Andrew Brooks, the CEO and founder of Sinclair Global, shared his thoughts with retail entrepreneurs and other interested parties at the NRF Vision Panel in 2020. Shortly before COVID changed how people interact with one another, the National Retail Federation held a conference. Panelists, including Brooks, had a lively discussion about the future of retail. Understanding where it’s headed, why, and the value of keeping up with it were all discussed, along with predictions for the future of the industry.
With two successful lifestyle and apparel companies to his name, along with a number of other retail ventures, Sinclair CEO Andrew Brooks is one of the leading entrepreneurs who can provide information designed to help others increase their own level of success. One of the areas where Brooks offered advice was authenticity. It’s what customers are looking for, more than they ever were in the past. They want to feel connected to a company they buy from, and be able to relate to that company in some way.
Companies that work with influencers, says Sinclair’s Andrew Brooks, have a good opportunity for this authenticity, but only if they handle it correctly. In other words, just working with influencer isn’t going to satisfy customers. Instead, the influencers need to fully align with the brand. Otherwise, it feels forced and fake, and customers will see through that. It looks like just another marketing tactic at that point, which isn’t going to convince customers to purchase from that particular brand.
Choosing the right influencers can be much more important than deciding whether to use them at all. Andrew Brooks, Sinclair Founder, knows that influencers are a large and growing part of marketing for companies in the retail sector. Customers want to see influencers using company products and promoting them. But those same customers also want to feel like the influencer would use the product regardless of whether they were being compensated. That helps to build authenticity and increase customer confidence.
Communication is Key
Communication is also a vital area for retailers to consider. The ways that customers interact with them are changing, and customers who can’t reach out to companies through social media accounts may become frustrated with what they perceive as a lack of interaction. That doesn’t mean that every company has to be on every social media channel on a 24/7 basis. But companies that want to grow in the retail industry need to be sure their customers can reach them in ways that work for the customer.
They also need to be interactive, reply promptly, and work to make things right. That contributes to the overall experience the customer has with the brand, which is much more than just the product they purchased. Andrew Brooks, Sinclair’s CEO, emphasizes that customers also look for sustainability in the products they buy from companies today, because they want to take better care of the planet. Companies that are dedicated to sustainable options may bring in more customers than companies who don’t share their concerns.