Retailers that wish to thrive in the 21st century have been urged to make sure customers are placed at the heart of their business strategy.

According to Holly Ripper, managing partner of Green Cave People, several leading organisations are "seamlessly blending" their physical outlets and digital platforms.

For instance, she said Lloyds, M&S and Argos have taken steps such as using apps and social networking sites to incentivise people into going to their stores, The Drum reports.

However, Ms Ripper stated that if retailers are adopting an omni-channel approach, they need to introduce new organisational designs, processes and metrics.

"It means organising your business around your customer," she commented.

Retailers were also encouraged to have a "powerful and emotive story" that brings their brand to life, as customer shopping activities are being fragmented across a growing number of channels.

Ms Ripper said these stories could focus on the strengths of each individual channel. Therefore, companies with high street outlets could push their unique features such as the shopping environment they offer and an in-store experience that cannot be enjoyed via the internet.

Nick Adams, head of digital development at Mindshare UK, added that multi-channel retailers have been at the "epicentre of some of the most challenging and exciting developments in marketing" over the last few years.

For instance, he noted that some companies have experimented with methods such as social commerce models and in-store mobile beacons.

Mr Adams said this has led to the lines between digital and physical channels becoming increasingly blurred.

As a result, he believes retailers that are active across multiple platforms must make sure they are all working in harmony.

"The need for truly integrated cross-disciplinary thinking is more important than ever," Mr Adams commented.

He added that the emergence of ecommerce in the last decade or so has had a significant impact on the nature of digital advertising and marketing.

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