Retail used to be a personal experience where everyone knew your name. The only difference today is that retailers don’t need to know names. A customer’s identity — in the form of preferences and likes — is what retailers are using in the current “Identity Economy,” to increase business, according to an article on the Unbound Intelligence website.
They are 50 million strong and are frugal, digital-centric and brand evangelical. That’s who retailers must adapt their messages to when wooing this emerging consumer group: Millennials. An article on iMediaConnection.com shared a few tips on marketing strategies that play to Millennials’ unique traits: focus on value over price; connect with technology; and make shopping a “feel good” experience.
It’s time for marketing to act its age, particularly for a burgeoning consumer group: Baby Boomers. Highlighted in an article on ProgressiveGrocer.com, a recent study explored the neuroscience behind the consumer behavior of seniors. Mature brains — defined as those over age 60 — have a broader attention span, are more emotionally balanced, and are still able to adapt as the result of experience.
Automotive purchases coupled with higher gasoline prices drove up August retail sales, and two major department store chains showed better than expected numbers, a recent U.S. commerce report said. Cited in an article on Bloomberg.com, the report found higher food prices and fuel costs are also impacting household budgets.
Instead of customers going to retailers, it’s retailers going to customers, says Scott Hartley, in an article on Forbes.com. It used to be that the retail industry had merchandising, the store, marketing and supply chain areas. Over time, aspects of retail started to merge together. These days, all those areas have merged and the customer is in the middle, driving everything.
A loyalty program should be more than a discount card, says an article on LoyalMark.com. A strategic loyalty program can help retailers retain a store’s most valuable asset — a satisfied customer — while building up the business. For example, point-of-sale services software can track a frequency of visits, how much was spent, and what the customer bought.
The fastest-growing retail sector has some curves. The demand for plus-size fashion is helping brands grow and reach new customers. A BusinessWeek.com article highlighted the trend: Over the next five years, plus-size clothing sales are expected to grow 5.2 percent annually, a rate nearly double of expected overall apparel sales, 2.7 percent annually.
Everyone loves a sale — even retailers. Big chains that survived the economic downturn are taking advantage of the discounted rent for prime retail space — and it’s spurring growth of new store plans. According to a recent industry report cited in an article on the Retail Traffic website, store opening plans reached a four-year high in July.
A major department store is hoping a combination of a variety of prices and footwear’s high profit margin will boost their bottom line. The location, which it is calling “the world’s largest women’s shoe department,” will contain 300,000 pairs of shoes in 63,000-square-feet of retail space, an article on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website reports.
A 0.8-percent sales growth in July – the first increase in four months – indicated shoppers are looking beyond the global slowdown, according to an article on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website. Sales in all 13 major retail categories grew; the jump was lead by auto dealers and clothing stores, followed by general merchandise stores and department stores.
Customer service goes beyond a store’s walls, with customers readily sharing their experiences on social media, forums and blogs. An article on Inc.’s website shows that companies shouldn’t try to convert every interaction into a sale. By focusing on doing the right thing for customers, those happy customers will become brand ambassadors.
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.