FOR years, the threat of online shopping to brick-and-mortar stores has dominated the conversation in retail. The 2010s saw technological devices become more savvy and with that, buying things online became as easy as sending a text message.
In 2014, a PwC Global Consumer Insights Survey revealed that only 36 percent of consumers shopped at brick-and-mortar at least weekly.
But since then, weekly brick-and-mortar shoppers have increased to 44 percent in 2018, while purchases made by personal computer (PC) fell to 20 percent in 2018.
This illustrates that e-commerce hasn’t instigated the end of brick-and-mortar shopping – yet.
However, that is not to say that digital isn’t playing a big part in consumer habits.
The 2018 Global Consumer Survey conducted by PwC revealed that 37 percent of consumers look to social media for inspiration before shopping – making it the most influential medium for retail customers. Individual retailer websites were named second on the list at 34 percent.
It is therefore clear that while the brick-and-mortar’s faith is going strong and consumers are choosing to touch and feel their products rather than hoping for the best by buying online, traditional retail still needs a very direct online approach in order to remain relevant.
Online retailers predominantly make use of digital marketing tools like programmatic advertising, paid social media posts and Google search to promote their brand awareness.
Brick-and-mortar retailers could, very well, use similar tactics to drive internet traffic to their websites, but, if the trend highlighted in the PwC report is anything to go by, it is unlikely that it will translate into sales. Therefore rather than mimicking what online retailers are doing, brick-and-mortar retailers must use digital to refresh their approach to marketing, strengthen their in-house operations and back-end management; and ultimately stay relevant.
As technology advances, so too must the retail experiences. Traditionally, retail outlets – like a supermarket chain, for instance – would use television, radio and print media to advertise their products and services.
The chain store would pay for an advert to appear during a popular television programme and hope that at least half of the audience watching that programme actually stuck around to watch the adverts. It would then be praying that at least half of that percentage was swayed enough to go to the store and buy the advertised products. It was very much a ‘spray and pray’ situation.
Now, stores can use predictive analytics systems to gain intelligence and help them understand the past – i.e., why are these products selling better than those? Why were people not interested in this particular product, even though it was positioned strategically?
The data retrieved from this intelligence can then be used to predict the future. In other words, organisations can use predictive analytic systems to use historical data to predict what will happen in the future. In the case of retailers, they can understand what their customers’ buying habits are to gain insight into what their customers want then tailor their marketing and in-store approaches accordingly.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015