The need to capture attention and connect with the emotional side of consumers has never been greater. We’ll walk through a few of the details shaping the space right now, so you can get a sense of our approach.

Introduction

Retail & consumer goods is a broad sector, representing everything from the brick-and-mortar experience at a big-box store to purchasing that premium, organic, free-trade matcha green tea you can only buy online. Though there are many differences between these two scenarios, one thing remains the same: the need for consumer attention. In an increasingly automated, on-demand world, attention is a fleeting thing—but there’s hope. Brands who listen in to their customer base can capture hearts and minds by focusing on their brand storytelling, their ability to evolve as an organization, and the different ways they integrate the digital purchasing experience with real-life scenarios.

Here are a few industry drivers in the retail & consumer goods space to help decision makers anticipate needs and make smart decisions.

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Industry Trend #1

What’s in a story: creating engaging brands that grab attention

Even today, as retail giants like Coca-Cola invest in smaller, story-driven brands like Topo Chico, there are still decision-makers who have to be convinced that storytelling matters. It does. While there are some purchases that are more rational than emotional, brand and storytelling aren’t optional—they’re critical. Part of what binds that brand story to the consumer’s experience is how the message of relevance is addressed. It isn’t enough to be known. Retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) producers alike must understand the real purpose their brands play in the lives of the consumer—and align that with their own values for an authentic brand experience.

So how do you create an authentic brand experience? We can help. Softway’s seasoned brand thinkers can design interviews, guide work-sessions, and even lead full workshops to help identify the core truths behind your business—so you can truly connect with your target audience. Learn more here.

retail and consumer goods industry

Industry Trend #2

Bringing it all together: defining new brand identities after mergers

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) aren’t new to this sector. But with an emerging emphasis on globalization, and a push for many companies to divest support services and processes, M&A has become a strategy for growth we’ll be seeing more of moving forward. While any deal to combine brands can create big opportunities externally—it can also create a host of issues internally. That’s why leaders need to approach any combined entities with caution and care. A few questions to ask: How will this affect our teams? Which values will stay the same after we combine—and which will change? Has our vision changed—and can it be clearly communicated?

Believe it or not, there is a way to seamlessly navigate an M&A from the inside out. Along with updating your brand, Softway can help train your leadership teams to adopt a growth mindset—challenging their own preconceived notions and making room for new ideas. Interested? Here’s one place to start.

Industry Trend #3

Livable brands: Acting before the customer asks

When today’s customers are ready to purchase, they’re ready right now. The checkout experience must be seamless—and orders must be fulfilled as quickly as possible. But is it enough to efficiently address customer needs once they interact with your brand? Today’s disruptors would say no. That’s because they’re integrating digital and physical assets to inspire customers to live the brand.

For example: we all know caffeine is addicting on its own, but when combined with a brand like Starbucks—it’s nearly impossible to quit. That’s because Starbucks is a master at combining their customer-focused cafe experience with a highly intuitive mobile app. The app saves your favorite drinks, makes recommendations based on the current weather in your area, and even “talks to” registers in stores—so baristas at locations you’ve never visited before can ask about your go-to drinks.

Want to get in the game? The only way to do so successfully: have a clear understanding of your customer’s need, your brand’s core essence, and use that knowledge to craft experiences to extend that story. With our knowledge of marketing, strategy, and technology, the Softway team can help you set big-picture goals and then implement engaging, immersive solutions. Learn more.

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Now that we’ve given you some food for thought—let’s think on it together.

We’re here with expert strategists who can help you get to the heart of your business needs—and seasoned UX, creative, and development teams to create the solutions. If you want to get together, look at some past work samples, and talk through some possible approaches, we’re ready when you are.

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