January 15, 2013
NEW YORK – Retailers that are looking to expand their business to the global marketplace need to invest in multichannel campaigns that are heavily focused on each market's local culture, according to executives from McMillan Doolittle at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2013.
During the “Delivering a Global Retail Brand Experience” session, the executives explained the importance of making the brand available where there are consumers. This means that retailers need to be sure that they are positioned on mobile and digital platforms and tailor the delivery to each local market.
“In today’s world, it is as much digital as it is physical,” said Anne Brouwer, senior partner at retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle, Chicago. “Go where the customers are.
“Having a cross-channel platform is essentially a requirement when coming to the United States since your customer is in every channel and they expect to find you there as well,” she said.
Retailers should evaluate the local culture and customs to fully understand the target consumer when looking to expand into a new market.
Every aspect of the store and the marketing efforts must fit in with the local culture.
Retailers should learn more about their target consumers by observing traditions and shopping behavior, per Ms. Brouwer.
“Target the culture, traditions and shopping behaviors to your target customers,” Ms. Brouwer said.
However, when entering the U.S., retailers cannot generalize one specific area since the country is diverse and the consumer base is more complex than other areas of the world.
Also, brands should keep in mind the income polarization in the U.S. when considering their target consumer.
“The top 15 percent of households contribute half to consumer spending, while the other half of consumer spending comes from 85 percent of households,” Ms. Brouwer said.
In addition, brands coming to the U.S. need to bring a product to the table that is unique since there is already so much competition in the retail sector.
The big picture
There are eight steps that retailers need to follow to be successful globally, according to the executives.
Delivering a Global Retail Brand Experience session
The eight components to creating a successful global campaign are clarity, convenience, communication, choice, cast, control, consistency and connection.
With clarity, retailers should be able to easily identify their position and keep it consistent across platforms and locations.
This also ties into the communication aspect of keeping brand communication messages and media consistent so it does not damage the brand experience.
Also, retailers need to keep in mind how their customers are going to choose to use their product over other products and what should be altered between cultures so that potential customers are not lost.
Retailers need to focus on bringing in the right employees, or the cast, that will help keep the brand formula consistent and add to the in-store experience.
They should aim for control in engaging with consumers through their employees so that consumers can enjoy the brand experience within their cultural norms.
In addition, retailers should implement strong measurement and continuous improvement charts to constantly measure where they stand. They should be aiming for consistency in these areas.
Also, they should aim to go beyond the transaction and look to integrate the brand into consumers’ lives.
Overall, retailers need to cater to the needs of the local customer while keeping true to the brand message and product.
“Clearly communicate what your brand stands for and tailor that delivery to the local market,” Ms. Brouwer said.
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York