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Challenges at Retail | WMI

Posted by Ann D'Adamo on Jan 8, 2016 3:30:00 AM

WMI Retail Challenges Header WMI

During the recession, Americans severely cut back on discretionary spending. Fast forward eight years, the economy has largely recovered, but consumers haven’t reverted to their pre-recession consumption habits. According to a recent study, 40% of women said they cut back on shopping because they realized they simply didn’t need “all that stuff.” But that doesn’t mean that consumers have stopped spending, rather, they’re more discerning about the products they’ll buy. Marketers now need to demonstrate how their products will enhance consumers’ lives and why they need them. Women’s Marketing takes a look at the challenges retailers face and the opportunities to innovate retail experience.

Webrooming or Showrooming

Eighty-one percent of consumers say they regularly research products online before heading out to the store. By the time they arrive at your door, 33% of consumers have already decided which products they will be purchasing and 90% won’t change their mind in-store. With digital marketing making pre-shopping easier, the brand decision is moving further off the shelf. Retailers and brands must create a seamless experience, using omnichannel marketing to reach shoppers during the webrooming phase and reinforcing the message at retail.

What Makes You Special?

Brands that haven’t differentiated themselves in the marketplace may be struggling because women have two or three brands they perceive to be “equally good.” This is especially notable for mass beauty and hand/body care, where half of shoppers switch between a few name brands, often with price being the deciding factor. Researchers found this trend is strongest among thrifty millennial consumers. Geo-targeting, in-store beacons, targeted social media, and strategic marketing and awareness campaigns keep brands top-of-mind for consumers.

Experience is Everything

Although shoppers research products online, they still enjoy the emotional experience of in-store shopping. Eighty-five percent of consumers surveyed said they preferred to shop in store because they like to touch and feel products before they make a decision. And, although the tactile experience is important, consumers also value face-to-face interaction with store employees. In fact, 90% of consumers say they are somewhat, or extremely likely to make a purchase when they receive assistance from a knowledgeable sales associate. This is especially true for consumers of luxury products. Beauty retailers like Sephora are banking on this strategy in their new TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) boutiques that allow consumers to try products, take classes, and receive advice on the latest make-up techniques from their in-store experts. Fashion retailers are creating unique in-store experiences through technology. Designer Rebecca Minkoff’s dressing rooms include smart-mirror technology that can recommend complementary product or summon a salesperson, either to fetch another size or bring a glass of Champagne! Burberry and Macy’s are also introducing in-store technology to enhance the retail experience.

Is your brand struggling to stand out in an increasingly competitive retail marketplace? Contact us today to gain insight on marketing to women and learn how Women’s Marketing can put our experience in growing some of the world’s biggest brands to work for you.

Sources: WSL Shopper Insights, Social Times 81% of Consumers Conduct Online Research Before Making Purchase, The 2015 TimeTrade State of Retail Report

Filed Under: Fashion, Integrated, Industry News, Digital