Branding Brand, on 2/24/17 2:00 PM
Alison Judge, on 2/24/17 8:30 AM
Here's what our team is reading this week...
Retail's survival-of-the-fittest game will be determined by digital and in-store strategy (Women's Wear Daily). Behind the scenes, AI becomes increasingly more relevant in the fashion industry (Glossy).
Drone-delivered packages could start coming from a new "rolling warehouse" system by UPS (Bloomberg, Inc. Magazine). The shipping technology likely won't take hold until 2020 (RetailDIVE).
Department stores might be too big to succeed, but there's still potential (FORTUNE, eMarketer, RetailDIVE). Competing with Amazon's shipping model is starting to shake out as revenue loss for major players (CNBC, FORTUNE).
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Emily Hower, on 2/22/17 8:30 AM
There's no denying that Amazon is currently the retailer to beat. However, the iGeneration, also known as Generation Z, could be part of the motivation behind Amazon's ventures into brick-and-mortar. NRF reports that 98% of these shoppers say they prefer to purchase in-store, and with an estimated $44 billion in buying power, brands can't afford to ignore them.
Born between the mid 1990s and early 2000s, Gen Z members are digital natives—they grew up with technology and are hardwired to know how to use it. Knowing this, it would make sense if this group was Amazon-obsessed. However, reports cite an increase in demand for fresh in-store experiences, and the iGeneration is already leaving behind brands that can't adapt.
A Business of Fashion article states:
"Today's teens live out their lives on social media, where social currency is built on experiences. 'They don't want to buy stuff. They're buying an experience and the product they get through it is kind of a bonus.'"
Purchasing on Amazon is less about creating a memorable experience and more about immediacy and convenience, which is the opposite of what Gen Z-ers are seeking. Brands unavailable on Amazon should focus on building out customer loyalty programs catered to meeting the demands of digital natives. Traditional retailers can also capitalize on Amazon's strategy by launching mobile apps that streamline the omnichannel experience.
As a Gen Z-er myself, I'm likely to post an Instagram photo showing off my new headphones, but there's no reason to include that they're from Amazon unless I'm complaining about a problem. On the other hand, if I spent the day out shopping with friends Snapchatting and taking photos, I'm more inclined to Instagram my new purchases, detailing my experiences that day and sharing where I shopped.
In short, digital natives seek shareable experiences that the e-commerce giant can't provide—unless they're trying out Amazon Go or Amazon Books stores. Learn more about how your brand can combat Amazon and win in the ever-changing retail landscape by signing up for our upcoming webinar.
Alison Judge, on 2/21/17 11:11 AM
Women's Wear Daily included insights from Branding Brand's most recent webinar in a story about omnichannel retailing.
Here's a clip:
Growth prospects for integrated customer experiences are poised to rise and swift, successful transitions to omnichannel dialogs between retailers and consumers could likely determine survival of the fittest.
And most likely, that dialog (and hopefully conversions) will occur on a mobile device. Mobile commerce is pegged to garner 45 percent of total e-commerce by 2020, reaching $284 billion in sales, according to a BI Intelligence report.
The journey there is expected to be challenging as retail’s landscape has evolved into a battlefield of pure-play, bricks-and-clicks and brick-and-mortar brands. Success hinges on the adoption of emerging technologies and strategic customer communication. “Faced with a plethora of choices and communications, consumers tend to fall back on the limited set of brands that have made it through the wilderness of messages,” according to researchers at McKinsey & Co. Today, retailers are tasked with the challenge of cleverly navigating through this wilderness to connect to customers in a way that is both personal and profitable.
Omnichannel retailing underscores engagement at all levels: in-store, online, mobile and social media. Branding Brand, the largest retail app and mobile commerce platform, envisions a future led by real-time commerce — fueled by a seamless shopping experience.
“Retailers must connect all touch points in the buying journey,” a cyclical process that integrates personalization, engagement, data gathering, observation and the development of customer and associate apps, noted researchers at Branding Brand. “Even if a customer starts and ends the buying process in the same channel, there are many touch points in between when they’re researching and comparing products,” they observed.
And while those touch points are increasingly done online and via apps, physical stores still have a vital role to play. Amid store closings at The Limited, Macy’s, Office Depot, CVS and Wet Seal, there is a concurrent resurgence of brick-and-mortar store openings for digitally native pure-play brands — the likes of Amazon, Modcloth and Rent the Runway — that are ahead of the curve in their customer experience curation.
“Being able to touch and feel products at physical stores often makes customers more comfortable buying apparel and accessories. Storefronts also act as advertisements and can boost the prestige associated with a brand,” CB Insights said in a separate report.
Meanwhile, retail mobile activity has become a preferred form of engagement, with 74 percent of customers shopping in-app while waiting in store lines, according to Branding Brand. Though only 21 percent of smartphone owners had a range of three to five retail apps on their device as reported in an October 2015 comScore survey, vast improvements in the mobile sector allude to a surge of growth. “Advances in smartphone technologies, upgraded mobile networks and mobile-specific digital tools and platforms are making both mobile commerce and location-based services a reality. This, in turn, enables brands and consumers to engage with one another anytime, anywhere,” said researchers in a report from Deloitte.
Effectively, consumers now anticipate the conveniences and amenities of real-time communication, with most expecting to use shopping apps for purchasing products, tracking orders, earning rewards, accessing or saving coupons and browsing products. “Individualization means engaging in real-time by listening, measuring, assessing and addressing intent across every enterprise touch point,” Branding Brand stated. This practice marks the shift from transactional commerce to “conversational commerce.”
A full recap from the referenced webinar "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?" is available below.
Branding Brand, on 2/17/17 2:00 PM