Retail Customer Experience: Should Retailers Replace the 4 Ps With the 4 Cs?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a website devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
The 4 Ps of marketing and retailing — Product, Price, Promotion and Place — were relevant when product was king. Today, the consumer is queen and makes the rules of how, when, and where she shops.
Successful retailers are quickly finding that this has become an environment where omni-channel is the new normal. In this consumer-centric world, virtual shelf will be as important as physical shelf.
Whether it’s in stores or online, consumers are voting for the 4 Cs:
Connections: The key here is plural. In an omni-channel world, retailers have to expect to connect very early in the consumer journey, when they first start researching online. And they expect to continue that connection in store.
Choice: Today’s consumers are not limited by what they can find in a store, or even the goods they find in their own country. Store-based retailers must connect their virtual shelf to the store shelf. This will require not only rethinking assortments, but technology to enable "seamless" shopping.
Convenience: This C is closely related to Choice. Today’s time-starved consumers are expecting the convenience of shopping online or in-store, but also the convenience of ship-to-home, pickup in-store, or even pickup at a locker in another convenience location.
Conversation: The biggest miss of today’s retail stores is continuing the conversation after the initial sale. Again, technology becomes a key. CRM will not only be the lifeline of continuing the conversation, but also the key to connecting the consumer value experience to creating relationships based upon lifetime value.
In times of disruptive change, there is always a lot of conversation, and opinions. The great opportunity for retailers is that this does not have to be either/or. Investments in the 4 Ps can be measured. Likewise, rising value of the 4 Cs can be tested and measured. The BIG C for retailers is willingness to Change their heritage and safety of the 4 Ps — to test what works best in the 4Cs in a consumer-centric world.
Do you agree that the 4 Ps of marketing are becoming less relevant in an omni-channel world? What do you think of the concept of focusing on the identified 4 Cs (Connections, Choice, Convenience, Conversation) to reach the increasing mobile and social shopper?