Have a product to sell? “Pin” it up. Recent research cited on Forbes.com found that Pinterest converts more Internet surfers into shoppers than Facebook. Pinterest offers commerce, a showroom and social networking built into one site. But before “pinning,” retailers need to have their supply chain intact, understand the forecast and replenish these items very quickly.
Word-of-mouth marketing can go a long way, especially when it comes from a celebrity. Grocery stores are taking advantage of that influence. An article on SupermarketNews.com featured one Texas-based chain who works with suppliers to get enough product in stock before the mad rush following a celebrity endorsement. The influence these celebrities have is incredible. It doesn’t matter what the product is; they talk about it and promote it, and the effect is extreme.
Even today’s “omnichannel” approach could learn a thing or two from its predecessor, the shop on Main Street. An article on the National Retail Federation blog noted a few “back-to-basics” principles that still are relevant in the digital age: measure in-store traffic, mind the four P’s of marketing, and learn about customer needs in person.
Baby boomers have the spending power and in-store shopping preferences that retailers should pay attention to. According to recent data cited on CPExecutive.com, seniors per capita spent 57 percent more in average expenditures than their younger counterparts in 2010. The 55-and-older demographic is a fairly significant channel and retailers really should be catering to them.
Showrooming — when consumers try out a product in-store but buy it online — is a significant issue for brick-and-mortar retailers. A recent study illustrated that point: 52 percent of consumers use their smartphone to research products while shopping in stores. An article on MediaPost’s website offers tips on how brick-and-mortar stores can start ringing up more sales.
More and more consumers are using their smartphones in the shopping and purchasing process. A majority of smartphone owners use their mobile device to research a product, check prices or look for discounts while shopping in the store, according to a survey cited in an article on MarketingLand.com. Retailers need to be ready and incorporate this mobile consumer behavior.
The U.S. Commerce Department reports that online sales in the first quarter this year topped $50 billion. It’s the first time online sales have soared that high outside of the fourth quarter, when holiday shoppers are pouring onto websites, InternetRetailer.com reports. As technology improves, e-commerce sales will continue to grow, and retailers will need to devote more resources to it.
E-commerce is disrupting the traditional distribution process, a recent National Real Estate Investor survey shows. Retailers are selling goods through multiple channels, with online sales growing the most. Retailers can save themselves the shipping costs by taking advantage of their omnichannel. Customer orders can be fulfilled from anywhere and shipped to their homes.
Retailers can fashion an unforgettable shopping experience by arranging their merchandise in a creative and organized display. One regional accessory chain, for example, organizes accessories by color rather than type, according to an article on U-T San Diego’s website. When customers walk into a store, they should experience the “wow factor.” Retailers must listen to what their customers want.
Geofencing, the convergence of mobile and in-person shopping, is a new way for retailers to reach out to their customers. Stores and customers are approaching this new technology with cautious optimism, The Wall Street Journal reports in an article cited by The Low-Down. But merchants have to walk a fine line between adding value to their customers and annoying them.
As more people go online to shop, they are also expecting more of retailers. Consumers, according to statistics cited on AdWeek.com, want better-informed salespeople, the ability to check on local availability before they head to the store and the ability for salespeople to see if items are available at other stores.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.