Retail footfall persists in decline, with a continual increase in store closures and companies going into insolvency. Yet, with 81 per cent of UK consumers seeing the physical store as vital to the shopping experience, there’s no reason why physical stores should not continue to play a key role.

So why have we seen a decline in retail footfall if customers still want to visit a physical store? A possible answer is because retailers have found it hard to change and embrace innovative ways of getting closer to their customers. It is clear that customers find today’s traditional physical store experience somewhat bland and uninspiring.

What’s the answer? Watch our Telegraph Business Reporter video to find out. In the interview Cathy McCabe, CEO, Proximity Insight and Siobhan McKeating, Co-owner and CEO, Brissi discuss how by getting closer to the customer we can build relationships that drive engagement and sales.

Accompanying the video is a great online article which features three key ways to get closer to the customer.

In order to really understand what is important to your customer, you need to get close to them, and you cannot do that without data. However, customer expectations are higher in today’s digital world. The customer will inevitably ask: do you really know me? Do you really care?

Customers can see through algorithms and generic email marketing. If you don’t use the data that customers share with you appropriately, there is no value exchange and the customer will switch off. Technology offers retailers the opportunity to scale one-to-one conversations, globally.

Three key ways the Proximity Insight platform helps brands
Connect

Knowing the right way and at what point during the customer journey to capture data is essential. Understanding whether data is valuable or not is key to getting to know your customer. Make the capture frictionless, compliant with global data privacy regulations, and easy to complete so you can carry on the conversation beyond the sale. Make sure your brand’s unique value exchange is clear.

Inspire

Customers crave relationships not transactions. From preferred preferences to sharing inspirational products and stories, allow technology to facilitate conversations that are engaging and meaningful. Technology can act as a reminder to reach out, but it should not replace human interactions. Automate the tasks and reminders not the conversation.

Nurture

To inform the relationship we must understand what metrics and insights the data is driving. What does each customer purchase journey look like, and how can we best support how the customer wants to interact with us? Through analysis we can learn and adapt our approach – we help you to apply human intelligence to data insights.

Innovative technology can support traditional retail principles

Innovation and agility are part of our core company values. But innovation is not just about creating the best technology platform, it’s also about understanding the right time and place to use the technology. Technology can support traditional retail principles, such as exceptional levels of service and a passion for relationship building. By focusing on relationships and the value that they offer the customer and the retailer we use technology as an enabler, not as a replacement for human interaction. Technology enables the customer to be present all of the time, allowing sales associates to directly influence sales whether the customer is in-store or online.

To continue reading the article head to Business Reporter.