We've made it past the Great Recession and are all adapting to the new digital world we live in. Still fighting for that consumer dollar is as tough as ever. As we're now half way through 2016, I thought we'd take a look at what are the top issues retailers are facing today when it comes to marketing their stores as the place to buy whatever product/service they're selling. In no particular order, here's my top 10 list:
- Attracting Millennial Shoppers. We've written about how to attract them in a number of previous posts. But this is a large demographic group that doesn't respond to traditional retail marketing techniques the same as previous generations. It is a generation with a lot of student debt, yet they're willing to pay more for the right experiences or a company that exhibits the same values as they do.
- Making Sure You're Mobile. Each passing year, we find more and more web traffic is coming from mobile devices. Many people do the majority of their online browsing and shopping on their phone or tablet. Retailers need to make sure their online presence not only works on mobile devices, but offers a good mobile experience.
- Price Transparency. With consumers doing cross-channel checking of your prices and comparing them with other places online, you need to make sure your pricing is consistent on all channels. It's easy for a consumer to find inconsistencies. So, if you're operating in silos that may show different pricing in different channels, you need to get everyone in line.
- Vying for Media Time. This summer and fall, retailers will have some big competition for broadcast air time, with the Olympics this summer and political advertising between now and November. Our media director recently penned post with strategies to make sure your spots don't get bumped by political advertising, you can check it out here.
- Omnichannel integration. It's important that you are consistent across all channels and use them to your full advantage. But, it's not easy. Policies need to be streamlined and integrated to make everything work seamlessly at every customer touch point. Your advertising channels, social channels, the online experience and the in-store experience all need to work hand-in-hand to give the same brand experience at every level.
- Economic Conditions. The Great Recession may be past, but there is still a lot of consumer uneasiness out there. People are being more careful about what they spend their money on these days and continue to look for deals, regardless of their economic level. Retail marketing that presents the consumer with a perceived great deal is still a major factor in driving business and store traffic.
- Creating 1-to-1 Communications. In this age of data, digital and personalization your customers expect their experiences with you to be personalized to their own specific wants and needs. The tools are in place to do this, but it isn't easy for some retailers to pull off. And it doesn't come without some additional costs – both in terms of time and money.
- Online Competition. This is nothing new and it affects some retail segments more than others. However, competition from eCommerce sites continues to be a concern for brick and mortar retailers. Two strategies to combat this is to offer your own eCommerce in addition to your in-store offerings or to make the in-store experience unique and compelling enough to bring in traffic.
- Shifting Consumer Tastes. The consumer has always been fickle, but with "trending topics" running across everyone's feed constantly and a super computer in their pocket at all times, tastes and wants shift exponentially faster today. Getting ahead of this shifting desires and having the right products or services in place when they want them is becoming more difficult. Fortunately, retailers have the same tools available to them to keep them apprised of shifting consumer trends.
- Customer Loyalty. With the ability to research products always at their fingertips, customers are less loyal to one retailer than ever before. Retailers need to find new and interesting ways to create that loyalty and to market their loyalty programs.
Those are the issues I see affecting retail marketing the most mid-way through the year. Did I miss anything? What else do you see as a pressing problem and opportunity for smart retailers?