Brick-and-mortar retailers are using storefronts as warehouses, logistics hubs, and entertainment venues in the wake of Covid-19 disruption.
After months of shopping primarily online, and taking advantage of services like same-day deliveries and curbside pickups, can shoppers be persuaded to come back into physical stores?
Spending hasn’t declined — it’s just shifted. One of the themes we’re seeing is that the standouts of 2020 are those who have shifted with it. We’re talking here about a broad definition of e-commerce — not just ordering things online, but any digital or mobile purchase.
For example, in local commerce, these digital fulfillment models include mobile order-ahead functions in QSR and coffee. They also include curbside pickup for physical goods. And in an even broader sense (and looking forward), they will include touchless or cashier-less retail in a post-Covid era of physical retail.
Retailers are only beginning to realize the potential of AR. As a new generation of shoppers steeped in AR grows up, their expectations will exceed the novelty acts the industry has put out to date. AR features won’t just be a one-off promo or tied to a game release; they will become the basis of the in-store customer experience, one that looks nothing like the retail of today.
Brick-and-mortar stores have contended with competition from the likes of Amazon and the steady growth of e-commerce, where testing is easily done. Yet brick-and-mortars can also take a data-driven approach to the e-commerce challenge. In-store experimentation based on advanced data science allows them to test everything from the store CX to its operations with relative ease and in a scalable way.
Real-world, science-based testing isn’t limited to product merchandising. It can be applied across a wide range of brick-and-mortar challenges, new product launches, store remodels, loyalty programs and more. A test-and-learn culture like the one described here can take a company’s research capability to the next level, helping to avoid failed ideas, fuel faster new product rollouts, maximize marketing ROI, and ultimately driving better business results.
Omnichannel creates a smarter shopping experience that benefits both consumers and brands. Data is shared across all channels, enabling stronger engagement and moving the consumer toward a purchase. For the customer, it creates an easier shopping experience and a stronger brand connection.
The notion of “helping you get things done,” emphasized by Sundar Pichai in his I/O keynote, provides a through-line for many of the event’s announcements. It struck me watching the presentations how thoroughly Google has become a consumer electronics company, a marketer of devices where search is more a central feature than a standalone product. Google, in other words, has become thoroughly dedicated to marketing its famous search capabilities in the context of devices that help you perform daily tasks. In the process, it is transforming local search and how we relate to the world with electronic devices.
Google recently sent surveys to a number of Google My Business (GMB) users, asking a range of questions about their local marketing activities and their level of interest in certain paid features within GMB. The survey suggests that Google is at least thinking about a paid version of the GMB feature set. For the local search industry, a paid GMB product offered to businesses of all types could be quite disruptive, especially if it ended up gradually degrading the value of organic listings.
Michelle Zhou: Location data can provide far better optics into consumer behavior than traditional data streams. Data from smartphones, social media, and other sources can track consumer purchases and migration in real time. Using data trends and insights, businesses can develop a comprehensive understanding of their customers and make the most informed business decisions.
How is the increasing appeal of e-commerce and other digital options such as BOPIS—buy online, pick up in-store—affecting retail’s biggest day of the year? One consequence, data from Reveal Mobile indicates, is the end of the notoriously colossal lines that used to mark the beginning of Black Friday.
We’ve all heard by now that Alibaba’s Singles Day—think of it as the Chinese Prime Day—shattered sales volume records, recording over $30 billion in revenue for Jack Ma’s retail giant. What you haven’t heard is that brick-and-mortar retail played a key role in that windfall.
Startup Happy Returns, based in Santa Monica and founded by alums from HauteLook and NordstromRack.com, offers a way for shoppers to return e-commerce purchases at real-world kiosks. Beginning this fall, Happy Returns will be setting up kiosks—which it calls “Return Bars”—at five campuses around the country to capitalize on the returns generated by back-to-college online shopping.
More than 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores are expected to close this year. But long after the doors have been shuttered for the final time, much of the local data for those stores remains online. For national chains, outdated location data can lead to frustrated shoppers and missed opportunities for sales.
Digital media company Captivate announced today that it is teaming up with location analytics firm Placed to measure when consumers visit in-store locations after seeing digital ads in elevators. Consumers exposed to Captivate’s digital screens are cross-referenced with Placed’s app users to offer a new location visit measurement KPI.
Marketers that fail to see local storefronts as a critical channel are missing out on a rich sales opportunity. Brands invest $70 billion in local markets each year, but a significant portion of that spend often goes to waste because they fail to work collaboratively with their local partners.
The mostly unreported story of Black Friday weekend is that much of the ecommerce growth came from “bricks-and-clicks” retailers, not pure-play e-tailers. The reason: Physical stores offer a critical customer experience and serve as a “brand anchor,” both of which support ecommerce for traditional retailers. Stores drive online sales because they instill a sense of confidence and trust in the consumer.
The vast majority of mattress sales still take place in brick-and-mortar stores. However, America’s Mattress of Onalaska owner Dave Weinberger says he’s found that millennial shoppers are increasingly doing their pre-shopping research online. In response, he’s begun shifting his advertising budget away from offline channels and toward digital tactics, like call tracking and recording, search marketing, and online promotions.