Today's shoppers are getting their information about fashion, store sales, luxury products, services and much more from a myriad of traditional and non-traditional sources. In order for retailers and e-tailers to be successful with today's changing consumer they need to understand the role of traditional and non-traditional influences and how they impact the customer shopping journey. Failure to understand the customer journey has consequences. Retailers are even losing business to competitors that are offering discounts and incentives to shoppers on their mobile phones while they are shopping in their stores.

Deloitte in its latest digital/mobile influence study released earlier this year is projecting in excess of $1 trillion dollars in retail sales influenced by mobile and digital by 2016 from $159 billion in 2012. The rapid pace of consumer behavior means that the time to understand the customer journey is now.

Proactive retailers are focused on improving the customer journey whenever it begins and on whatever platform their consumers are using. The most astute retailers will want to be first in class for reaching consumers with the right level of messaging and the appropriate context to effectively reach shoppers. Retailers are seeking to understand the critical interaction points in store and on desktop, mobile and tablet across their retail and wholesale businesses.

Here are some suggestions for how retailers and e-tailers should think about their brands and the customer journey.

1) The brand experience should be unique and tailored to the customer’s needs by platform. Retailers should understand the customer journey across all platforms and how these platforms interact from the retail store to mobile and to smart TVs.

2) Retailers will need to provide a seamless shopping experience on whatever platform the customer is using.

3) Retailers that provide a superior level of customer service will win big.

In conclusion, a shopping experience that is unique and tailored to the customer’s needs, whether it is in a store, website or mobile device will win shoppers and their loyalty.

Dan Hodges is CEO and Founder, Consumers in Motion LLC. He can be reached atDan Hodges

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