The Customer is (still) Always Right

Welcome to Retail Leader's third edition of its Trends and Research issue. In this special issue, we strive to not only identify the trends and drivers that will influence our industry in the coming years, but also to provide our strategy-minded readers with useful insights and data interpretation.

The amount of research, interviews and surveying that go into preparing this issue is mind-boggling. It's our editorial team's job to sift through it all once gathered, and carefully select the nuggets of information that will serve our audience best.

Often we encounter differing opinions or interpretations from our sources, but this year's key trend seems to touch everyone we spoke to: The informed shopper is here, and she knows how, where and for what she wants to shop. Take a look at our feature stories on store formats, technology trends and collaboration for valuable information that offer best practices for appealing to this connected consumer.

Shopper-centricity is a concept that, on the face of it, appeals to many or, dare I say most, retailers. What retailer doesn't want to get to know its customers better or doesn't understand that shopper behavior has a huge impact on his business?

But let me offer a slight warning here. To quote architect Mies van der Rohe, "God is in the details." It's exciting to get behind the concept of shopper centricity. Achieving a shopper-centric business, however, is all about execution and, yes, those dreaded details. Each interaction with a shopper, whether digital or in person, takes on a new level of importance. Each interaction becomes an opportunity to deliver an experience.

Today's consumer is more sophisticated than ever before and has tools at hand that a decade ago we only dreamed of. This dynamic has shifted the balance of power in our industry, and smart retailers have taken note and are building their own unique shopper experiences. You will find an abundance of ideas and strategies among the pages in this issue and future issues of Retail Leader.

The informed shopper is here, and she knows how, where and for what she wants to shop.

– Jennifer Acevedo,

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