Lauren Bates

Marketing Manager & Lead Storyteller

Here is the thing, as far as revenue goes, Retail is second to Healthcare. And regardless of what that statement means to you, there is some serious change going on in the retail space. For instance, 4,000 stores closed last year, more than 8,000 stores are projected to close this year, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.9 million people worked in the retail industry as of January 2017. But, that number is shrinking drastically.

So, what are retailers to do? Great question, right? We thought so too! So, we invited some friends and colleagues out to Winter Park, Colorado to consider just that, how is the shopping journey changing and what is this shopping journey revolution?

In this post, I will recap some of the highlights from our Brand Summit as we explored (what we like to call) The Shopping Journey Revolution.

To start, our CEO, Cindy Brown, focused on the key factors driving this revolution.

3 Driving Forces Behind the Shopping Journey Revolution

  • Commoditization of Goods
  • Shift to Experience Economy
  • We Live Online

shopping journey

When consumers shop in store, they are still online. They are looking to see if Amazon has a better price, if the store’s website has the size they are looking for or if the item comes in different colors (among other things).

Our brains have changed, and we now desire filters. Not the Snapchat kind that makes you look like a cute pig when in reality you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks, and you can’t quite remember if you washed your hair this morning. I am talking about the filters that let you find exactly what you are looking for. For example, have you ever gone jean shopping and wished that those piles and piles of denim had a filter button to get you the precise color, size and style you were looking for? You can see it, in-store shopping has changed drastically.

Aside from filters, we are treating our digital marketing efforts as separate entities. While this may have worked in the past, it certainly doesn’t any longer.

We cannot look at online as separate channels. Media is no longer just the medium. Media is your digital storefront. Here are some examples.

  • Interactive Ads in Magazines
  • Shoppable Ads on Facebook
  • Buy direct from text messaging
  • Shoppable Ads on YouTube
  • Buy from commercials on Smart TV
  • Billboards with QR codes

Consider “Always On” marketing. For fashion retailers especially, don’t look at collections or campaigns as strictly seasonal. Divide these campaigns into smaller chunks. Shoot your inventory as you need to move product or feature new arrivals. Think of it this way, those beautiful images that you shot for your spring collection are of high production value and amazing. No question! But, think of the influencers that post several pics a day! They (typically) aren’t shooting the outfit that they wore yesterday ever again!

What I’m trying to drive home is, keep your creative fresh by shooting in small batches. Or, keep your big campaign, but sprinkle in some flat product shots or lifestyle shots. And test often to see what your audience is responding to best.

This is not the year of mobile. In fact, that was 2014. So, make mobile your starting point for everything.

According to Google…

  • 75% of web users will be mobile in 2017
  • Faster pages see up to a 27% increase in conversion rate
  • 53% of browsers abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • 92% of consumers visit a brand’s website for the first time to do something other than making a purchase

Meet your customers on their terms by being where they are and showing them what they want, not what you want. Meaning, go beyond selling. Consumers are sold to all the time. So, stand out by understanding and connecting with your audience.

Marketers that are connecting with their audience understand who their most valuable customers are and segment them accordingly. After segmenting, the brand can speak to each group differently and engage with them in the way they prefer. Thus, building meaningful relationships with them beyond initial acquisition and purchase history.

Google’s tips to Future-Proof Your Business

  • Mobile is your starting point, for everything
  • Leverage influencers when engagement is down
  • Lead with your data

A lot of people have been trying to say that email is dead. Well, it’s not. But, there are ways that brands can reach out to their audience differently than they could a few years ago. Social channels (the newest being Instagram) are wanting in on the purchasing cycle, and they have a pretty big audience.

So, leverage social media channels for email list growth!

  • Instagram Shopping
  • Facebook Connect Lookalike
  • Facebook Sign-Up Tab
  • Twitter Lead Generation Cards

That just touches on all the ways that the shopping journey has changed and how we can leverage them. But if you keep innovating and trying to truly connect with your audience, your brand will grow right along with the IoT.

What are your thoughts? How are you evolving with the Shopping Journey Revolution?