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Ideas in the Wild: How Alex Barseghian is Helping Retailers Build Meaningful Connections with with their Customers

The global marketplace is booming, and, as it grows, one thing is becoming evident: brands that are aligned to the individual needs and community thinking will be the winners of tomorrow. In industries ranging from food to tech to healthcare, customers want high-quality products and personalized experiences rather than one-size-fits-all solutions. Technology will be the […]

The global marketplace is booming, and, as it grows, one thing is becoming evident: brands that are aligned to the individual needs and community thinking will be the winners of tomorrow. In industries ranging from food to tech to healthcare, customers want high-quality products and personalized experiences rather than one-size-fits-all solutions. Technology will be the ultimate enabler for companies to connect with people. To stay afloat in this rapidly shifting economic landscape, businesses need to ride the wave of what Alex Barseghian calls “Localmotion.”

Alex is a leader in connecting companies to their customers. He wrote his book — Localmotion: How Technology Is Personalizing the Global Marketplace — to give an insider’s look at this new commercial terrain and offers tips and techniques on how to successfully shift business models. Exploring three main facets of localization — individuals, global and regional markets, and technology — Alex showed how organizations can confront challenges, embrace the local movement, and connect with consumers on a deeper level. I recently sat down with Alex to learn what inspired him to write the book and his favorite idea he shares with readers.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

I was expanding my business in the UK and it really hit me that there was a large movement towards personalization and community-based localization of products and services. It was reinforced when I traveled to the U.S. and came back to Canada.

Local beer and coffee shops were outselling big brands. Spotify and Netflix were becoming mainstream but began to personalize based on my tastes. I looked and saw that nobody was really talking about this in a book, so I took the idea and ran with it.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

Sentiment analysis allows companies to quickly understand the impression a product or service provides. Good, Bad, and Okay are the simple metrics. In today’s world, customers are way too busy to fill in massive amounts of forms. With sentiment analysis, you can have a mounted tablet that allows customers to rate the experience by clicking one of three buttons.

At restaurants: How would you rate our service?

In the airport washrooms: How clean were the facilities?

It’s a new frontier for understanding how your product is doing, how your website is performing, the in-store experience customers are having, and how your competitors are doing. Sentiment analysis is a hidden secret that retailers should leverage far more than they do now.

What are retailers doing with this idea and where do you see it going in the future?

Starbucks used sentiment analysis to spot the unicorn trend happening on social media in 2017 and cash in with its hugely popular Unicorn Frappuccino. Kroger and Costco are using beacon data, video cameras, and heat mapping to understand where customers go in their stores, which allows them to optimize their inventory in the store and increase revenue.

Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon are spending billions of dollars to do the equivalent in the digital space. Sentiment analysis will evolve from knowing how you felt about your last bathroom visit to knowing you — the customer — at an individual level. The big buckets we’ve historically used to group customer segments will soon be a thing of the past.

It’s no longer a matter of “if” retailers should use sentiment analysis. Now, it’s all about “how.”

To learn more about connecting with your customers and your community, you can find Localmotion: How Technology Is Personalizing the Global Marketplace on Amazon.

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