Technology is Another Tool for Businesses to Reach Customers

Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber recognizes Sunset Foods' contributions to community at annual breakfast.


Rather than talk shop, City Manager Bob Kiely and Village Administrator Drew Irvin got down to business.

Before Thursday morning’s large gathering at the annual Business and Government Breakfast at the Deer Path Inn, the duo chose to talk to business owners in the audience about how to connect in a physical and digital way with their customers.

“Everyone in this room is in the service business,” Kiely said. “If you can’t connect to your customers in those ways , your life may be very different and not in a positive way. This is what this generation is looking for. These new shoppers are looking for an experience.”

The discussion made a for a perfect segueway to introduce the new mobile app for both Lake Forest and Lake Bluff called “Live Work Play” which allows the user access to city and village services, businesses, schools and retail websites. The “Play” section of the App features a business directory housing “perks.” Each perk is set and controlled by the businesses and serves as a coupon and/or loyalty card.

Integrating digital with traditional customer service is part of a model both Kiely and Irvin pointed to from an article titled, Future of Shopping, in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review.

“It’s an integrated system of retailing,” Kiely noted. “It isn’t just the physical space of the store, it isn’t just online, and it’s bringing all of these technologies and experiences together for the customer.”

Irvin said even in government, they look at the best avenues to communicate to their customers just like businesses.

“Think about how you touch your customers,” Irvin said. “How do you do that and how do you want to do that.”

Irvin noted the article refers to three levels of customer contact – single, multi-level and the Omni Channel. :

“The goal to get to the Omni channel; it’s all digital, it’s all one brand,” Irvin said.

Irvin suggested the online Apple Store as an example, where users can shop, book appointments at an Apple Store and interact with customer service.

“Those experiences, the perfect integration of communication, sales and services – that’s the goal – it’s not easy but where it’s headed,” Irvin said.

For information on the mobile app, businesses can contact Susan Kelsey with the Office of Economic Development, (847) 613-7005.

Chamber Honors Sunset Foods

Chamber President Irene Ratliff presented the 2012 Community Leadership Award to John Cortesi, president and CEO of . The grocery store chain is celebrating its 75th year with its stores in Highland Park, Lake Forest and Northbrook. The Lake Forest store has been opened since 1965.


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