Panelists highlight customer experience efforts to help retailers thrive

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Panelists highlight customer experience efforts to help retailers thrive

By Seth Mendelson - 07/30/2019
The product has to deliver, and when that happens, it can mean greater sales and profits for both retailers and suppliers.

That was the consensus of a panel discussion at the Omnichannel and Digital Merchandising Summit in Chicago in late May as panelists discussed what was necessary for retailers, specifically Walgreens, to thrive in coming years.

Panelists focused on what they could do to help retailers gain more traction with consumers, and to show the shopper that the process can be done in a quick and easy fashion.

“When a brand and a retailer like Walgreens best partner, they link their product attributes,” Ben Fishman, director of marketing at the Emerson Group, said. “So, with the brand, it’s about claims, value or quality; and with Walgreens, it’s about the assortment. When you bring those things together, you can really have a deep connection that’s telling a very powerful story to the consumer.”

Tony Valado, senior vice president of digital marketing and e-commerce at Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, said that the focus must stay on the consumer. “We hear that a lot, but a lot of times we lose sight of that fact,” he said. “The customer tells us everything that they’re doing, how they’re doing it and what they’re doing. A lot of times, we do not stop to actually listen to it. We work through Walgreens and we work through other retailers, but how can we use the information we have to really empower that?”

Paul Murphy, vice president of sales and operations at Menasha, said that developing tie-ins will lead to a better shopper experience.

“We can tie the front end to the back end so that execution can be seamless for you and for your customers so that when your customer gets to the store, if they interface digitally, the pre-press work matches up so all the print substrates match from the time they see it to the time they buy it in store to the time they pick it up,” he said. “Because one of the disconnects is you have to have one voice for your customer, and that one voice means that you have to be consistent in the look and feel of the mediums that you’re presenting — whether it’s in store or out of store, and that’s a major investment that we’ve made in our business on behalf of Walgreens and our customers.”

Kelly Mattran, a shopper marketing manager at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said that convenience is key to winning over consumers, noting that often consumers are too sick to make the trip to a store. “Time is really of the essence, and you want to make sure that you are where the shopper wants you to be and you can get the products where they are,” she said. “I think home delivery and buy online and pickup in store are areas that Walgreens has dabbled in, and they still do that in other areas like photo and pharmacy prescription, but bringing that more into the front of the store would be really critical from a GSK perspective.”

Mark Stevens, senior director of digital commerce at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, said that creating better consumer experience is a big part of what he and the company is trying to do.
“How do we evolve more into a culture of continually testing and learning new things, new technologies, new capabilities and identifying the right tools that are needed?” he said. “We are trying to identify new ways to deliver a more personalized message through creative versioning and things like that. How do we identify the priorities, build a centralized approach and then scale it and push it out to our teams, and make it easier for them to help execute?”