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Conclusion (CR15)

The idea that putting the customer at the centre of retail shouldn’t be revolutionary. Leading retailers have long done this. Your local corner shop owner, who takes careful note of which of his regulars buys what, has long done this. So why has this simple and apparently long-established idea proved to be such a recurring theme in this Dimension Report?

One reason is that, in an era of instant digital communication and social media, customers have become less patient. To a customer who has grown up with the world wide web as a part of day-to-day life, 24 hours waiting for a reply to an enquiry seems like an eternity. Despite the best intentions, some retailers have failed to catch up with this new reality.

Retailers really can’t afford to get left behind here. Mike Petrook of The Customer Service Institute’s ideas about retail models where there’s much more of a flow of information between businesses and customers is compelling. If companies can’t even reply to a tweet in a timely fashion, how can they expect to compete in an omnichannel future where companies make use of data in more and more sophisticated ways?

If that seems negative, let’s end on a positive note. As we’ve already noted, the IRUK 500 is made up of retailers operating desktop websites that are faster, slicker and more responsive than 10 years ago.

Looking a decade down the road again, who’s to say the 2025 IRUK 500 won’t be filled with retailers that put the customer at the heart of what they do, and which do this in ways that are only just beginning to emerge now? ●

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