Will 2015 be the year that we see more convergence between online and offline stores? What is the latest with mobile phones and shopping? How will the interactive shopping experience impact retail? Will consumers only do business with brands they trust? Further, will they become more social conscious and only do business with those companies’ that they connect to on an emotional level? One thing is for sure — 2015 will be an interesting year. A year that will be influenced by both social consciousness and technology. Learn what our retail experts have to say about all of this.
“The Holistic Retail Experience”
By Scott Thaler, Chief Digital Officer
2015 will see the retail industry continue to change to a more cross-channel, seamless experience.
We can kid ourselves and believe that having an online and offline media plan makes sense. But the fact is consumers’ shopping patterns are not aligned with how marketing departments are organized. It’s not about choosing online or offline. Consumers are just shopping and using those tools as part of the process. But most retailers are still having trouble seeing the holistic picture.
2015 will find that the smartphone will become an even more important hub and catalyst for retail. eMarketer has dubbed mobile “The New Retail Hub” and points out that mobile is driving a powerful digital trend. Recently, mobile devices surpassed computers for online shopping. More than 70 percent of those polled by Nielsen said they had recently completed, or would soon complete, a purchase that they had researched on their smartphones or tablets. It’s a trend that will only grow in significance in the coming year. Technology is part of the purchase funnel, regardless of whether the final action is completed online or offline.
According to Forrester Research, in 2015, for the first-time ever, the majority of all sales’ transactions at brick and mortar retail stores will still be influenced by digital media. Offline is being influenced at the greatest rate ever by online. Retail stores will become increasingly co-dependent on digital media.
In spite of some retailers’ slow uptake with the cross-channel process, consumers will continue to drive changes to their shopping behaviors and actions. It’s not about smartphones replacing stores, or online sales replacing in-store sales — it is about how they are augmenting them. And, how they work off of each other.
“The Interactive Shopping Experience”
By Natalie Zauhar, Sr. User Experience Specialist
2015 will be about the Interactive Shopping Experience. Brands are moving beyond the traditional four-wall retail space, thanks to interactive shopping experiences that are tailored to each customer. While ecommerce will continue to dominate online sales, experiences such as interactive changing room mirrors or virtual window displays are bringing customers through the doors and right to the check-out line.
These concepts surpass mobile applications and step into the world of smart connectivity, which utilizes sensors, big data, and more. For example, imagine a trip to a store where they will know exactly which items you’ll want (and in what size) based on your past online behaviors. Intuitive and intimate shopping experiences help to draw in new customers while also catering to your core audience.
“Retail Advertising in a Better World”
By Lori Wiser, Chief Strategy Officer
2015 will be the year that consumers will do business with companies whose advertising is emotionally moving, heart-warming and purposeful. We are entering a new era where consumers want to hear about a brand’s purpose in its marketing. This goes beyond cause-related donations, and gets into a brand’s DNA, values and what it stands for.
The United States has experienced horrific violence and devastating economic uncertainty in the last 15 years, including the Y2K technology bubble; the 9-11 terrorist attacks; the 2008 recession; and a continuation of mass shootings in public places such as universities and malls. These unfortunate events have made us all somewhat risk averse and world-weary. As a result, brands need to appeal to consumers’ passions and interests in a way that directly contributes to a better world.
“The Year of Transparency”
By Cara Bloomer, Digital Copywriter
Consumers want to know what is in the food that they are eating, where the clothes they are wearing are made, and what companies are doing to impact their communities. That is because consumers are more likely to connect with the brands that they trust most. 2015 will be the year of corporate transparency.
Being transparent doesn’t just mean listing out the allergens on the menu (although that’s a great place to start). It means earning consumer trust by finding out what matters most to them. For example,
- Do your customers care about the quality of food you serve? Let them know you only work with sustainable farms.
- What about your company’s carbon footprint? Tell them about the recycling program you just implemented.
- What about the solar panels you are putting on your store’s roof. Let them know you support renewable energy and other sustainable products.
The most trusted brands with the most faithful, and frequent, followers won’t be the ones that are talking the loudest; they will be the ones that let their actions do the talking for them.