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World Retail Congress: Authenticity is key to engaging the 'connected consumer'

Retailers at today’s World Retail Congress cited authenticity as a key component when building a content strategy to engage consumers.

During the event, a panel – comprising Maxine Bedat, co-founder of US based fashion etailer Zady, Dennis Dorval, VP EMEA Sales at software provider Apigee, Regis Schultz chief executive at electrical retailer Darty and Chanel Costabir, founder of pureplay etailer The Lingerie Boutique – discussed how content can be used across channels to engage new customers as well as drive sales.

WGSN global retail editor Angela Rumsey, who was moderating the discussion, said the “connected crowd” has five key values – being social, trust in friends, instant gratification, being consulted and making the world a better place.

Schultz noted that the birth of the connected consumer means businesses have to completely rethink their business strategy.

Bedat agreed, saying the most important element is to “create a transparent supply chain and build authentic relationships.” She said “It’s about going to where your customer is rather than making them come to you.”

Schultz explained that Darty has done this by creating a button customers can take away with them; when they press the button a customer service advisor calls them back within less than a minute. Launched in June 2014, the service currently has 3,000 subscribers.

The panel also discussed the merits of content and social media. Bedat emphasised the importance of Instagram to her brand: “Customers love our packaging and often post images of it to Instgram. We [re-post] these images and use it as an opportunity to ask our customers what else they would like from Zady. We are making our customers part of the buying decision.”

Costabir said, for The Lingerie Boutique, the only social channel to have produced any return on investment so far is Pinterest, which she put down to the mindset of the consumer when they are on this channel. “Customers on Pinterest are actively looking for something, rather than just checking a feed. It’s up to us to give them what they want at that time.”

Costabir also emphasised the importance of analysing all content posted on social channels. She said “You can’t just post the same piece of content on every social channel; it needs to be tailored for each one. It’s also about timing - we often post quotes which work best on Instagram in the morning, but on Facebook in the evening.” 

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