16 Jan How to survive the retail apocalypse
If you weren’t already aware, we’re currently in the midst of an era dubbed, ‘the retail apocalypse.’ Picture a sparsely populated high-street occasionally frequented by expressionless shoppers, shuffling side by side, armed only with an empty tote bag. That image is slowly becoming a reality as both retailers and brands fail to meet the expectations of today’s fast-paced consumers.
It’s a sad sight to witness a once loved brick and mortar store you relied on so heavily, vanish overnight. Retailers and brands should take responsibility, innovate and actively look at ways to enhance their high-street shopping experience.
Yes, this means combining online and offline channels to make one seamless experience. Physical stores, assigned aisles or shelves, website, packaging and point of sale should all ooze the same visual aesthetic, providing the customer with a unique, memorable experience.
When thinking about how to tackle the inevitable effects of the retail apocalypse, the ‘future consumer’ comes to mind. So, what does this future consumer expect from modern day retail?
The future consumer wants everything FAST, FREE, FAIR, SHARED and STUNNING.
A common behaviour of today’s ‘future consumer’ is omnishopping – first browsing/researching a product online or in-store, then completing the purchase either in-store or online. This new shopping habit is making it increasingly hard to predict sales, target efficiently, and remain competitive.
It’s sure to say, the future consumer won’t stop purchasing products through online channels anytime soon. Online shopping continues to achieve strong growth simply because of convenience and the sheer volume of choice available at a one’s fingertips. This huge market is acting as a magnet to brands both large and small, with online competition rising faster than the total growth of the market. This is not good news for brick and mortar stores, customers are harder to win, easier to lose, and fussier about price and user experience.
Has your marketing team incorporated a seamless on and offline experience that overlaps in order to enhance the customer shopping experience?
We keep hearing more and more about stacked customer ‘experiences,’ rather than a single ‘experience.’ That’s because successful brands and retailers are continuously adding ‘layers’ to the experience.
For example, OPRO grew out of the belief that all children should have the best possible protection during sport for their teeth and gums. This idea became reality by enabling easy access to well-made, custom-fit mouthguards obtained via an impression visit from a member of the OPRO team. This creation process is available offline and online, providing various options for their customers rather than solely catering to one market.
It’s predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
This means what you sell, how you sell it, and how the customer feels about their journey once finished is just as important as the initial touchpoint (website, packaging, and point of sale). The main purpose of a touchpoint is to convey the brands message efficiently, spark continued interest and inevitably end in a purchase.
Pull in with marketing, rather than push with sales.
Invest in a team that understands how your brand and product fits in with the latest packaging and consumer purchasing trends. If a customer browses the web or strolls down an aisle without noticing your product, you’ve made a fatal error. Packaging may seem like an after-thought of the design project, but, as you’ve learnt, it’s integral to STUNNING your customer and thus a key part of your marketing strategy.
Customers are superficial creatures. More than anything we are drawn to attractive looking products.
‘Listen to who you’re marketing to. Like designers, marketers must observe the behaviour of their customers for high success. The primary difference between the two is that the designer observes behaviour in order to design the best solution while the marketer directly responds to the audience’s emotional hopes and desires’ (Allison Fonder & Emily Engle. Nov 17).
We have ample experience designing and manufacturing a range of packaging solutions for various brands operating in different sectors. We designed and help source suitable manufacturing facilities for the Puma phone pack. To this day, our design is still on trend and never fails to impress.
It’s simple, businesses will not survive without an evolution that involves new technologies, risk, and continuous improvement. Focusing on improving your brands main touchpoints whilst simultaneously creating memorable experiences for your customers, will ensure your brand lives long and prospers during 2018.