Should brand marketers overhaul their retail marketing strategies? Well, that might be a bit extreme. Nevertheless, some changes are in order.
Changes? Aren’t brand marketers solidly plugged into e-commerce? Why tamper with digital success? Because changes are rocking the retail sector. Big changes. The kind that demands quick reflexes, keen insight, and flawless adaptability.
According to ShopperTrak, a data analytics firm, the booming U.S. economy is reshaping shopper habits. Not only are customers buying more, but they’re also buying it in-store. That’s right. Shoppers are pouring back into once-neglected brick n’ mortar establishments.
ShopperTrak spotted the trend during the 2017 holiday season. Until that point, foot traffic had been nosediving. But last year’s holidays saw the decline reverse by about 50%. The upward trend has continued ever since.
This remarkable turn of events contrasts sharply with conditions prevailing only a few years before. E-commerce sales were soaring. And as digital retailers devoured market share, many a conventional outlet struggled to keep the lights on.
While the physical store’s resurgence might surprise many, this turn-of-events may not be the biggest surprise. What could be even more eye-opening is a demographic factor.
According to Profitect, a prescriptive analytics provider, a sizeable segment of Gen Z customers (ages 18-22) prefer in-store purchases. Based on its survey, 42% of Gen Z customers preferred brick n’ mortar to e-commerce, 34% used both types of retail options, and only 23% gave preference to digital.
Survey respondents cited numerous reasons for their brick n’ mortar preference. Among them were a convenient location, simplicity of returning unwanted merchandise, and in-store experience.
The in-store experience is ranked high by shoppers on all levels of the demographic spectrum. Accordingly, retail owners and managers are reconstructing the in-store experience to sync with customer preferences. Shoppers aren’t expecting a trip to the moon. But they are anticipating a certain amount of wow.
All of which is a clarion call to brand marketers targeting the retail sector. Current conditions demand the proper allocation of resources to both e-commerce and brick n’ mortar. Ignoring these conditions almost certainly will leave you out in the cold this holiday season.
If you have questions or comments about current trends in retail marketing, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.