Join us in our next webinar with Stroili Oro’s eCommerce expert, Luca Gerini! Register here.

Diane Brisebois, CEO, Retail Council of Canada, Provides her Insight on the Future of Retail

Diane Brisebois has always had an interest in retail. In fact, her first ever part-time job in retail at Eaton’s was extremely memorable. She was so passionate about retail that she continued working in the retail field full time in Montreal before going back to school. Later, she was approached to run an association, based in Toronto, representing retailers from coast to coast. She now has been running retail associations for the better part of 40 years. Diane has been the President and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) for the past 24 years. RCC is a non-for-profit industry association that represents over 45,000 retail storefronts throughout Canada, therefore, Diane is immersed in the retail world.

Thanks to Diane’s position at RCC, she offered us some insights on present day retail. She started by explaining to us the most important key success factors for an omnichannel strategy. Her first point was to emphasize the importance of understanding your customer. She added that you must discover and understand their likes, dislikes and interests and from there, you can begin to define what your client’s ultimate experience should be. Secondly, you must, “bring all of the backend technology together to provide a seamless experience for the end user.” To ensure the experience is optimal, especially in an omni-channel world, you need to try to eliminate all the possible friction points so that the customer can navigate from in-store, mobile and online with ease. Lastly, you must create a “WOW” experience for customers so that their visit and shopping trips are memorable. This can be especially challenging online (in a non-physical environment), but some tips to making it happen would be by establishing a sight that is convenient, easy to navigate, constantly refreshed and one that offers unique product assortment and competitive pricing.

Diane Brisebois, CEO, Retail Council of Canada

As for the online experience, Diane revealed some ways to make it exceptional. She indicated that it all ties back to understanding who comes to your website. This is essential because different customers value different things. For example, some customers value speed and ease of use while others may want a more unique, curated experience which may not be possible to replicate in a brick-and-mortar store. Advances in Artificial Intelligence are allowing retailers to learn more about their customers’ needs and wants online thus allowing them to provide a more unique and customized experience. Nevertheless, the most important thing is to keep your customer front and centre. The biggest mistake a company can make is to assume that they know what the customer wants. You must allow customers to provide feedback, you must listen and respond quickly, you must be where they are (e.g. social media sites) to deliver a truly personalized online experience. Some additional insights – She noted that, “brands need to be more authentic and transparent. Specifically, they must also be responsible, especially from a sustainability perspective.”

The biggest changes Diane has seen in consumer behaviour over the last few years have been primarily in relation to customer loyalty. Most consumers are less patient and forgiving to brands. Consumers are greatly influenced by social media, by their friends, and online influencers rather than traditional media platforms. Therefore, it is harder to keep a close customer relationship because there are so many outside influences. There is an endless number of retailers to choose from so every brand must be on top of its game to ensure the customer comes back to shop.

In terms of how Diane sees the next 5 years of brick and mortar, she says that once again, it is about creating the “WOW” experience. It is vital to create a vibe, a memorable moment, a personalized experience that resonates with the consumer. There needs to be a good reason for them to want to come into your store, to download your app or visit your site. Therefore, the brand’s fundamental values must be aligned with the customers’ values. In closing, Diane noted that in the extremely competitive retail world, you have to be courageous, innovative and fast-moving to stand out from other brands. Retail is all about understanding your customers’ needs and wants and being able to deliver a memorable experience in a personalized, authentic way while differentiating yourself from the competition.

The biggest changes Diane has seen in consumer behaviour over the last few years have been primarily in relation to customer loyalty. Most consumers are less patient and forgiving to brands. Consumers are greatly influenced by social media, by their friends, and online influencers rather than traditional media platforms. Therefore, it is harder to keep a close customer relationship because there are so many outside influences. There is an endless number of retailers to choose from so every brand must be on top of its game to ensure the customer comes back to shop.

In terms of how Diane sees the next 5 years of brick and mortar, she says that once again, it is about creating the “WOW” experience. It is vital to create a vibe, a memorable moment, a personalized experience that resonates with the consumer. There needs to be a good reason for them to want to come into your store, to download your app or visit your site. Therefore, the brand’s fundamental values must be aligned with the customers’ values. In closing, Diane noted that in the extremely competitive retail world, you have to be courageous, innovative and fast-moving to stand out from other brands. Retail is all about understanding your customers’ needs and wants and being able to deliver a memorable experience in a personalized, authentic way while differentiating yourself from the competition.

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Stay Connected

More Updates

Start a Free Trial!

Contact Sales Specialist
First

Get a Demo

Contact Sales Specialist
First

Get a Free Site Audit!

Contact Sales Specialist
First