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How to improve the customer experience by adopting Human-to-Human marketing

I recently had the opportunity to attend the sixth edition of the ISPO Academy Barcelona event, whose theme this year was “Proximity”, meaning proximity to the client, something that we all try to achieve but which remains a great challenge for the retail sector.

The event was held at the Barcelona Moda Center (BMC) and was organized by Firamunich, official representative of Messe München in Spain and in collaboration with the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Distributors of Sporting Goods (AFYDAD).

Albert Fradera, owner and CEO of marketing services company 1to1, reminded us of the importance of mail even today as one of the main channels of communication (yes the mail!). He talked about how to optimize its use and build a database of quality contacts to provide valuable information.

Thanks to Borja Martín, General Manager of Salvetti Llombar, we could also review the description of the different generations from the Baby Boom to the Z Generation, with their main characteristics and motivations in the purchase process.

The final presentation was given by Ivo Güell i Torné, Director of Idei Training Consultants and speaker at ESADE, on the topic of customer experience.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting Ivo, but he is without a doubt one of those people who transmits great energy and conviction in his presentations, He stressed the importance of the customer experience, something about which there is no doubt.

In fact, consumers are willing to pay more to receive a more satisfying customer experience, as Ivo himself cited during his presentation and as numerous studies have shown. It is not surprising then that the purchase experience is expected to be more important and exceed price and product as key element in the purchase decision beyond 2020.

So what is the purpose of this shopping experience? There is no doubt that its about getting more loyal customers, who buy more and more frequently. You want them to speak well of the brand and become fans of it for life.

Therefore, Ivo proposes to abandon the traditional concepts of B2B or B2C to bet on the concept of M2M (Mammal to Mammal), because after all we are talking about people, about humans that are related.  This is a concept totally aligned with the idea  of H2H (Human to Human) proposed by authors such as Bryan Kramer, whom I also recommend reading and with whom I strongly agree.

That’s why Ivo affirms that “there is no Amazon that offers a customer experience” and clearly opts for the advantage of physical stores for the establishment in them of a much more personal and close relationship.

Ivo Güell durante su presentación
Ivo Güell during his presentation

There are several  keys to achieving this goal. First of all, brands must also offer their employees  an excellent experience, so that they can develop a role that today is essential. The customer experience must arise alongside the idea of co-creation.

Brands must learn to incorporate their customers much earlier in the process of launching a product. Something closely related to what Borja Martín explained,  for example,  about the motivations of Generation Z, who are more accustomed to try and experiment and to participate and share,  and that links with the need to understand very well the purchase process or the “customer journey” of  the target customers.

Retailers have undoubtedly understood the importance of the customer experience for some time and we observe varying degrees of success in the implementation of strategies to achieve it.

The most successful are those clearly based on a greater focus on service, personalization or specialization, which all require a better knowledge of customers, and are based on a more efficient use of technology, not only at contact points but also as support in its operations, to achieve a greater degree of agility and quality of service, to offer the promised “seamless shopping experience”.

We see physical stores becoming true experience centers, blurring more and more the lines between the online and offline world, as we have recently been able to read with the new Zara flagship store in London.

During the event we also had the opportunity to learn more about ISPO Digitize the new initiative of ISPO that will celebrate its first edition on June 28 and 29 in Munich, and which promises to become another reference event. A must.

So, it is an exciting time for retail and undoubtedly for technology manufacturers such as Openbravo. Are you ready for the challenge?

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