Retail is continuing to undergo significant transformation. Digital channels have provided consumers with seemingly endless options on which to research, read review, find inspiration and purchase.
Here are some themes to expect in 2020:
Consumers expect to be catered to and are seeking seamless experiences across channels. This has been a theme for some time now, but we are at a tipping point and this is becoming more and more crucial for brands to up their game in order to remain competitive.
Several factors contribute to how consumers perceive their experience with brands. One factor gaining traction is shipping and pickup options. Buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) has gained serious adoption, with 68% of US consumers having made multiple click-and-collect purchases, according to Business Insider Intelligence.
Additionally, the availability of BOPIS influences where consumers shop online with 50% of shoppers saying that they’ve decided where to buy online based on whether they could pick their orders up in-store.
Approximately two-thirds of consumers are receptive to recommendations from family and friends when shopping and social platforms offer the ideal way to discover new products, read customer reviews, and buy goods through social platforms.
The ability to purchase via social platforms through in-app purchasing is beginning to gain traction. Consumers may find inspiration on social media and then head to the brand’s website to purchase but platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are offering options to keep users in-app for purchases.
As of September 2019, Facebook is testing out new Dynamic ad options that allows users to buy directly from the post.
Instagram also introduced a checkout feature. According to Instagram, “When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or color, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out.”
Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly driving the need for brands to be authentic and socially responsible. They expect their favorite brands to represent their beliefs and values.
According to research by Cone, 87% of consumers, not just the younger generations, purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, and 76% refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can cover any number of things. For example, retailer Francesca created jewelry pieces designed for specific charitable organizations in which proceeds go directly to these organizations. Many brands also create or participate in events that promote giving such as companies like Petco who donated pet toys to animal shelters.
influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.
If you want to reach younger generations such as Gen Z, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to engage this audience. This generation places much more trust in their peers than they do in advertising.
When it comes to social media, 28% of consumers actively follow influencers. Of those, 73% have made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation, and 48% purchased an item directly from the influencer. (Alliance Data)
As retail brands strive to remain relevant with their customers, they must embrace the evolving landscape, new technologies and changing consumer behaviors.
Interested in learning more about retail marketing strategies and tactics? Check out our 2020 Omnichannel Marketing Success Kit.