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Three CPG Market Trends to Watch Out for in 2019 and Beyond

The consumer packaged goods market is constantly evolving. While the use of technology remains an integral part of customer outreach, it’s most effective when partnered with physical marketing tactics.

This is creating new challenges for brand marketers when it comes to driving the customer in-store through an online platform and personalizing their experience through brick-and-mortar methods to improve conversion rates. The better their in-store experience, the more loyal they’ll grow to your brand.

According to Deloitte in their 2019 Consumer Products Outlook report, “The continued growth of direct-to-consumer brands, the reemergence of pop-up stores, and online retailers developing a brick-and-mortar presence are all accelerated by the deployment of disruptive technologies, creating more avenues for brands to have a dialogue with consumers.”

So, what can brand marketers do to drive sales and maximize profits in coming years?

Open Pop-Up Stores

Pop-up stores are trending in 2019. In pop-up stores, customers can directly engage with your brand without you having to invest in the overhead costs of a conventional retail store.

The temporary nature of pop-up stores creates a fun experience that gets customers excited to shop. With every single item “available for a limited time only” by default, pop-ups evoke a sense of urgency to shoppers to make more purchases.

Pop-up stores are especially beneficial during peak sales times, such as the holidays. They present a great opportunity to utilize physical marketing materials like creative signage and POS displays to drive customers into your store and increase demand.

mall-shop-high-conversion

Establish Both Online and Brick-and-Mortar Presences

In 2019, a number of exclusively online brands are developing brick-and-mortar stores. There’s no denying that the majority of customers prefer to “experience” products before making purchases, and the best way to capitalize on that is to open physical stores.

Deloitte’s report explains, “From an e-retailer’s point of view, the benefits of having a presence in physical stores can include:

  • Minimizing costs associated with product marketing, delivery, and returns.
  • Being able to access shopping data.
  • Centralizing procurement of niche/regional products and merchandising.”

Traditional stores are also important because directly engaging with customers is the most effective way to learn what they prefer in a retail shopping experience.

Then, you can personalize the experience and tailor it to them. It’s just not possible to give customers that same level of brand connection through e-commerce alone.

smart packaging

Focus on Smart Brand Packaging

Modern-day shoppers are growing increasingly conscious of what’s inside the items they purchase. As a result, smart packaging is a significant new trend that is beginning to dominate the consumer packaged goods industry.

Smart packaging involves creating labels that detail the contents and related health benefits of a product. Specialty items such as those that are organic, gluten-free, and fair-trade are attractive to modern consumers. So, packaging that conveniently and clearly shows these features can drive higher sales.

This is a potential avenue to target consumers’ lifestyle preferences, which in turn creates more chances to build brand loyalty. Essentially, if the customers trust your product, the more likely they are to keep buying it.

By coupling the opening of physical retail stores with the right kind of physical marketing assets, your brand can reach new consumer audiences while simultaneously maintaining the loyalty of your current ones.

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New trends are dominating the market in 2019 and forecasted to continue driving the retail industry into the next level. Pop-up stores are providing a fun, temporary environment that drives demand generation among shoppers. Online brands are opening up physical stores to give customers the full “experience.” And the revolution of smart packaging is changing the way brands communicate product value to audiences.

By understanding these emerging market trends, brands can thrive on new opportunities by directly engaging with consumers through various touchpoints in their retail journey.

And by working with a trusted partner who can help you take advantage of these new opportunities in market trends, your brand can compete on the quality and effectiveness of delivering value to your customers.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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How Omnichannel Grocers Can Keep Up with the Digital Age of Shopping

While most consumers still prefer to do their grocery shopping in person, the presence of online grocery shopping is becoming more prevalent and is predicted to triple over the next ten years. This is creating new challenges and opportunities for both brand marketers and the consumer packaged goods industry.

Consumers don’t fully recognize the convenience of online grocery shopping yet, but omnichannel grocers can capitalize on the e-commerce market by customizing the online experience to their customers and incentivizing them to order online more than once.

According to Stephen Caine and Michelle Paratore at Bain & Company, “Only 42% of first-time users say online grocery shopping saves time, but it gets easier the more they try it.”  If grocers can keep customers coming back to online ordering, the likelihood of the customers using the same method and consistent brand products increase in the future.

So, what exactly do grocers need to do to prepare for the rising digital age of shopping?

online grocery shopping

Create a Convenient Online User Experience

Customers still consider shopping at a physical grocery store to be more convenient than attempting to navigate online grocery shopping. Grocers need to bridge the gap by breaking down the online experience to make it easy and convenient for the consumer to find what they need while also saving them money by suggesting cheaper, similar products.

The key is also personalizing the journey for online shoppers. Grocers can design tools that can touch and influence online shoppers’ decision-making process, such as making product recommendations based on the customer’s previously-purchased items and their shopping patterns.

Another tactic is to minimize the amount of effort required by the consumers by providing them with a visual “shelf” that contains their frequent and repeat orders. By doing so, grocers can make online shopping quicker, easier, and therefore more desirable for its customers.

Incentivize Customers to Shop Online with Your Brand

According to Caine and Paratore, “75% of online grocery shoppers say they are still using the first online grocer they tried.” Most people have a trusted local grocery store where they always shop. So, if local grocers create an online shopping platform that effectively reels in their loyal, regular customers, the likelihood that they will transition their grocery shopping with the same grocer online is almost guaranteed (the home-store bias).

Grocers can offer rewards to incentivize consumers to continue ordering online. Promotions such as coupons for relevant products, special sales, and spending rewards can serve to both personalize the customer’s experience, and to entice them to make repeat orders with your brand by making checkout quick and easy.

This is also a great opportunity for cross-channel engagement via things like direct mail marketing. Sending customers postcards with URLs or QR codes to unlock the rewards that they can redeem for personalized online coupons is a powerful way to build brand loyalty.

mobile grocery shopping

Offer Cutting-Edge Online Features that Fit the Consumer’s Lifestyle

Many consumers still use physical grocery lists to keep track of their shopping needs. Grocers can target this routine practice by designing an online feature that enables shoppers to log their frequently-purchased items and search for them quickly and easily.

Grocers can take it one step further and even create tools to relate to the customer’s lifestyle preferences. For example, for particularly health-conscious shoppers, grocers can offer recommendations for products and recipes that best fit their healthy lifestyle online and offline.

It’s all about personalizing the experience for each shopper, so they feel seen, understood, and valued by your brand. “Retailers who can deliver frictionless omnichannel experiences by investing in digital experiences and tools that save time for consumers shopping online or in stores will emerge as winners in this rapidly changing grocery landscape,” explain Caine and Paratore.

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While not occurring rapidly, consumers are beginning to transition into the digital age of grocery shopping. Many still find it more convenient to shop at a physical grocery store, but with the emergence of digital generations – such as Millennials and Generation Z – is expected to take the CPG and retail industry into the next chapter of the digital grocery shopping era.

Practical and data-based online tools are an essential part of the online experience that “do the work” for customers to shorten the buying cycle. Based on the customer’s shopping pattern, grocers can provide recommendations for items, store favorite item information for a timely reminder, offer coupons and special discounts specific toward their frequented items to help them accomplish their routine shopping practices.

By understanding how to transition into the digital age of grocery shopping, omnichannel grocers can capitalize on the growth of the online shopping world and boost the effectiveness and efficiency of their physical marketing activities as well. And by working with a trusted partner who can help you take advantage of this up-and-coming shopping platform, your brand can compete and win on the quality and convenience of your online user experience.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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Top Brand Marketing Trends for 2019

people looking up-crowd

2019 is set to be a game-changing year for brand marketers. Between a rapidly shifting political landscape and fast increases in marketing technology, the way marketers do their jobs – and how brands connect with their customers – is likely to witness some major new trends that they’ll need to be prepared for to capitalize on.

That’s according to an article by Michael Stone, published in Forbes that while “we live in a time of radical transformation” of the retail space, savvy marketers can still prepare themselves for success.

So, what significant trends are set to shape the marketing landscape in 2019?

broadway street view with storefront signs

Merging Online and In-Store Customer Journeys

One of the biggest marketing trends set to continue well beyond 2019 is the merging of an online and in-store customer retail journeys.

As Stone says, “the blurring of online and offline retail will continue at an increased pace.” This is made possible in large part due to advances in customer data tracking and analysis. Thanks to a multi-channel understanding of a customer’s interactions with your brand, you can drive them either to your brick-and-mortar space or your e-commerce website by offering personalized deals through either channel.

At any rate, brands will need to ensure both their digital and in-store marketing are in healthy, fighting shape, as competition continues to grow from retailers moving from one space into the other (like Amazon’s move into brick-and-mortar, and Walmart’s robust online shopping platform). Stone explains: “Retailers will not [be able to] sit still as they continue to up their game.”

Creating Compelling In-Store Experiences

As we’ve discussed on the NVISION blog before, one of the most interesting retail marketing trends is the growing appeal of transforming retail stores into “experience centers.”

With online shopping and e-commerce becoming easier and faster every day (especially with services that offer next-day or even same-day delivery), brands must find new ways to draw customers into their brick-and-mortar stores. To do so, they are creating experience centers, where customers can physically touch, try, handle, and use the company’s products, and even test them in a real-world environment.

“Brands will continue to look for ways to ‘pull’ customers into the brand rather than ‘pushing’ the brand at them,” Stone explains, “such as creatively driven pop-up stores; new, permanent mono-branded stores; malls featuring spa services, tailoring, and personal stylists; branded hotels; themed restaurants; and themed exhibits. Brands and consumers will become more ‘entangled.’”

And as the popularity of these brick-and-mortar experiences grows, so too will the need for brands to create, produce, and deliver their physical marketing materials on-time, on-budget, and with empowered flexibility.

woman holding shopping bags walking

Brands Taking Positions in a Shifting Political Landscape

For years, brands were told to “stay in your lane” and athletes were told to “stick to sports.” But 2019 promises to be a year where much of the rules around marketing and politics change.

As Stone points out, many brands have been “forced” to take a stand politically, citing the example of many brands pulling their support (and advertising dollars) and “abandoning the NRA following the shooting last February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.”

Other have chosen to take a stand and roll the dice both financially and politically, such as Nike did in 2018 when it made former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick its spokesperson.

“Brands are increasingly aware that younger consumers want their brands to take a position and to have a purpose,” Stone writes. And whether that position is something fairly uncontroversial – like using sustainable manufacturing processes or promoting female executives to leadership roles – or whether it is a new hot-button issue for 2019 (like the widespread legalization of the marijuana industry in the U.S. and Canada), customers want their brands to stand for something.

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2019 will be a year of new trends and changes for marketers everywhere. Between a shifting political landscape and the continued blurring of the online and in-store retail spaces, having flexible and reliable marketing operations will allow many brands to capitalize on these changing trends and post record-breaking years. And that’s a trend we can all hope for.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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Holiday Spending Will be Jollier in 2018: How Retailers Can Engage Shoppers to Increase Sales

woman holding shopping bags walking

As the air turns colder and the year winds down, many retailers’ thoughts are on one thing: the holiday season. The holidays are a critically important time for the retail industry, and businesses have reason to be excited for 2018: the National Retail Federation is projecting a 4.5% increase in retail sales over 2017. That’s thanks to many factors, including consumer confidence being high and unemployment being low.

Steven Barr at Forbes recently wrote about the upcoming 2018 retail holiday season, and what trends brands need to keep a sharp eye on if they want to capitalize on more than just tinsel and snowflakes this year.

Shoppers Are Spending More, Especially Millennials

According to a recent study by PwC, consumers plan to spend 5% more on average than they did last holiday season. Across the entire retail industry, that works out to approximately $1,250 per shopper. When you narrow that figure down to high-earning millennials (incomes over $70,000), retailers will be competing for over $2,000 of spending from each and every shopper. In fact, the same study found that millennials will pay more this holiday season for brands that will offer quality, convenience, speed, and personalized experiences.

Millemmial Marketing

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Will Work Together with E-commerce

When it comes to retail this holiday season, some things haven’t changed, and nothing beats the experience of walking through a store or shopping mall for picking out holiday gifts. 91% of holiday shoppers plan to make purchases at a physical retail location this season, so brands will need to invest in creating winning customer experiences with their retail signage and promotional materials. Creating positive, inviting store experiences encourages shoppers to linger for longer and, ultimately, spend more.

But in today’s digital world, that’s not the whole story. 75% of shoppers “expect an integrated experience across digital and physical locations,” so maintaining brand consistency and creating omnichannel customer experiences that track the buyer’s journey will be critical.

Create Memorable, Shareable In-Store Retail Experiences

As online shopping gets more and more convenient, retail brands will need to find ways to create customer experiences worth coming into the store for. While digital integration will be critical (promotional QR codes, email campaigns with in-store coupons, etc.), even more important will be what Barr calls “grammable” moments, after the popular social media platform Instagram. 

Barr highlights the outdoor apparel outfitter Canada Goose, who designed and created a “cold room” for their flagship retail store in Toronto where customers could try out puffy coats, gigantic scarves, and oversized hats. As intended, the cold room led to many shareable photos, and with a custom hashtag already in place, the campaign took off, and Canada Goose enjoyed a massive boost to its retail sales. 

Shoppers want a holiday filled with cheer. Brands can give it to them by creating these unique and engaging in-store experiences.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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GlobalShop 2018: Top Retail Trends

The NVISION team had a fantastic experience at this year’s GlobalShop 2018. From the inspiring keynote to the innovative breakout sessions, the future of retail – and the minds of those creating it – is bright. And speaking of experiences, several of this year’s most important trends centered around the ways that brick-and-mortar retailers are transforming their stores into customer experience centers, and the technologies that enable them.

Couldn’t make it to GlobalShop 2018, or didn’t catch all the sessions? Don’t worry. NVISION has identified the five major industry trends retailers should be focused on this year, and why each is so important.

AR white paper thumbnail

1. Retail is No Longer About Transactions, But Experiences

Far from being “dead,” brick-and-mortar retail is evolving to better suit modern, changing customer demands. 90% of transactions still take place inside brick-and-mortar stores, but that percentage shifts more towards online revenue every day, and more and more smart brands are realizing that selling products within their retail spaces is only one of their functions.

In ever-more saturated markets and industries, brands need to stand out from the noise. They need a way to make meaningful, lasting connections with their customers that go beyond just a product. They must transform their retail spaces into experiences that build loyalty. By using retail spaces to create experiences, not transactions, retailers can actually create repeat business and renewable revenue streams that result in multiple, repeated transactions over time.

2. AR, VR, and AI Are Part of Retail’s Future

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to give brands a whole new array of options for creating more engaging, dynamic customer experiences. By properly leveraging them, retailers can position themselves “at the forefront of experience by turning imagination into reality.”

And the reasons are obvious: AR and VR provide a powerful way to do two things: let your customers more fully imagine how your product might improve their lives, and create deeply immersive experiences that resonate and build brand loyalty. From in-store AR “smart mirrors” like those at Nordstrom which allow shoppers to “try on” different outfits without lifting a finger, to interior design VR apps that let customers stroll through a virtual “living room” to test-drive furniture, this technology is set to explode in 2018.

Indeed, analysts in China predict investment in AR/VR in the U.S. will grow by $8.5 billion by 2020, and VR apps are already experiencing 184% growth domestically. With further studies suggesting 59% of customers would prefer to use AR for furniture shopping, it holds real promise for retail. Other tech showing promise in the retail sector is in-store apps and AI, which can not only suggest items a customer might like based on their prior shopping activity, but thanks to the Internet of Things and the increasing availability of RFID chips (now as a cheap as $0.06 per chip at volume), it can even ping store employees to instruct them to bring an item directly to the shopper.

But beware! If not deployed properly or with a specific purpose, AR and VR are little more than shiny new toys to distract your customers. They should add value and/or simplify some process for your brand or your customer. Otherwise, an investment in this tech has little hope of showing returns. These technologies should clarify your brand, not confuse it.

3. Turning Showrooms Into “Do-Rooms”

With the rise of digital channels and the continued optimization of e-commerce storefronts, online purchasing transactions are just as simple – if not simpler – than buying from brick-and-mortar stores for many customers. Which is why retailers are realizing their physical spaces must offer something that online never will: tangible, physical interactions with the product.

One popular way to do this is to hold “unboxing parties” for new product launches. Named after the popular online video trend of removing a new product from its box, unboxing parties are store events where customers can come and check out a new product. They are invited to touch it, hold it, try it out, and perhaps most importantly, ask any questions they might have about it.

Other brands are specifically designing their retail spaces to be perfect places to test drive their products. Whether it’s sports equipment retailers installing batting cages and virtual driving ranges for athletes to try out gear, or audio/visual retailers designing the perfect “man cave” setup complete with couches and popcorn, “do-rooms” are set to be a major trend.

woman writing on a note pad over coffee

4. Recognizing the Value of “Return on Experience”

Sure, forever, the king of all marketing statistics has been return on investment (ROI).  But in 2018, more and more retailers are beginning to understand the value of Return on Experience. The fact of the matter is simply this: customers are having an experience with your retail brand, whether you’re thoughtfully curating that experience or not. The emotional connection – or lack thereof – that your customers feel to your brand is being formed as we speak.

The memory of their experience is coloring their perception of your brand, and their decision whether or not to return to your store is being made right now. To that end, there are three key customer connections retailers should focus to create powerful emotional experiences:

  1. Physical. We are social, touchy-feely creatures. We imprint memories on objects, and we deeply recall tactile sensations. If you can incorporate physical interactions into your retail space – whether with the product itself or with a display – you can boost the emotion of the experience for your customers.
  2. Sensory. We have five senses, yet many retailers stop at sight when designing displays.  Ambient music, as in films, powerfully creates moods, while diffusing scents throughout the store not only adds to the narrative power of your displays, but links your retail space with the most deeply-rooted areas of your customers’ memories, boosting recall and loyalty.
  3. Cognitive. Give your customers something to think about. Engage their minds by creating narrative, intentional displays that will last longer in their memories and make a more powerful emotional connection.

Technology like Emotibot is making it easier for brands to create personalized, emotional experiences for their customers at scale.

5. Invest Time and Budget In Your Innovation Teams

As digital disruption creates a shorter and shorter shelf life for any given business process, many forward-thinking companies are investing in “innovation teams,” designed to study, predict, and adapt to future trends.

At GlobalShop 2018, we identified four keys to a successful innovation team:

  1. Adequate Funding. If you are asking your team to re-think a critical problem, especially at the enterprise level, their funding should be commensurate with the importance of the task before them. Innovation is not an area where you want to skimp, because an underpayment now may become an overpayment down the road.
  2. Autonomy. They must be able to make decisions for themselves. You are asking them to innovate, not to kowtow to existing corporate processes and hierarchies. Give your innovation team room to spread its wings.
  3. License to Fail. Innovation is experimental, and not every experiment is successful the first time. But that’s all right, because the process of innovation is iterative, and only the big risks that may result in failure have the chance of resulting in the kind of game-changing success that brands dream of.
  4. Time to Succeed. Big ideas take time. Innovation is a forward-focused science, and the fruits if your innovation team’s labors may not reveal themselves until some time down the line. Patience is a virtue, and by allowing your team time to work now, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy their success later.

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Getting ahead of these five trends will be important for retail brands moving forward, both now and in the future. Having the agile, responsive marketing supply chain to actually execute these plans will be absolutely critical to making it possible.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE