The retail industry is rapidly experiencing change after change. Here, in the latter half of 2022, the retail market will continue to develop and change as it responds to the demands of the customer. With the pandemic leading the charge to digitalization, retail & ecommerce marketing have begun to implement digital and technological changes in concert with intentional marketing strategies in order to continue to improve and grow. Here, we’ve combed through the top marketing changes to expect in 2022 and beyond.
The reality is that every business, especially every retail market, is moving to an eCommerce platform. That means there’s going to be a significant increase in retail competition. For years customers have been inclined to take a weekend trip to the local mall or store. If they didn’t make the trip, they could order and arrange for “in-store pickup.” With the pandemic and the resulting increase in online retail shopping, customers no longer have reservations regarding ordering online from a store across the country. Customers were forced to do so during the pandemic, and now it has become the new norm.
If customers are not shopping online, stores will be met with the challenge of delivering an experience to the shoppers. According to a survey done by Shopify, “approximately 57% of retail brands said coordinating experiential retail would be a top challenge in the coming year, especially with 95% of consumers expecting retailers to have COVID safety protocols in place for customers shopping in-store.” Customers don’t just want to shop anymore. They want an experience and to be immersed in the brand when they walk into the shop.
Having experienced digital advancements and the comfort of shopping from home, customers have become adept at purchasing through social media platforms. Stores have been forced to integrate the online experience with the in-store experience. According to Forbes, “Retailers are bullish on stores and are increasing store technology investments to differentiate themselves in a dynamic marketplace…While consumers have flocked to digital channels, the physical store remains ‘the most preferred shopping destination."
With this in mind, it's important for stores to bridge the gap in order to come across as one unit rather than differentiating the online store experience from the in-store experience. This is where the consistency of brand voice and tone matter because customers have to feel as though they are shopping at the same store, whether they are online or in the physical store.
There are few things worse than going to a retail store only to be met with a bored and unmotivated employee. That said, retailers are starting to invest in quality employees and quality retention. The hope is to unite customers with employees to engage in a more positive experience both online and in-person.
One-way retailers are starting to adjust the workplace environment is by implementing edge computing to maximize employee productivity and increase the customer experience while also dropping costs by up to 20 percent.
It’s not a secret that the better a retailer treats its customers, the more likely the retailer will become a trusted brand. Retailers investing and committing to employees as a path to a happier customer experience will reap the rewards of greater brand trust and solid brand loyalty.
Social Commerce is the practice of selling via social media. Instagram is one of the most popular social commerce sites, providing the capability to buy from individual posts. With retailers working on meeting the multiple needs of customers, this field is expected to grow by large numbers. A Morning Brew survey found that up to 75 percent of customers surveyed stated that they were already utilizing social commerce platforms like Instagram.
Social Commerce enables retailers to quickly and effectively reach customers. A single post can have hundreds of thousands of impressions. The ability to buy from that post only increases the likelihood of a purchase. With phone and social media use on the rise, social commerce spending is expected to continue to rise as well.
From the Morning Brew survey - 43 percent of surveyed companies selling via social media platforms say that over 50 percent of their income comes from social commerce sites. Larger retail stores have also faced an increase in competition from smaller eCommerce sites as well as niche retailers who are able to effectively crack the social commerce market with engaging posts, quality content, eye-catching graphics, and first-rate customer service.
One interesting and useful functionality of social commerce provides users with the option to receive notifications from favorite shops. A user will receive a notification when the social shop updates or adds products. This works as a remarketing tool; customers are reminded, and a touchpoint is added to their customer journey.
Effective social media marketing and selling will improve customer profiles and clarify/narrow the target audience. Retailers can choose social platforms with different functionalities and then run 90-day tests while implementing social listening and engagement techniques.
Surveys indicate that nearly 1 in every 3 retailers is worried about being able to attract and retain employees. With employees having a direct relationship with customers, this is a large problem for retailers.
Retailers have begun to implement chatbots to offer common and easy solutions to shoppers online. This lessens the need for more employees and provides a quicker response time. Instead of a handful of employees working on small easy-to-answer customer problems, chatbots are able to quickly and effectively take care of the consumer’s needs.
Retailers have also implemented streamlined order tracking for customers. Today, it’s easier than ever to ensure customers will be informed and confident while their order is in the shipping process. Transparency throughout the entire journey increases the customer’s trust in the brand. The more the customers know, the more they trust.
Retailers expect that in the next few years, automated technologies will increase customer satisfaction through order tracking, communication, and loyalty programs. In automating these fields, retailers may now focus on other areas, improving them along the way to increase overall customer experience.
With the advancements in technology, additional features, and the use of social media, retailers are met with interesting and complicated questions when marketing to potential customers. Retailers must continue to adapt and utilize the technologies being introduced if they are to continue to evolve. Doing so ensures the retailer will keep pace with the customer.