09 Jun #3 10 Years of … Changing Customer Needs.
Upright UK Ltd has been in business for ten years this April. One thing that becomes abundantly clear when you’ve been in business for so long is that any business that doesn’t respond to changing customer needs will not be in business for very long. Customer needs evolve and their requirements focus and alter according to the market. We see this as a really good thing: it helps to keep us fresh and relevant.
Setting the scene of 10 years ago …
A decade ago, bulk quantity orders of retail display units were commonplace. Lots of production was being handled in China and similar locations because China was well set up to cope with large quantity production and global demand, and because of that there were very clear financial benefits.
With some retailers there was a feel of “stack em high, sell em cheap” that carried through when placing orders for retail display units. Display units had to present products well (well, ours did anyway) and do a good job of selling and promoting the product instore. To a point with a display unit, that was it in terms of customer needs it’s sturdy, safe, well made, designed well and makes the product look great.
Live in the Now!
Moving on to now, over these past ten years there have been huge shifts in customer needs because of the changing dynamic of the customer-retailer relationship. Technology that can be of use to retailers is far more available than it ever was: for example, retail displays now regularly incorporate eye-tracking technology to enable us to monitor the success of the unit and the effectiveness of the planogram. Using technology throughout the whole retail environment, we can monitor footfall and dwell time and how effective the location of the unit is in-store too. So, with that in mind, one big change that we have seen in customer needs is the need for data-rich solutions and the ability to justify a display as a success through data.
Omni-channel retailing is another area that we’ve been exploring with our client partners. Looking at changing customer needs, there has been a clear trend towards Omni-channel retailing. Consumers having access to price comparisons and peer reviews through technology is now far more commonplace than it ever was ten years ago, and this presents many opportunities to integrate mobile, social media and in-store activities, not only with the aim of improving sales but also to collect data. Whilst there was something of a boom a couple of years ago when everyone got excited about the possibilities of Omni-channel (particularly mobile), we’ve now entered a period where early adopting customers are still challenging us to come up with new solutions, while later adopters have moved into a holding pattern, favouring some of the more tried and tested solutions. Omni-channel integration of the online/offline worlds is a really interesting development in retailing. Technology is developing and becoming more accessible all the time, so this is something that we’re really excited about at the moment.
Another big trend when looking at changing customer needs is the Gamification of retail display. Retail-tainment solutions are far more commonly requested than ever before. Previously only considered by high-end product brands or exclusive department stores, this is now far more widespread and is a particularly fun way to promote a product in-store. The integration of the creative thought process is really important here and it works well to increase dwell time and engagement with the product.
At Upright UK Ltd, we have seen many changing customer needs over the last 10 years. Some have come and gone, and some, it seems, are here to stay. Being flexible enough to offer a truly bespoke service is a very exciting way to maintain a company and ensure that we’re on top of our game. We’re all just really excited to see what the next innovative request we get from our clients is and even if we can bring something exciting and new to them!!