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Voice of the Customer

The retail sector is in a state of major flux and at something of a tipping point and there will continue to be winners and losers as changing consumer behaviour driven by technology controls the sector.

While the squeeze on consumer spending is having an often detrimental impact on the High Street, online retail sales are continuing to enjoy exponential growth as customers use their smartphones and tablets for as an integral part of their retail behaviours and savvy retailers market to these geographically sensitive devices.

Retailers are more and more focussed on finding creative, innovative and compelling new ways to engage with customers. Throughout all channels – in-store, online, via mobile and social – retailers are striving for a consistent, cohesive brand experience.

These were some of the key issues and challenges addressed at our Customer Engagement in the Retail Sector Directors Forum held this week and sponsored by Nunwood, Interactive Intelligence and Procter.

An excellent opening keynote from David Wild, CEO at Dominos Pizza Group on engaging customers in a rapidly changing retail world set the scene for a great day where delegates were enthralled by the sheer variety and scope of presentations on offer.

David was followed by Craig Ryder Director Customer Experience Excellence at Nunwood who gave some great case study examples of those organisations getting their retail customer experiences right.

There were further case study presentations from Drew McMillian of Ladbrokes on how the organisation has linkd employee and customer engagement and Katie Lips at Aimia/Nectar on the growth of mobile engagement. There were also presentations from Jo Thomson MD of Procter on the power of conversation and Mike Murphy head of retail at InteractiveIntelligence on technology.

Jon Copestake chief retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit gave an upbeat assessment of the future for retail as the economy recovers and Martin Newman CEO at Practiclogy gave a fascinating insight into how organisations are engaging with digital customers in a fast changing world with some illuminating case study examples..

There were also presentations from Stephen Citron who talked about the Customer Engagement Peer Awards and the day was rounded off in some style with a state of the nation report from Matthew Hopkinson director of Local Data Company.

There was a lively panel debate chaired by Engage Customer editorial director Steve Hurst who also concluded the day with the message that retailers who do not devise strategies to engage with their customers in what is now a truly omnichannel environment face an uncertain future.

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