From infancy, most are trained to listen. Mom talks, we listen, and all is well with the world. Things only get difficult when we begin to interject our own thoughts on the matter. Or, just simply “hear” her words and ignore them.
Mom knew what worked, and we should listen to her, because, in retail, it still holds true. Retailers employ a number of channels and methods geared toward persuading consumers. Yet, it might be likely they’re not actively listening to what the consumer actually wants or needs. In fact, retailers might even be ignoring consumers while striving to get their own message heard.
However, to be successful, it’s not what we say or how we say it that necessarily matters. It’s what our customers are actually hearing on the other end. As Frank Luntz explains in his book, Win, many businesses “. . . fail to achieve greatness simply because they don’t comprehend why others don’t see the world the way they do. . . . Persuasion is all about recognizing other people’s realities. You can’t get them to accept your story until you understand and appreciate theirs.” (226)
We can’t persuade if we can’t listen. When retailers are actively listening, they discover things they hadn’t noticed before. As Luntz shares, more is learned from catching on to what is actually not being said than what is said. (227)
By having this engagement with consumers, retailers will find what their customers value most. More than likely it won’t be two email blasts a day talking up the daily promotions. In fact, consumers may not even know what they need, but listening to subtle cues will allow retailers to effectively frame a message or product that truly appeals to them. Carefully listening to trigger words splashed throughout social media could yield insight into an overlooked weakness that a business needs to change. Or, it could lead to an entirely new platform to fulfill a need that isn’t being met.
In a customer-centric retail landscape, it’s all about relationships – and relationships are all about listening. Listening takes time and effort. However, this time and effort can yield powerful persuasion. It may seem difficult to implement this simple equation, but the returns are enormous. ShopperTrak helps retailers accomplish this task by providing in-store analytics that provide the necessary tools to listen to and understand what relevant data is saying about the health of your store.
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