Have you been to a local mall recently? If you have, you might have noticed the retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Some brands have survived and thrived, while plenty of others haven’t been able to meet the changing demands of consumers.
So what does that mean for your brand?
No longer does the status quo fit for any business trying to thrive in 2018 and beyond – there are plenty of changes to implement into a marketing strategy that will help you stand out and compete with growing brands!
Advancing technology is one aspect that’s altering how the retail industry works, especially as more turn to eCommerce and mobile shopping rather than in-store experiences. That’s not to say retail shopping is a thing of the past, but rather brands will need to reimagine how to draw customers in and stay competitive with more tech-savvy businesses.
What Stores are Doing Now
Younger shoppers – millennials and Generation Z in particular – are changing the future of retail. Hands-on interactive displays, pop-up shops, and invitation-style events are attracting shoppers who’d prefer to have an experience rather than merely visiting a store to pick out consumer goods. For example, hyped-up shoe releases during outdoor concert experiences, where orders can be placed throughout the event and delivered straight to your door before you even arrive back home!
Retail stores offering in-store experiences, such as a coffee shop or nail salon, are also attractive to shoppers. Nordstrom, for example, is changing how it delivers on customer experiences. New, innovative Nordstrom stores are providing help with a personal touch – stylists work one-on-one with customers creating wardrobes and answering style tips, in addition to assisting with creating orders both online and in-store. At brick-and-mortar establishments, Nordstrom is tapping into consumer trends by offering more pop-up experiences, inviting well-known influencers for meet-and-greets and product launches, as well as offering services that provide even more value to the consumer experience.
How to Move Your Brand Forward
Want to stay competitive with this changing market? Implement these two essential steps into your business strategy that can help move your brand forward:
- Trained professional staff
- Strategic plan
First and foremost, professionals representing your brand are critical to the growth of your business. To meet the evolving demands of shoppers, your staff needs to understand the market and demographic and know what will attract them to a brand – both in-store and through experiences.
This requires a good amount of education and planning, not to mention risk. Your internal team may be too overwhelmed, or inexperienced, to adequately manage a field team. To overcome these obstacles, many brands are turning to external strategic groups to help do the work for them. Aside from the obvious benefits of taking over in an area of expertise, strategy groups know how to tap into these markets and find experiences and solutions that engage and excite shoppers.
The second most important factor is having a business and marketing plan in place that will appeal to your target market. Does your ideal consumer love to visit in-store events to try products and learn through demonstrations? Maybe your target customer prefers to attend exclusive events where they bring friends to enjoy music or entertainment while also shopping.
Understanding your market and knowing what they consider to be a good experience is essential – you want best utilize your resources and budget for things that make a difference! A strategic partner is also helpful in creating a plan that will make the maximum impact on your future sales.
The Future of Retail
So where does retail go for the future? Industry experts are highlighting that carrying an inventory might no longer be the most critical aspect for a brand, but rather acting as a gathering place for consumers who want to experience services or events first and shopping as a secondary action.
What does this mean? Circling back to Nordstrom’s innovative strategy – more shops will likely adopt the trend that stores are now a place to try and test products out, in addition to being educated by sales professionals. Retail brands are going to need to have experienced, knowledgeable staff to promote and highlight brand benefits in these types of environments.
These new changes – especially with the implementation of advanced technology – will help brands get to know consumers even better for a personalized experience. Recommendations, hand-selected products, and interactions will be much more important to shoppers of the future, rather than just walking in and coming out with a shopping bag. bag.