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The customer reigns supreme at

By Megan Flanagan / October 10, 2013

This year’s event attracted more than 4,000 retail-savvy attendees. The event featured a strong lineup of speakers—from industry experts to seasoned retail veterans— who offered insights regarding retail trends, best practices and new technologies.

One constant theme that stood out across keynotes, breakouts, booth designs and many of the conversations on the show floor, was: the customer is king. Gary Wasson, the Walgreens CEO and Wednesday’s keynote speaker, said it best—to be successful, in order to truly be innovative and successful, companies need to have a “customer crazed culture.”

Why such a focus on the customer?

  1. There’s been a power shift. Today customers are taking control of the shopping experience. Retailers have to provide customers with what they want, when they want it, where they want it.
  2. The lines between brick and mortar are blurring. A brand’s experience and relationship with the customer is extended by the use of mobile and applications. This means that a focus on a seamless shopping experience across all devices is critical to a merchant’s ability to engage their customers in an omni-channel world.
  3. Customers are the best brand ambassadors. With more social media channels than ever—I just downloaded the Wanelo and Opensky apps this week—happy customers can become extra “feet on the street.” Allow them the opportunity to shape your products and deepen your engagement with them. The result can be astronomical.

As one of the key advocates for the Digital River Voice of the Customer program, the customer-centricity of the conference really excited and resonated with me. It provided validation that we are headed in the right direction by creating a platform for our customers to share their stories and points of view. At Digital River’s Investor Day, we had three of our customers—Lenovo, Microsoft and Ticketmaster—speak on our behalf. Their words were very powerful. They were able to outline their business needs and detail how we partnered together to help them expand into new markets and drive revenue. Those real-world customer stories are incredibly compelling testimonials to the Digital River value proposition. To keep the customer conversations going, we hosted a successful Payments Partner Advisory Board at the tail end of last week in Chicago, and will host our Commerce Customer Advisory Board on October 23 in Minneapolis. Through these efforts, we are capturing feedback that will shape our product roadmap – as well as position our customers and our company for success now and in the future.

Did you attend last week? If so, what were some of your key takeaways? Do you agree that the customers are king in our omni-channel world?

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