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Editor's Comment: Thriving brands connect with their customers

Lord Rose famously said, “the customer is no longer king – they are masters of the universe” and never is that truer than in today’s market.

The challenge for retailers is to keep up with the “masters” and, to do that, knowledge is power. Effective business strategies are born from an understanding of the customer.

Two retailers that embody this strategy are Boohoo and Primark. Both reported positive results last week – revenue at Boohoo Group rose 48% to £856.9m for the year to 28 February and at Primark, adjusted operating profit grew by 25% year on year to £426m for the 24 weeks to 2 March.

Primark is bucking the trend by opening new stores globally, including its most recent and largest store to date in Birmingham, using experiential retail alongside its value product proposition to keep driving customers in store.

At the Boohoo Group, success in customer engagement can be seen in the figures – Boohoo customer numbers increased 9% on last year to seven million, PrettyLittleThing’s customer numbers jumped 50% to five million and NastyGal numbers were up 122% to 900,000 customers.

Engaging customers is paramount to driving sales, but as shoppers continue to have access to more shopping experiences than ever before, it is the retailers driving an emotional connection with their customer that are standing out from the crowd.

Brands must decipher the things that matter most to their customer. Segmenting data by demographic is no longer enough – retailers must look at their customers’ interests and lifestyles and find the common themes to become part of their community.

Customers want to hear the story behind the brand, but it must be authentic. Customers are more vocal than ever before – particularly on social media – and will call out any brand that doesn’t stay true to the values it sets. Listening on these channels gives retailers an insight into their customers lives and the ability to react quickly to comments about the brand.

In today’s market, shopping trends are being dictated by the customer. Leading retailers such as Boohoo and Primark are setting up strategies that connect with the customer. Those that don’t, risk getting lost in the crowd.

To find out more about how to keep up with the customer, book your ticket to this year’s Drapers Fashion Forum at

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