Retailers Are Ready to Listen to Customers, Finally!

Since the boom of online shopping retailers are looking for ways to stay relevant in today’s digital age. Because to stay relevant is stay in business.

Target, is just one of those retailers who is embracing the idea of concept-to-customer. Target’s latest effort allows them to gauge the general consensus from customers and use it to develop products.

They are using an app as a source of real-time feedback from customers, with questions being asked at any time before, during, or after a product’s development. Essentially, it breaks down formal processes to make feedback more fluid and fast-paced.

Retailers and companies alike rely on customer feedback to thrive and create new, innovative products. At one of Propel’s “The New Rules of Innovation” talks, panelists expressed similar concerns. Real-time customer feedback and product development were hot topics among the panelists, and one thing that all of the speakers agreed on was that people can’t forget about live one-on-one interactions with customers. While it’s tempting to look for trends in mounds of data, all the panelists felt that it is still critical to speak directly and frequently with customers. After all, they are the ones purchasing your goods.

What is Concept-to-Customer?

“Concept-to-customer” is an ideology upon which we built Propel. Unlike siloed departmental systems that focus solely on one thing — mechanical designs, marketing data or quality issues — we decided to look at the bigger picture of concept-to-customer — taking a product from a simple idea to commercialization in the marketplace to your customers engaging with your product. We believe that you should place your customer and product information in one place, so that you can understand everything that your customers care about — including requirements, pricing, marketing assets, quality issues and design updates.

Because whether you’re brainstorming a new product, defining the product and mapping out costing, uploading and managing the CAD files, prepping for launch, pushing product data and pricing to your channels or markets, or integrating customer feedback into the next product iteration — it should all live in one place.

Concept-to-Customer Can Drive Digital Transformation

When they’re ready to buy, customers expect salespeople, distributors and channels to have the latest and most accurate product and pricing information. But when they have issues, customers expect companies to respond quickly with immediate resolutions as well as long-term design enhancements.

According to a MIT study, lack of customer involvement and transparency can have disastrous results on the company. Such as 75% lower lifetime revenue, 26% lower profits and 270% higher customer attrition.

To thrive with digital transformation companies need to look beyond the physical product that comes out of R&D and consider the entire customer experience, just as Target has with this new feedback app. Another example is BMW’s DriveNow service, which reimagines urban mobility. While making a car is part of the solution, there are also mobile apps, driver recruiting, marketing strategies, parking, pricing and more factors to consider.

Responsiveness to customers and customer transparency are key to gaining and retaining happy customers — and it looks like retailers are starting to realize that.

An example of what retailers like Target can accomplish after they hear feedback from their customers and implement it into their product lifecycle.