There is little argument among retailers that things will never quite be the same since the 2020 pandemic. How it will change is still a matter of uncertainty. Retailers are only beginning to adapt marketing and visual merchandising strategies to adjust to the shift in power between relationships with customers. Shoppers are demanding greater interactivity, personalization, and convenience, and they show little patience for retailers who don’t deliver.
In 2023, five trends in retail merchandising are emerging that retailers of all sizes should consider including in their plans to attract shoppers and keep them as loyal customers.
Social ecommerce is a retail shopping experience that is predicted to forever change the way people shop and who they shop with. In 2021, $37 billion in goods and services were purchased through social-commerce channels in the US. By 2025, that figure is expected to swell to nearly $80 billion, or 5 percent of total US ecommerce. Social commerce removes barriers and adds intimacy between shoppers and retailers in ways that only social media platforms allow. What makes it effective is innovative and convenient payment and efficient, reliable fulfillment services. The greatest obstacle retailers face is gaining the trust of their customers, and successful social commerce retailers realize the importance and opportunity to establish consumer loyalty and long-term value at every stage of a buyer’s journey.
Social media platforms become channels for retailers and brands to form deep connections through social commerce features like livestreaming, live chat, virtual shops, and augmented reality (AR). Social commerce marketing strategies should be customer-centric, using hashtags and SEO tactics, and built so it’s easy to be found. Retailers who understand their customers and the social platforms they use are turning to companies like Marketing.com to help them build robust social ad strategies and establish easy and efficient ways to fulfill orders by driven by this high-growth channel.
Consumers are expecting the businesses they buy products from to operate in an environmentally responsible way. Therefore, if a retailer hasn’t adopted sustainable practices, they should make it a priority, especially if they want to attract Millennials and customers from Generation Z. Roughly two-thirds of shoppers in those groups prefer to buy from sustainable brands, according to a FirstInsight report.
However, shoppers across all generations increasingly care about whether the retailers they support sell clothing or merchandise made from and packaged using recycled and naturally grown and harvested materials. They want to know about supply chains and whether sustainable manufacturing and efficient shipping practices are followed. More than half of Generation Z is likely to return a gift that is not sustainable, followed by roughly 45% of Millennials, 30% of Generation X and 20% of Baby Boomers.
Shoppers also want businesses to conduct sustainable practices in their print marketing and advertising signage. According to a Printed United survey. 42% of respondents think manufacturers should prioritize making all their printed materials recyclable. Retailers are listening, and as a result they turning to sustainable substrates and eco-friendly inks to create signs and product displays. They can also use QR codes or embedded coding with interactive print strategies that extend the life of a printed piece through digital content management platforms.
The retail pop-up phenomena began as a post-Covid solution to empty storefronts and the strained financial resources of retailers. Existing structures were leased temporarily and transformed into vibrant shopping experiences and used to spread brand awareness either as a step toward a permanent brick-and-mortar store or as part of a coordinated omnichannel marketing campaign.
From that origin, pop up retail has grown to mean mobile, agile, and revenue-generating stores that extend a retailers reach and expand its brand. They can set up shop where their customers are and move on to the next venue without leaving a footprint.
However, it also means that the retailer needs mobile marketing solutions and omnichannel strategies to help them get found when, and wherever, they set up shop. One effective strategy is location-based marketing that triggers messaging and alerts to customer smartphones when the shopper is near the retail popup.
Their greatest value comes when deployment is integrated into an omnichannel marketing campaign that combines the traditional selling experience with digital, print, and social media. Even in an ecommerce world, consumers like to see and touch products up close. Three out of four in the US are shopping both online and in store.
Retailers are only beginning to realize the impact pop ups can make to elevate brand awareness and increase business and profits. With a relatively small investment, retailers can bring unique shopping experiences to their customers.
As its name implies, hyper-personalization takes the ability of retailers to create special, unique, and responsive shopping experiences structured around customer data to an entirely new level. It optimizes the impact of customer data by using AI technology to analyze customer behavior and shared preferences at amazing speeds to provide actionable recommendations.
Personalization already matters to shoppers. According to a McKinsey survey, 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized engagements throughout the shopping journey and even more shoppers, 76 percent, get frustrated when it doesn’t occur. Where hyper-personalization differs from mere personalization, and the reason it’s changing the way retailers treat customers, is by using customer data to not only respond to, but also predict what they want from the relationship.
The benefits of hyper-personalization are far reaching for retailers. McKinsey research also found that companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than slower growing companies. Hyper-personalization allows retailers to stand apart from their competition by using AI based analytic solutions to create detailed customer profiles and focus on experiences that lead to greater and long-term value across print, digital, and social channels. Shoppers have more choices than ever. The companies that master hyper-personalization can also increase revenue through reduced cart abandonment and reclaimed sales with abandoned cart emails and social ad-retargeting. According to Wix, open rates for these emails are roughly 41% and half of the shoppers who receive them go on to complete the purchase.
Frictionless shopping is blurring the line between the immediacy and sense of trust in product offered when buying something off the shelf at a brick-and-mortar store and the convenience and shopping ease of ecommerce. It uses AI innovation called computer vision to identify items, and it would not be possible without the ability of AI to quickly process millions of images in real time to identify an item with 99% accuracy. As a customer shops, items are added and totaled for checkout.
It’s evolved and accelerated from online ordering and pickup during the pandemic and is driven by customer demand and expectations. Frictionless shopping moves the shopper seamlessly through ordering for pickup or filling a cart in-store to payment without wasting time in checkout lines. According to PwC, 43% of shoppers would pay more for greater convenience.
With all the changes occurring in retail marketing, two things remains constant. One is that retailers that place the customer experience first and foremost, and see every engagement and interaction as a means to developer deeper loyalty are the ones that will succeed. The other is that Marketing.com supports retailers with traditional and digital marketing services that keep businesses growing and relevant with their customers. We can help you connect the dots so your brand and message stays consistent across the always evolving omnichannel marketing landscape and find ways to make all your commercial and promotional print products and signage appealing and sustainable.
Posted in Retail | Posted on 08/22/2023