It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to provide up their predictions for the year ahead.
It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been carrying this out now for over 30 years.
Here we talk to Matt Hayes, Managing Director at Champions (UK) plc.
During 2021, we’ve witnessed the poignant closure of high-street giants Arcadia and Debenhams, while online titans Boohoo and Asos make significant investments to increase their market share, acquiring Topshop, Burtons, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Debenham’s website assets.
The demise of these legacy brands can be correlated for their trading focus on their brick-and-mortar roots, based on traditional advertising. They did not adapt to an increasingly digitalised shopping environment, which caused these to lose connection with their customers showcased by their falling sales.
Nowadays, consumer expectations are evolving day-to-day and types must ensure that they keep up with these changing needs. Clients are increasingly empowered in their buying decisions, deciding the things they consume, how they consume it so when they do so – any time night or day.
It is not just the consumption journey that is changing. The channels by which we try and reach our prospective customers are also changing too, with traditional print and broadcast advertisement reducing in impact and importance. Within an era where clients and customers need to be engaged, personal preference must be monitored and bespoke marketing techniques used to reach them via a personalised multichannel approach.
In the B2C sector, considering convenience and customer experience are all paramount to creating a successful business. From fast and simple shopping via short one-two click shopping functionality and also the offering of easy-to-use apps or simple product returns policies, brands must offer simplicity within the user-experience in their customers purchase journey.
As lockdown has impacted our lives, consumers are looking for more than just products. So what can brands offer them as a point of difference? Brands should also consider their values within their messaging as increasingly a business’s approach, ethics and ethos are all part of their customers considerations. For instance, you might place focus on your environmental approach to sustainability or report on your carbon footprint.
In a B2B sector, the concept is much the same, stakeholders must sharpen on their values and actively communicate the best messages on the right platforms, tailoring their engagement methods so that potential leads are connecting together with your business on every channel.
Due to the impacts of Covid-19, the speed of digitisation has progressed more than 9 years in 9 months. I predict that this tide of digital engagement is a that business will need to embrace instead of take the approach of King Canute and then try to resist. Businesses, whether B2B or B2C, need to refocus their attentions and invest now in ensuring they have a fully digitalised customer journey that partcipates in a personal way, across all the channels their customers choice to use.
Now that there's light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel with the vaccine roll outs coming into effect, this is the time for businesses to invest, working with experts to review and update their digital footprint, messages and channels. Customers have to have a full 360 service approach, covering all areas from communications, digital and web design, right through to video, creative and talent partnerships. Businesses will either evolve and embrace the opportunities available to them across this digitised landscape or perish.