The Drum Live: ‘Legacy retailers’ need to understand what consumers want in order to survive

Wills, Cruickshanks, Williams and Davies

Speaking at a panel discussion this afternoon at The Drum Live, Nancy Cruickshank, founder of; Adam ‘Sven’ Williams, MD UK and Benelux for Spotify and Jason Wills, marketing director at Thorpe Park, discussed taking brick-and-mortar stores online; use of data and how technology changes relationships held with customers.

The panel, chaired by The Drum senior reporter Jessica Davies, saw the trio begin by discussing the challenges for brands in the digital environment, with Cruickshank suggesting that the main challenge is that there are so many opportunities.

She said: “Technology is integral to everything we do, every system we operate in. Everything kind of coaleses, relies on that multimedia point. I Think the challenge is working out the right channels to contact your target audience.”

Williams added: “The interesting thing for us is that consumers ‘get’ technology a lot faster than tech companies can build it”, discussing how customers don’t mind what platforms a company is on, as long as it is on one that they use. He added that Spotify is ‘very focussed’ on moving into the mobile sector, ‘because that’s where everyone is’.

One area discussed by the panel was how ‘legacy retailers’, that is, brick-and-mortar type companies which are moving online, should go about this move.

Wills suggested that the most important thing is to understand what consumers want: “If you don’t inspire them they won’t come. That content has to be very tailored [to the needs of the customers].

“The second part of the purchase journey is planning: you need to compare and contrast benefits of products, such as reviews, to give further depth of information for the customer.”

Cruickshank added: “You’ve actually got to decide you’re up for it, you have to be willing to invest. We think ‘what’s a small thing that we can do that will be interesting and good’, and start on that.”

On the subject of data, Williams discussed insight which could be gained from data: “All the ads are targeted. We’re looking more and more into things people name their play lists: barbeque is a popular name. there is 576,000 playlists named things like ‘study’ and ‘revise’…and the top five tracks are all classical music.”

On what to do with gathered data, the three agreed that value exchange is important.

Wills said: “They’re giving you they’re data, you want to give them something more targeted back. It might make people more cautious about sharing data with companies they don’t have a relationship with.”

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