Retail is continuing to undergo significant transformation. Digital channels have provided consumers with seemingly endless options on which to research, read reviews, find inspiration, and purchase.
Here are some themes to expect in 2020:
Consumers Remain Firmly in Control
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.
- 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty, and 69% say the same of personalized customer care. (Salesforce)
- 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. (Accenture)
- 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand. (BMP Consulting)
- 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. (Salesforce)
- 34% of global respondents say having the right product in stock was key, followed by 29% who said variety of products was most important to them. (JDA)
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.
Research shows that:
- 60% of people discover products on Instagram and 78% of Americans use Facebook to find new products.
- 30% of consumers would buy through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat.
- 74% of shoppers are ready to make a purchase through a chatbot on social media.
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 allow 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.”
Social Responsibility Will Be More Important Than Ever
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 which donated pet toys to animal shelters.
Influencer Marketing is Set to Explode
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 Omnichannel Marketing Success Kit.
Learn how Porch Group Media can help you get to know your customers better and reach them across channels to boost your marketing success. Contact us to get started!