By Silvio Sousa*

Gone are the days when retailing was based only on an empirical activity, when a retailer with a good “feeling” identified the products that could be of interest to his clientele, bought them and displayed them, thus acting as intermediary between those who produced and who consumed it.

Many retailers acted this way, and some of them did very well, building true empires that are still in operation today. However, it is unlikely that, nowadays, anyone can continue to be very successful only with practices like this, especially in large-volume operations, in a world with as much information and availability of resources as we have.

Currently, much has been said about the “customer journey”, the understanding of how the consumer buying process takes place, before he even thinks about buying a product. Much has been applied from behavioral studies and elements of motivational factors, which, with the application of technology, can be better explored by retailers. From artificial intelligence applications to identify consumption patterns, presence recognition to pushing, there is no lack of weapons in this psycho-technological arsenal to make the connection between the product and the customer.

The most important issue lies exactly at this point. While the customer journey is getting all the attention, investment, research, etc., the product is not always treated with the same priority. It is not uncommon for retailers to identify more suitable product lines for promotion, identify potential customers, access these customers through technological resources, bring them to the physical or virtual store and, at the time of the “encounter”, the store is not adequately stocked with products. This is frustrating for the customer at the time of purchase and even more frustrating for the retailer when closing the numbers – that feeling of wasted energy, time and money.

It is very important that we can evolve in understanding the customer journey. The greater our perception of the factors that mobilize the customer to purchase, the most suitable mix of products for him, the most appropriate moments to promote, to expose products, the greater the chances of bringing success to the business. However, it is imperative that we pay equal attention, energy and investment to the product journey.

There are techniques, practices, tools and other resources to buy well, receive and store efficiently, distribute at the right time, to minimize excesses and shortages, just as there are means to take good care of the assortment, supply, adequacy of the mix to what the customer waits.

Without greater awareness on our part about the relevance of the product journey, it is unlikely that the account will close at the end of the month. And all the sophistication applied to the customer journey will have been a mere exercise in experimentation.

*Silvio Sousa is commercial and marketing director at Consinco S/A.

Written by

Sky.One Team

This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.