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Being heard in the complex retail environment

By: Ben Davies, Retail Sector Lead

The retail industry is a whirlwind. Constantly changing in response to consumer demand, the past few years alone have seen a range of highs and lows for retailers fighting to keep up with expectations. Some have fared better than others, but the sector continues to shift towards technology adoption as the solution to a number of challenges.

From supply chain to shop floor and everything in between, adopting the latest technology solutions has proven a worthy investment for retailers, who can use tech to improve operational efficiency, deliver high-quality in-store and online experiences, and develop long-term relationships with their customers.

The question for many retailers no longer revolves around the value proposition behind tech adoption. The benefits are clear: happier customers leading to increased sales opportunities, and more streamlined practices creating cost efficiencies. Instead, the focus for many is now about which technology vendors they should partner with. This is where Communication becomes crucial; and within that, messaging.

The Value of Messaging

There is so much noise across retail and e-commerce from a number of tech vendors offering similar solutions to retailers. Communications will help a brand cut through that noise and reach their target audiences, but not without the right message.

Messaging is used to communicate in a clear, consistent manner that ensures all of a brand’s USPs are understood clearly by all stakeholders. They serve as the foundation of an organisation’s marketing strategy, and enable brands to:

  • Define and prioritise information

  • Create brand consistency and accuracy

  • Remain on track when speaking with media or other stakeholders

Finding the Message

A message consists of three key elements:

  • It needs to show a competitive advantage that demonstrates a specific benefit to a defined community of people

  • It must be well articulated and backed by proof points

  • It should create consistency when used by any organisation and its employees, not only across marketing, but in sales, too

Finally, it must follow the three C’s of communication: clear, concise and compelling.

Much like the retail industry itself, messages are not static. As a business evolves so too will the messages it communicates and organisations should regularly ensure that all their messaging is consistently up to date.

Cutting Through the Competition

Defining and utilising key messages will help retail and e-commerce technology vendors differentiate themselves from their competitors, creating focus on the unique benefits they can provide to show their true value.

Of course, exactly how this messaging is utilised depends heavily on the brand’s ability to deliver a strategic communications plan. In the current retail environment, it has never been more important to create separation. An aligned PR and marketing strategy, pushing the right messages to the right audiences can be the difference-maker in driving brand awareness, credibility and, ultimately, sales.


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