Producing Excellence in Retail!

To stay ahead of the changes in retail merchandising, we are constantly monitoring the latest shopping trends.

Using data from the GlobalWebIndex ongoing COVID-19 study, it’s been fascinating to see how the outbreak has impacted the shopping landscape, and which consumer attitudes have changed as a result.

This is bigger than marketing – it’s providing a public service.

Scottish brewer, Brewdog, has emerged as one of the leading lights of brand response, producing free hand sanitizer for those that need it, as well as opening virtual bars to help consumers undergoing social distancing.

This, while sending a note to its shareholders that it had lost 70% of its income overnight, and was forecasting some difficult months ahead. Brewdog’s two measures show that brand purpose during coronavirus is multi-faceted.

It’s not just about supporting healthcare initiatives, but going above and beyond to give consumers some assurance or entertainment in troubling times. It doesn’t have to involve a complete compromise of traditional brand values. 

At Impulse, we have adapted our resources post-covid, and are producing our own designed Sanitising displays.

Online & offline: a match made in heaven?

With individuals ready to return to stores, retailers can capitalize on the habits they developed in lockdown, without drastically altering tactics they employed before the outbreak.

For example, when asked what factors would most influence buying a product prior to the global outbreak, 15% of internet users cited click & collect delivery.

But when asked what they’ll be doing more of when the outbreak is over, 22% of internet users in 17 markets say “buying more things for in-store collection” – most prominently observed among millennials (26%), who are 19% more likely to say they’ll do this.

Not only does this service offer an additional means of attracting further customers, but increases the potential for customers to rack up further purchases as they come in store to collect their products.

Online shopping trends

Are consumers keen to return to physical stores?

The desire to shop hasn’t subsided, it’s just been put on hold.

In fact, emphasis on online shopping throughout this time may have contributed to a newfound eagerness to shop in-store once again.

Over half of all internet users from wave 4 of the coronavirus study fielded in May say they intend to return to the shops immediately, very quickly or quite quickly, having climbed from just over 4 in 10 in March’s wave 3 study.

Watch out for the huge growth in Social Media Marketing campaigns, as brands lose opportunities via more traditional channels.

With 1 in 4 internet users discovering products via ads on social media, these platforms are fruitful touchpoints, where businesses can continue updating customers. And these sources are important when taking their shopping experience further – just under 4 in 10 internet users research products in this manner.

Where do we go from here?

The high street is sure to be a very different place, while e-commerce – having filled the void in the meantime – isn’t likely to decline in popularity.

Speculating on the future of retail, the Washington Post highlights how much of the shopping habits we had grown accustomed to are no longer achievable in a post-COVID world;

“Gone, they say, are the days of trying on makeup or playing with toys in the aisles. The focus now is on making shopping faster, easier and safer to accommodate long-term shifts in consumer expectations and habits”.

Even for the world’s biggest clothing retailer, Inditex, this is a rising challenge that has to be addressed, with the company announcing a $3 billion investment over the next three years to develop a “fully integrated store and online model”.

Citing a 95% jump in online sales from the same month last year – and up 50% in the first quarter of its fiscal year – Inditex said it expects online sales to reach more than 25% of total sales by 2022, up from 14% in 2019.

But these methods can only go so far, and for retailers that rely on a “try before you buy” consumer mindset, online strategies might pose an obstacle – at least in the beginning, before it’s understood how challenges can be met.

The beauty industry, for example, has started to ramp up its use of AR (Augmented Reality) in order to overcome the challenge, with MAC Cosmetics one of the latest beauty giants to jump in on the trend, launching a virtual try-on feature in partnership with the application, YouCam, which allows users to virtually apply and experiment beauty products before making a purchase.

By introducing measured means of attracting customers back in-store, rewarding customers with incentives or emulating the in-store experience online, businesses can begin their slow recovery, as the path to purchase adapts to a new normal.

The opportunities are vast to make your brand noticed and exciting in store. We are working on some new innovative solutions with brands, its been great to get back to what we’re good at. We will share more details when we are able to.

Mean-time, contact us here to work on your next project.

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