Challenging Times for Retailers
Here are the scary stats retailers don’t want to hear. Online sales are up and expected to rise, holiday sales crashed, store sales and profit margins are also down.
It’s a challenge too many physical retail store owners are facing and few are coming up with exciting solutions. But just maybe, the birth of CX or customer experience might be a valid solution. Some experts think so.
Everything Seems to be Changing
And retailing dynamics have changed with shoppers shopping with their smartphones, to compare prices with competition or find product styles they’d rather have. And demographics are changing too. Babyboomers, especially females, will account for much of the spending in the coming decade, and they are buying experiences instead of off the shelf products. And GenY aged shoppers will be the most smartphone savvy group of any. Although older consumers are now getting comfortable with digital devices.
It’s stats like this that might help you reshape how you market in store to the new consumer segment.
Omnichannel marketing is coming to the fore. At first, it was integrated multichannel marketing but soon marketers found they couldn’t integrate it and the channels are becoming too numerous to manage. They’re feeling their caught in an all-out, anytime, anywhere, blitz offensive from unknown competitors around the globe.
Other grim realizations are that retailers are reducing their inventory including reducing national brands so now shoppers have less of what they really want and know about.
The Rising Threat of Online Retailers
According to a retailtouchpoints.com report, 70% of retailers with a brick and mortar presence felt they could outperform pure play ecommerce competitors such as Amazon. Today only 11% feel that way.
Figure 1 Screen capture courtesy of the Financial Post. Canada post is also getting into the ecommerce revolution with its direct mail service.
Retailers are obviously feeling their physical brick and mortar presence is a liability in competing with online players. However, retailers still hold onto 90% of the overall retail market. That’s a comfortable place to be.
Many feel the solution to the online challenge is to empower and enable stores to do more. Some believe making stores more smartphone friendly might be enough; that texting messages of interest while they’re wandering the store might stimulate sales.
Shoppers are definitely using mobile devices increasingly so it appears a complete mobile strategy is a wise decision. That in turn, may factor into a richer in-store (CX) consumer experience. And this is where you need to brainstorm.
New Ideas Needed
If you’re facing pressure from online competition, you may want to have a quick read of Inreality’s Gary Lee’s post Reshaping The Retail Store As A Powerful Weapon In Today’s Highly Competitive Omnichannel World. Lee puts together a basic plan for your CX project. InReality is a customer experience strategy and design firm that helps that helps clients understand and improve how customers experience their brand.
Victoria’s Secret is one business that has evolve from a catalog retailer to brick and mortar, and to ecommerce and does all of them pretty well. You can find them doing Google Hangouts, and even taking it to college campuses. Perhaps their own omnichannel marketing tactics can give you some ideas on how to spruce up your own events. And see this new app that’s dishing out coupons. Maybe it’s time your brand got a little sexy too!
And More about Packaging
Don’t forget to read our post on impulse shopping and about shopper engagement, the power of contests and sweepstakes, and on digital couponing strategies. It’s likely you’ll be using NFC technology in your instore promotions soon.
Thinking about improving your packaging? Take a look at our packaging survey results and what packaging readers believe are the key features you need to think about.