least every 6-8 weeks.

Here are Henri's Top 10 ways retailers (and suppliers) can appeal to their customers

1. Notice what's going on around you.

2. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you

3. Stand out from the crowd.

4. Refresh your offer often.

5. Communicate in ways appropriate to your customers.

6. Update your communications regularly.

7. Take calculated risks.

8. Be clear about your offer.

9. Be passionate about what you do.

10. Give customers a reason to business with you.

Henri Davis has 28 years retail experience having worked at Habitat, Next and WH Smiths before setting up on her own 10 years ago. If you are interested in learning more about her click here to visit

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Click here to watch Henri Davis speak on Understanding Your Customer at the GA Members Day or click play on the video below.

NB: Henri only starts speaking 2 mins 30 into the video so do scroll forward to that time (the sound improves at that point too).

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