Posts tagged retail trends
The following excerpt, from the article Reverse’ showroomers browse online retailers to support local businesses, was written by Monica Guzman and published in The Seattle Times. After writing a recent column about the prevalence of showooming in today’s world of retail, Guzman received several replies from readers who actually do the opposite! They browse online for things they like then go to local stores to pick up the items.
Many of these reverse showroomers feel passionately about the trend, especially when it comes to books. Their testaments are proof that brick and mortar bookstores aren’t going anywhere. Read a few of the responses she received below then view the full article for more inspiring testimonials:
I actually do the opposite. I find a book I want to read online then call a few local independent bookstores (yeah, call on the phone!) to see if they have it.
What I do makes no financial sense, but I love the relationship I have with bookstores in Brooklyn [David, a former Seattleite, recently moved to New York]. I don’t mind paying extra to support them.
To me, the bookstore is sacred space I go to and I having trusting relationships with the people who work there to introduce me to great books. I almost see the higher price as a consultation fee that I’m willing to pay.
I don’t have a smartphone, so I actually do the opposite of showrooming. I check Amazon.com to look for publication dates of new books by my favorite authors. I then visit local independent bookstores and buy the books. I only ordered books from Amazon once. I was not happy about the way they were shipped or delivered. … I’ll pay the real price for my books, AND keep bricks and mortar retailers alive, any day.
The following excerpt, from the article Evolving expectations keep retailers innovating, was written by Vicki Cantrell, and published on Retailing Today. Cantrell offers great advice on the need to stay up to speed in the high-paced world of retail. To see a detailed example of how her theory can be applied to same-day shipping, read the full article.
In the 18 months since I joined the National Retail Federation, I’ve been struck repeatedly by how rapidly our industry continues to evolve. As we all know, retail has always changed and adapted — and in just the past 20 years we’ve advanced from then-radical game changer Amazon.com to more recent models like Hointer, which boasts what amounts to online shopping in a store.
There is a distinct theme emerging around all of this evolution. In an increasingly competitive market, it’s no longer just about new technology. Instead, retailers are now looking across the enterprise at all their assets with a keen eye to leveraging the full range of infrastructure, human talent, and, yes, technology, in their arsenal. And it’s not just the sum of those assets that counts — it’s how retailers are using and adapting them to create even greater value.
The urgency behind all of this, of course, is keeping up with the radically changing customer — from how they adopt and use technology to the products and service they expect, with zero regard for our industry’s notions of “channels” or other traditional ways of doing things. The good news: this rapid rate of customer change is pushing us as retailers to deliver products and services so much faster and more creatively than we would otherwise. For any retailer to be truly competitive today, the pressure to continuously reinvent oneself is absolutely vital.
All of this tells me that we’re already in the midst of the next chapter in retailing, and that the next several new chapters likely lie just ahead. Retailing feels distinctly different than it did even just a few months ago.
While none of us has a crystal ball to know exactly what the future holds, the priority is to identify and produce points of view on trends, business models, technologies and strategies that are shaping the role of digital in retail right now. As we move forward in the evolution of digital commerce, my advice is to keep an open mind, watch emerging trends, set aside some budget to adopt and test quickly, and listen closely to your customers — all tenets that have kept our industry in good stead for many years.
In the following excerpt, from the article Making Omni-Channel Retailing A Reality, the author, Michael Griffiths of MicrosoftDynamics, highlights the importance of creating a united system in today’s changing world of retail. See what Griffiths has to say below, then read the full article on Forbes.com for more information on how omni-channel retailing is impacting the industry.
Just about everyone in the business is talking about “omni-channel” retailing—an approach that transcends multi-channel retailing, to connect the web, mobile, and brick-and-mortar channels into a truly seamless customer experience. It’s what customers are coming to expect and, when done right, can provide sellers with greater visibility into customer behavior, allowing the retailer to understand (and influence) the customer journey across channels.
The key to succeeding in omni-channel retailing is understanding the new role of the store: the central representation of your brand. This means that no matter which channel the customer is using to reach you—brick and mortar, online, or mobile—your customers see your store as a single, transparent system rather than multiple channels with separate inventory, processing, and delivery systems.
The combination of multiple channels, markets, and devices highlights the most significant challenge of all: real omni-channel execution and insight in a world of applications that were not built to work together. How can retailers take advantage of additional channels, emerging markets, and new opportunities for growth when traditional business applications just aren’t up to the task?
Omni-channel retail may sound like a challenge, but offering your customer a seamless experience across channels, is easy with the help of MBS. Our POS, e-commerce solution, mobile application, accounting, analytics, text management applications and more are all tightly integrated, so you can create a cohesive customer experience with little effort. Talk to your MBS Systems Sales consultant about the solutions we offer and how we can help your store go omnichannel.
Technology – or to be more precise, the way consumers use technology – is a big factor behind major trends shaping (and reshaping) retail today. These trends, identified in a recent report from Bazaarvoice, include social networks’ growing roles; agenda-setting Millennials; mobility’s meteoric rise; and customer expectations of a seamless omnichannel experience.
· Shopping is social: Shoppers aren’t just stumbling into user-generated content; they’re actively seeking it out and making it an indispensable part of the shopping journey. Seven out of 10 consumers research online before making an in-store purchase, and the average shopper uses approximately 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase decision. After Dillard’s increased review volume on its website, it found that shoppers who looked at reviews with visual media were 23% more likely to convert. Consumers want e-mails, alerts, product suggestions and user-generated content they can filter and sort according to the attributes they care about.
· Millennials are setting the tone: Consumers born roughly between 1978 and 1995 are profoundly shaping the consumer experience; by 2017, it’s estimated they will have more spending power than any other generation. Just over half of Millennials say consumer opinions found on a company’s website have a bigger impact on purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends, and 63% say that knowing a company is mindful of its social responsibilities makes them more likely to buy from that brand.
· Mobile is the medium: By the end of this year, more than half the people in the U.S. will own a smartphone, and mobile traffic is expected to account for 40% of all data traffic. Forrester Research projects that smartphone-based commerce will increase from $3 billion in 2010 to $31 billion in 2016. Consumer users of smartphones (and tablets) become an always-on opportunity for retailers to tap.
Which trend do you think will most impact college stores in 2013? How are you addressing the issue in your store? Tell us in the comments section.
This week I attended Business Insider‘s Ignition conference where the topic was “The Future of Digital.” The topics ranged from digital content to advertising, to the rise of the mobile web and e-commerce to social media and technology start-ups.
The speaker line-up was one of the best I have ever seen including CEOs Andrew Mason (Groupon), Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn) and Jeffrey Bewkes (Time Warner), AOL Co-founder Steve Case, the Dr. Mehmet Oz, Futurists Jason Silva and Neil deGrasse Tyson and many, many more.
In this post, I will recap 16 of the best of the 137 slides presented by Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget on the state of the Digital landscape.
16 Slides On The Future of Digital Recap:
- While sales of PCs continue to increase, there has been unprecedented growth in the sales of smartphones and tablets in the last 2-5 years.
- Looking out to 2015, internet access from mobile devices including tablets will be a large majority of the broadband traffic. So the future is mobile.
- Many people said that people wouldn’t pay for digital content. But digital content is exploding. This is led by iTunes and Netflix but others like Zynga, Dropbox and Spotify are growing as well.
- Not everyone is celebrating. As news consumption moved online, some industries are being left behind. Print newspaper and magazine, as well as local and network TV advertising revenues are off significantly. While online and Cable TV advertising is up.
- The decline in Newspaper ad revenue has been dramatic: off 400% in just 3 years and now below the inflation-adjusted level of the 1950s.
- But after a dip in 2009, Total TV advertising revenue is up and looks healthy.
- In the coveted 18-34 demograhic, behavior is changing rapidly to time-shifted DVR, streaming video and gaming as viewership of live TV is down sharply. This forces the question of how long TV advertising will continue to increase.
- In the online advertising world, total online advertising is up and seems to be narrowing in on a 2-horse race between Google, Facebook and “other” as the main players.
- Drilling into online ad revenues, display sales are flattening and only Google appears to be gaining any traction.
- Although many predicted social advertising would finally bring down the banner, it is still a search-driven world as social networks accounts for a very small portion of referral traffic to e-commerce sites.
- Mobile is turning us into 24/7 content consumers as evidence by peak pageview traffic by hour. PC access peaks around noon, while tablet and smartphone peaks at bedtime.
- The gap between time spent and mobile ad dollars is making people bullish on mobile advertising.
- Mobile platforms is also a 2-horse race between Apple and Android.
- It’s the same story in tablets.
- But where are all the Android users. Mobile traffic to e-commerce sites is largely driven by Apple devices. It makes you wonder if Android buyers are using their device to browse or shop.
- Is the PC dead? No. Is TV dead? No. Is mobile the future? Yes. But we will continue to see the future of digital as a 4-screen world of TV, PC, tablet and phone.
As you start preparing for next year, you may wish you had a crystal ball to see what’s in store for your business. Lucky for you, for the past three years right here at Open Forum, I’ve been suggesting imminent trends that will most impact small businesses in the coming year. (See my past predictions at the end of this article.) Well, it’s that time of year again; and hopefully this list will help you position your business for growth.
The most significant change I’ve witnessed over the last few months is that both consumers and small-business owners have accepted that some things have changed forever. There’s also a sense that, regardless of technological advancements, businesses need to return to being more about people.
Here are the five trends that I see will significantly impact businesses in 2013.
1. “Crowdsolving” becomes a hot innovation trend. Some of the greatest challenges we face in the world, challenges that have to do with health, energy and education, are being tackled in unique ways. Instead of relying on the existing machines and organizations to address problems, innovative organizations such as the X Prize Foundation are creating competitions that reward disparate groups of individuals to collaborate and create innovative solutions in ways that had not previously been possible.
These teams can often throw off the traditional bonds of politics and industry class structures to think in totally new ways. This form of what is being called “crowdsolving” will make its way into the mainstream of business innovation. Asking our customers, vendors and employees to act as a community think tank will become one of next year’s hottest innovation trends.
2. Technology evolves to assist human contact. A great deal of technology developed for businesses over the last few years has focused on three things: making us more efficient, developing so-called relationships with thousands of people regardless of location, and enabling us to do more with less human interaction.
Instead of a world lacking human connections, these technological innovations have actually made it easier for some to create real human contact—one-to-one. For example, medical-monitoring devices provide the opportunity to create better doctor patient relationships and care; new scheduling and meeting services make it easier to connect in real life; and sharing ideas in virtual space leads to a greater desire to connect offline in social settings.
3. Content-filtering becomes a significant marketing practice. It’s official, we are all drowning in information and the days of “more content is better content” are coming to an end. Moving forward valuable content must include insight, and filtering should be a central practice in order to help people and prospects get what they need when they need it.Service providers will be chosen based on their ability to find and share the good stuff in addition to making sense of the changing stuff.
4. Visual simplicity becomes the desired communication method. From a design standpoint you don’t need to look beyond sites and services such as Pinterest, Pinvolve and The Fancy to see that people want visual content.
The current trend in Web design takes a cue from this desire for visual scanning and marries it with the need for simplicity and white space. Data visualization will become a renewed art form along the teachings of Edward Tufte. Keep things simple.
5. Tablet optimization becomes the mobile standard. We’ve all been rushing around the last few years talking about optimizing everything for the mobile device. The other day I witnessed three different women fish tablets from their purses while they were shopping.
The new generation of mini tablets are going to impact responsive design and what we’ve been calling mobile devices. Tablets and mini tablets will see a tremendous jump in server logs and become the de facto design standard for mobile content. That doesn’t mean mobile phone size browsers aren’t important, it means there will eventually need to be a divide in how we address tablets vs. phones.
These are just predictions of course, but when you spend enough time listening to, reading about and hearing from small-business owners and entrepreneurs, you get pretty good at understanding trends.
The battle is on between bricks-and-mortar retailers and their increasingly potent Internet adversaries.
Frustrated by once-loyal customers who have been wooed away by online merchants, retailers are gearing up with new weapons to stop the continuous flow of shoppers from stores to computers and smartphones.
With the holiday season approaching, some chains are vowing to match prices with their biggest online rivals. Others are offering free layaway and expanding their assortment of unique products or adding Wi-Fi and other digital upgrades inside stores to entice tech-savvy shoppers. There’s even increasing talk about same-day deliveries.
In California, traditional retailers are happily anticipating picking up more shoppers after online retailers started collecting sales taxes in September, losing a crucial advantage when consumers comparison shop. Virginia, New Jersey and several other states will begin collecting sales tax in the coming years.
“We think we have a huge advantage over Internet-only companies,” Toys R Us Inc. Chief Executive Jerry Storch said in an interview. “Every possible way the customer wants to use the Internet — or their neighborhood store — to interact with Toys R Us is available. The customer can choose how to do business with us.”
Online merchants say they are ready to fight. Nearly a quarter of shoppers say they’ll go online to do most of their holiday shopping this year, according to a survey from consulting firm Deloitte, and 75% said they expect to buy at least one item online this season. But Web retailers said they sense the competition with traditional retailers and are busy as well, kicking off their holiday ads before Halloween and expanding free shipping and other promotions.
Amazon.com, the nation’s largest online retailer and responsible for about half of all Internet retail purchases in California, has geared up.
“Every year we want to offer great deals,” spokeswoman Pia Arthur said. “We will have fun types of things going on for the holidays.”
It’s always a high-stakes competition for the retail dollar, and experts say this year it’s more intense than ever. And no wonder: Merchants rake in an estimated 25% to 40% of their annual sales in the last two months of the year. Shoppers this year will drop an estimated $586.1 billion during the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation.
“If the stores don’t do more, then they are going to become antiquated,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group. “But that is why they are doing so many things right now to test what works, and to tell shoppers that they are in the game to play.”
Traditional retailers will have to work hard to win back long-lost customers such as Paul Johnson, once a regular at malls but who now buys “almost everything” online.
“It’s such a hassle running around to stores trying to find anything you want,” said Johnson, a 30-year-old fashion model from Los Angeles, who prowls the Internet for items on his wish list — including kitchen supplies, DVDs and cotton T-shirts.
Best Buy Co. and Target Corp. are taking direct aim at Web merchants with online price matching, partly to grab customers who now use their stores as showrooms — to check out items and then go buy them more cheaply on the Internet.
“We are taking on showrooming,” said Amy von Walter, a spokeswoman at Best Buy, which has granted salesclerks the ability to match online prices for appliances and hardware including tablet computers and cameras during this holiday season. “It’s really about empowering employees to be able to match the price when it makes sense and make the sale.”
Target vows to match prices with Amazon and the Web stores of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best Buy and Toys R Us.
“It’s instant gratification for guests,” said Dustin Hamilton, Los Angeles district manager for Target. “Instead of waiting one day or four or five days for something to come in the mail, you get it right away for the same price.”
The discounter has also added free Wi-Fi to its stores and placed QR bar codes — which can be scanned by smartphones to bring up product information — on ads so shoppers can buy the items directly from their phones.
Toys R Us has extended free layaway until Dec. 16 and rolled out a reservation service so parents can nab popular playthings early and avoid frantic last-minute searching during the holidays.
“You can go order online and pick it up immediately at your neighborhood store,” said Storch, the CEO. “You don’t have to wait around home for FedEx to arrive or come home to the little sticky note on the door.”
Pinterest is a social photo-sharing website where users can create and manage theme-based image collections on a virtual pin board. According to their website, Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”
Because books serve the same purpose in connecting people from different backgrounds, many college stores are getting in on the pinning, too. For instance, University Store’s General Books department at University of Missouri – Columbia recently created their own account to share their love of books with others.
“My student assistant had seen several articles about businesses using Pinterest, so she started thinking of ways to apply it to our store and took the initiative to create our boards,” explained Chris Willow, General Books Buyer. “I know how excited I get about pinning, just using the site personally, and we both thought it would be fun to bring that same excitement to our customers.”
According to Willow, Pinterest is the perfect place to connect with the store’s target audience.
“There’s more to books than just the text, there’s a whole culture,” she said. “Readers are a very passionate group and often enjoy further engaging with the story line and characters outside of the book itself. Pinterest is just one more way we can extend that experience with them.”
For instance, the store has created several ‘boards,’ or collections of themed images, based on popular titles or those that have been turned into movies.
“We try to create boards based on what our customers have shown interest in,” she explained. “The Hunger Games trilogy has been a very strong seller for us, for example, so we created a board called ‘May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor’ filled with quirky tie-ins to the book and upcoming movie including everything from a MockingJay cupcake to stylized quotes from the main characters.”
Similarly, the store’s Pinterest page also has a Harry Potter-themed board.
“He’s a continual obsession in our world!” she said. “It’s fun to show readers that we share the same passions that they do. It’s a different way for customers to get to know us a little better.”
The General Books department doesn’t limit their pins to just books, though. They also use the site as a promotional tool.
“We remind our followers of what we’re up to by pinning events that are going on both in the store and on campus,” she described. “We’ve created boards that relate to the University as a whole, too., where you’ll find everything from our branded merchandise to pictures of landmarks on campus.”
The site is also helping the store to develop relationships with others in the industry.
“We’ve seen a lot of publishers using Pinterest recently and several are following us. It’s a neat way to see what’s up and coming in their world and likewise, for them to understand what’s popular in ours,” she added.
To promote their presence on Pinterest to students, Willow and her staff have spread the word using their existing social networks.
“We often tweet our pins to let students know what we’re up to on the site,” she explained. “You can also add a link to your Twitter bio so ours directs followers to Pinterest as another way to advertise what we’re doing.”
Although they’ve only been active on the site for a few months, the store can already see the benefit.
“It’s fun to be able to use technology to engage with our customers about printed books in a world that’s increasingly becoming more technology-driven,” Willow said. “Our hope is to help students understand the beauty of an independent bookstore and we’re looking forward to working toward that goal on Pinterest.”
In 2007, San Fransisco passed a law that banned plastic bags from all the city’s grocery stores and pharmacies. Since then, cities across the United States, including Washington D.C., Boston, Portland, and Phoenix, are considering similar restrictions.
Along with the legal aspect, many retailers are encouraging the use of reusable bags through Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) programs to better their eco-friendly image and cut down on costs, as well. But, consumers are busy and, some days, remembering to bring their wallet along with them can be challenging enough.
Donate to charity.
National consignment shop Buffalo Exchange has saved millions of bags through its Tokens for Bags program. At checkout, customers are offered a 5-cent token instead of a bag. As customers leave the store, they walk by boxes labeled with various charities and choose where to deposit their token. For each token dropped, Buffalo Exchange donates 5 cents to that charity, helping build goodwill with the community and positioning the store as a socially conscious organization.
Discount the purchase. Some retailers, such as those in Washington, DC, are charging consumers five cents for every plastic or paper bag used. But others are using a positive rewards method by offering a five to ten cent discount on the overall purchase price for every bag the customer brings.
Create a raffle.
Some Trader Joe’s locations encourage customers to use their own bags by handing out raffle tickets to win a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card each time they use their own bag instead of disposables. Trader Joe’s has some serious fans and the possibility of winning free groceries adds a layer of excitement and suspense each time they visit the store.
Sell reusable bags.
One advantage to BYO bag programs is that they offer an inexpensive way to create brand awareness and do a little advertising. All you need to do is sell your own bags featuring your logo, as retailers like TJ Maxx and Whole Foods do. Bonus: Better bags get used more frequently as customers use them for lunch sacks or shopping at other stores, increasing your branding power.
Just a reminder: Registration for the upcoming Battle for Books webinar ends TODAY at noon! Don’t miss out; join the rally!
The PSFK’s 120 page report presents key trends and macro themes that retailers, service providers and product manufacturers can leverage to enhance the shopper experience in order to drive sales. This 2011 version of the Future of Retail report is designed to inspire anyone involved in creating touchpoints that lead a customer through the purchase path.
Our consulting team‘s research yielded 10 key retail trends that sit within 3 broad themes: Online Expectations Offline Experience, Shopper Know-How and Redefined Retail Cartography.
Online Expectations Offline Experience
The popularity of online shopping is changing shopper attitudes and expectations towards brick and mortar stores. Customers now want the same level of convenience, access and detail that they can get through e-commerce sites, along with the personalized recognition and service that comes from learned behaviors. New technologies are helping retailers better respond to these demands by arming the sales staff with instant information and digital tools or streaming store-based services straight to the shopper’s phone.
Shoppers are using online tools and mobile technologies to get the most out of their shopping experience from planning to purchase. Instant access to information is enabling customers to take advantage of nearby deals, find the specific product they’re looking for and leverage their social influence to receive exclusive recognition. Retailers are responding to these new behaviors with new promotions and services to engage their savvier customer base.
Redefined Retail Cartography
The wider integration of technology within the retail environment, whether through digitally enabled displays or staff, is causing retailers to reconsider the layout of the store. When essential aspects of the shopping trip like checkout can take place at any location in the store, retail designers are focusing on creating compelling customer experiences at every touch point. Whether overhauling the dressing room or providing more interactive displays, these updates are intended to engage shoppers and drive them towards purchase.