Top 10 Retail Trends You Need to Know: January 2017

Retail news you need to know for January 2017

Industry Trend #1
Apps are on the ups
App downloads increased by 16% worldwide in 2016, which should come as a wake-up call for retailers that lack a mobile presence in app stores.
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Industry Trend #2
Post-holiday 
The dust has finally settled from the holidays, revealing that online sales increased 8 times faster than in-store. 
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Industry Trend #3
Generation Z's shopping habits 
A recent survey found that young shoppers prefer a mix of in-store and online, strengthening the need for brands to optimize their omnichannel strategies.  
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Industry Trend #4
Target vs. Amazon
Target announced plans for its own in-app mobile payment service, potentially giving the retailer a competitive edge against industry leader Amazon. 
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Industry Trend #5
Online retailers get physical
Modcloth, traditionally online-only brand, recently opened its first physical location, making the case that in-store isn't dead. 
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Industry Trend #6
Starbucks wants to chat
The coffee giant announced plans to build a "virtual barista" chatbot into its mobile app that helps consumers order and pick up more efficiently. 
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Industry Trend #7
New year, new tech
In 2017, retailers are projected to dabble in new technology, such as smart shelves, robots, and interactive mirrors, to improve the in-store experience.  
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Industry Trend #8
Apps can't be ignored
It's projected that 200 billion apps will be downloaded in 2017. This year, retailers must secure a presence in app stores or risk becoming irrelevant. 
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Industry Trend #9
Trouble ahead for mall brands
The Limited began closing all 250 stores this month, joining a growing list of mall brands being left behind by the industry. 
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Industry Trend #10
Tech takes the stage
Paper-thin televisions and advanced smart home systems debuted at the International Consumer Electronics show. 
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Topics: Trends

This Week at Branding Brand: Monday Motivation and Furry Friends

 

#MondayMotivation #BBOfficeArt

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"Standing up in the morning is how we start our productive day!" @qikikey #InstaBrander #BranderLife (2 of 6)

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"This is how we celebrate app launches! Cheers! Yay!" @qikikey #InstaBrander #BrandersDoItBetter #BranderLife (3 of 6)

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"Join the stretch club! This is how we stay healthy and productive!" @qikikey #HealthyBranders #InstaBrander (4 of 6)

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"We’re wrapping up this week and planning for next week.😌 " @qikikey #InstaBrander #BranderLife (5 of 6)

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Topics: Company

Weekly News Roundup: Clicks to Bricks, Retail Lags, Target Pay

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Clicks to Bricks
Online-exclusive retailers like ModCloth and Rent the Runway are venturing into brick-and-mortar for the first time (Racked, National Retail Federation). Other efforts — besides Amazon Go — are pushing to get rid of store checkout lanes (CNBC)

Retail Lags
New report shows how customers are living in a mobile-first world, and retailers are lagging behind to meet expectations (Women's Wear Daily). But retailers can take their mobile experiences from good to great (Huffington Post).

Target Pay
Target will roll out a mobile payment system this year, and its younger customer base may help it succeed (eMarketer, Reuters). The move to a more convenient checkout could better position Target against industry-leading Amazon (RetailDive, Forbes).

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Topics: Trends

Test Your Optimization IQ: App Cart Location

Test Your Optimization IQ

We surveyed shoppers to understand where they expect to find their shopping cart:
  • Test A: cart in tab bar
  • Test B: cart in navigation

Can you guess where shoppers preferred to find the shopping cart?

Select a test to reveal the winner:

Test A: cart in tab bar Test B: cart in navigation

Topics: Design Solutions Apps

Brander Spotlight on Mobile SEO

Nathan Sankbeil, a Software Engineer at Branding Brand

Mobile gives consumers access to unlimited information at their fingertips, which explains why mobile searching surpassed desktop.

Google's Mobile-first Indexing uses mobile sites as the primary SEO ranking for sites. In other words, retailers must invest in improving mobile SEO to target their mobile-minded consumers.

To break down the basics of mobile SEO, we sat down with Nathan Sankbeil, a Software Engineer at Branding Brand.

Q: What is mobile SEO?
A: Mobile Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing a site’s visibility in search results, specifically for mobile devices. It does not significantly differ from the traditional idea of SEO.

Q: Why is mobile SEO important?
A: The majority of searches originate from mobile devices, so search engines are taking steps to ensure that users get the best possible results. Google, among others, have updated their search ranking algorithms to consider mobile-centric factors like usability.

Q: How does mobile SEO affect retailer sites?
A: Mobile SEO efforts benefit all sites. Retailers specifically may want to implement structured metadata on their sites if they haven’t already. This enables search results that contain extra details, like nearby retail stores or product ratings. More importantly, they are highly visible on mobile devices and can drive additional customers to the site and retail stores.

Q: Is there a difference between mobile and desktop SEO? How do they work together?
A: Mobile SEO is a superset of traditional desktop SEO, so all of the existing best practices apply with a couple new requirements. Usability items, such as using legible font sizes and easily tappable buttons, are very important. Additionally, retailers should signify a link between the mobile and desktop version using annotations in your sitemap or site’s code.

Q: What is Google’s Mobile-first Indexing initiative?
A: Google is testing the use of mobile rather than desktop sites as their primary content source when indexing. While this isn’t as large of a shift as Google’s “mobile-friendly” ranking change, any sites that serve different content for mobile should ensure that both versions include the same SEO efforts.

Q: What are the next steps for retailers looking to improve mobile SEO?
A: Mobile usability is a major factor in how search results are ranked, so having a mobile-friendly site is beneficial. Retailers that are already following industry best practices regarding SEO should continue to monitor their search presence for issues using webmaster tools provided by Google and Microsoft.


Can you check off the basics from our 9-point Mobile SEO Best Practices Checklist? Take a look.

DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST

Topics: Trends *HOT NOW: Mobile SEO* Company

This Week at Branding Brand: Coffee Brewing Lessons

 

Impromptu coffee lessons from @lunaropolis ☕️ #BranderLife #Coffeegram

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Topics: Company

Weekly News Roundup: Mobile Gen Z, App Downloads Up, Smart Stores

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Mobile Gen Z
Digital natives of Generation Z prefer smartphones over other devices, but they still shop in stores. IBM's report shares how retailers must "create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the 'always on,' mobile-focused, high-spending demographic" (Fox Business, Mobile Commerce Daily)

App Downloads Up
Worldwide app downloads went up 15% in 2016 (Venture BeatTechCrunch). With app downloads expected to top 200 billion this year, The Next Web shares how brands can create micro-moments to keep mobile users coming back.

Smart Stores
Advancing technology to create personalized experiences will help retailers grow with their walk-in customers of the future; sensors, interactive shelves, robots, and self-checkout are among the new technologies coming to stores (AP).

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Topics: Trends

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Mobile SEO Best Practices Checklist

Mobile-SEO-Checklist.png

In recent years, Google has shown its dedication to creating a completely mobile-friendly web. (Remember Mobilegeddon?)

Google made another change to its search algorithm called Mobile-first Indexing, which uses the mobile-friendly version of a website to determine the search results ranking. It makes a lot of sense after you know smartphones and tablets drive more online searches and web traffic than desktops.

Think with Google: There are more searches on mobile than on desktop, and more than half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.Source: Think with Google

To help you understand mobile SEO, we outlined the basics that will help you rank in search, including:
  • Robots.txt
  • Sitemaps
  • Interstitials
  • Canonical Link Tags
  • Alternative Link Tags
  • Title Tags
  • Meta Tags
  • Image Descriptions
  • Structured Data Elements

 

Learn more about each of these touchpoints by downloading the Mobile SEO Best Practices Checklist

DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST

Topics: Trends *HOT NOW: Mobile SEO*

Test Your Optimization IQ: Cart Appearance

Test Your Optimization IQ

We surveyed shoppers to understand how they prefer the shopping cart or bag to appear after they add items:

  • Test A: cart notification
  • Test B: cart counter

Can you guess which version shoppers chose?

Select a test to reveal the winner:

Test A: cart notificationTest B: cart counter

Topics: Design Solutions

Breakthrough Thoughts on In-Store Experiences

Woman scanning product tag in a retail store

As several big-name retailers begin downsizing, others are investing more in their in-store experiences—some for the first time ever—and adding mobile to the mix. Although the cards are stacked against traditional brick-and-mortar, omnichannel shopping is alive and well, and retail stores are a key component.

Request the recap for our webinar: "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?"

Hear from top e-commerce executives and what they're saying about the importance of retail stores and their upcoming plans for enhancing the in-store experience:

Farfetch

This forward-thinking brand already uses their smartphone and tablet apps to capitalize on Singles' Day sales, shoppable video, and more. Now, Farfetch plans transition from pureplay to omnichannel retail by opening a "Store of the Future" this year, which will focus on personalization by leveraging data.

The future of luxury fashion, we believe, will involve — to a large extent — the physical store... But the future of the physical store will be augmented by digital platforms. At this intersection of physical and digital retail, many new customer-focused, unique experiences are suddenly made possible.
— José Neves, Founder and CEO
José Neves, Farfetch Founder and CEO


Rent the Runway

After its flagship store opened in New York in 2013, more locations popped up in places, like Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., and Vegas because Rent the Runway quickly realized the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores—people with appointments purchase 26x more often than online shoppers. Its stores are outfitted with check-in kiosks, which help associates learn about shoppers' preferences, and offer customers styling sessions.

It's more like a club, or a place that you feel like you're kind of a member of.... We find for a lot of our customers, that experience is what makes them fall in love with our stores.
— Maureen Sullivan, President
Maureen Sullivan, Rent the Runway President


Nordstrom

Nordstrom plans to focus on uniting its online and in-store experiences after seeing sales drop for over a year. A new associate app is expected to enable employees to send recommendations directly to their customers from the retailer's online catalog. The company is also exploring self-checkout. 

The way customers are choosing to shop in a more digitally connected world continues to change, and we know we need to find ways for our stores to evolve with them. This is a challenge but we also see a tremendous opportunity to leverage our stores in ways that will allow us to serve customers into the future better than anyone else.
— Erik Nordstrom, Co-president
Erik Nordstrom, Nordstrom Co-president


Nike

Since the downfall of some athletic and department stores, Nike is dedicated to customizing experiences in their own stores. A multi-floor store in Manhattan offers brand enthusiasts adaptive lighting in the dressing rooms to see what clothing looks like in different locations, testing floors for specialized shoes, same-day deliveries, and more. Mobile integration plays a key part in their strategy, where shoppers can book one-on-one appointments for consultations. 

Consumers just expect more. They expect more immersive experiences at retail like you are seeing here.
— Heidi O'Neill, President of Global Direct to Consumer
Heidi O'Neill, Nike President of Global Direct to Consumer


Barnes & Noble

Potentially looking to expand its customer base, Barnes & Noble built a restaurant inside the store, which locally sources beer and wine, and is completely surrounded by book displays. Associate and customer ordering systems are an integral part of the in-store experience.

We know we have a lot to learn, and we welcome that. We want this to be a special place … and we will work to keep improving.
— David Deason, VP of Development
David Deason, Barnes & Noble VP of Development


Are You on the Road(map) to Success?

Branding Brand and guest speaker, Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher, discussed how to transform your omnichannel retail strategy and which retailers are leading the way with their online and in-store innovation.

Registration is closed.

REQUEST THE RECAP

Topics: Omnichannel Trends Solutions

This Week at Branding Brand: Healthy Eats

 

Starting #2017 right with a balanced lunch of salad, fruit ...and cookies 😏 💪 #Health #BranderLife

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Topics: Company

Weekly News Roundup: Hot Retailers, Fast Growth Online, AI Innovators

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Hot Retailers
AEO, Victoria’s Secret, and Everlane — one of the first brands to prioritize e-commerce — are included in Business Insider’s list of retailers to watch in 2017. Bloomberg explores if retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods can stay mostly offline and succeed

Fast Growth Online
Retailers saw 8-times faster growth online than in stores this holiday season (Fortune). Partially due to lacking foot traffic in malls, The Limited is working to close its 250 stores (Wall Street Journal).

AI Innovators
Embracing artificial intelligence technology, Starbucks will roll out a voice ordering assistant early this year and Cosabella matches shoppers with individualized e-commerce experiences (AdWeek).

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Topics: Trends

[WEBINAR] Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?

Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?

Registration is closed.

REQUEST THE RECAP  

As many retailers prepare to close stores, it's time to revisit your existing omnichannel e-commerce strategy.

While everyone was busy making their 2017 predictions, we focused on research that will help you prioritize your digital retailing roadmap to make this year successful.

Request the recap for "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?"

Branding Brand and guest speaker Forrester's Brendan Witcher discussed:
  • What challenges lie ahead for retailers this year
  • What shoppers are expecting from your online and offline experiences
  • How to exceed expectations and stand out from the competition

Bonus! Each webinar registrant will be entered into a raffle for a free strategy session with our experts.

 This webinar will not be recorded. 

REQUEST THE RECAP

Topics: Solutions Company Webinar

Test Your Optimization IQ: Product Color Selection

Test Your Optimization IQ

We surveyed shoppers to understand how they preferred to choose a product color:

  • Test A: color section modal (i.e., customization options take up the lower part of the screen)
  • Test B: color selection overlay (i.e., customization options take over the entire screen)

Can you guess which version shoppers chose to view the product color options?

Select a test to reveal the winner:

Test A: color section modalTest B: color selection overlay

Topics: Design Solutions

This Week at Branding Brand: New Resolutions and Office Art

 

BB's New Years Resolution? Be more like this guy 😌 #TreatYoself #HappyNewYears #BrandersDoItBetter #BBOfficeArt

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Just a dog & his developer 💕 #BestBuds #BranderLife #DeveloperLife

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#Views from the office on this snowy Friday in #Pittsburgh 🌬#BranderLife

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Topics: Company

Weekly News Roundup: Predictions, CES, Brand Fallout

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

2017 Predictions
A report by USA Today anticipates groundbreaking changes in mobile tech for 2017, along with expectations on shopping might change

CES
Consumer-focused AI gadgets took center stage at the CES convention this week, along with a TV so paper-thin it can be hung with magnets (New York Times, USA Today). Wireless charging and health tracking devices were popular among Innovation Award finalists (BGR).

Brand Fallout
With disappointing holiday results behind them, Macy’s and Kohl’s must revamp omnichannel strategies (MarketWatch). Also trying to stay afloat is Sears Holdings, which will sell off its Craftsman brand and close 150 Sears and Kmart stores (Bloomberg, CNN Money).

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Topics: Trends

Test Your Optimization IQ: App Category Navigation

Test Your Optimization IQ

We surveyed app shoppers to understand how they preferred to navigate product categories:

  • Test A: category links (i.e., selecting a category redirects shoppers to a new subcategory page)
  • Test B: category accordions (i.e., selecting a category expands its subcategory pages)

Can you guess which version shoppers thought was the easiest to find what they were looking for?

Select a test to reveal the winner:

Test A: category linksTest B: category accordions

Topics: Design Solutions Apps