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2019 Retail Trends: Transactional to Relational

female using interactive screen to customize shopping

As the world changes, so does customer behavior. And as customer behavior changes, the ways they want to shop do, too. And perhaps no industry needs to remain more on top of shifting customer trends and behaviors than retail.

Retail, which has already been turned upside-down by the advent of e-commerce, now must adapt to whatever 2019 has in store. With U.S. retail sales up 5.9% in 2018 from a record mark of $5.7 trillion in 2017, retail brands will need to stay sharp to keep growing. According to Daphne Leprince-Ringuet of WIRED, here are some key trends retailers should consider when looking towards the future.

Sustainability Will Be Important to Shoppers

From “hippies” to countercultural “hipsters,” environmental responsibility and sustainability have always been important to certain shopping demographics in society. But in 2019, ecological sustainability will become a major selling point for brands and retailers looking to see a little more “green” themselves. Leprince-Ringuet cites the example of British luxury fashion brand Elvis & Kresse, which reclaims thousands of tons of out-of-service fire hoses in London each year, repurposing and recycling the hose leather to create new premium goods.

“We live in the age of the circular economy, recycling materials instead of letting them go to waste at the end of their life,” Leprince-Ringuet says. “It’s [already] an upcoming trend in retail.” Brands that can position themselves as environmentally sustainable could bolster their profits, too.

shop with digital network graphics - retail continuity

Removing Friction with Strategic Partnerships

With competition stiffer than it’s ever been, and most markets increasingly saturated with choices, brands will need to continue to compete on the strength of their customer experiences – not just on price and product. In fact, a recent PwC study found that consumers will spend an average of 16% more for a better retail customer experience. And that may mean exploring new strategic partnerships for many brands. “Everything we do needs to be done for the customer, to remove friction – whether that means integrating Google Pay, or working with [partners] to develop technologies we don’t have the capacity to work on ourselves,” says Cliff Cohen, Chief Information Officer at ASOS.

What other sorts of “frictionless” experiences will customers expect?

  • “Invisible” payment. Look at Uber. With payment linked directly to customers’ credit cards, users never even think about paying for their ride. It’s taken care of automatically. And that removes part of the friction that makes Uber so attractive compared to, say, going to an ATM and calling a taxi.
  • Multichannel experiences. Today, customers expect brands to recall the entire history of that shopper’s interaction with them and be able to offer them promotions, coupons, and suggestions based on that personal history. And if your brand can’t do this today? Partner with someone who can. Citing one retailer’s strategic CX goals, Leprince-Ringuet says, “The technology is beyond the retailer’s technical capacity, so the company has teamed up with [a strategic partner] – all with the goal of making the customer experience better.”
  • Third-party payment. Not unlike “invisible” payment, millennial consumers are increasingly comfortable storing their payment information with a third-party and allowing that third party to provide that information when they “pay” for things, like Mint and Apple Wallet. This functionality can help make your brand stand out from the crowd.

Physical Stores Becoming Experience Centers with Innovation

With the online purchasing process faster by-and-large than in-store for many brands these days, brick-and-mortar stores are shifting to effectively occupy a new role: experience centers, where customers can touch, try, taste, and be tempted by your products in person. “Future retail is moving from transactional to relational,” says Emilie Colker, Executive Director at IDEO. “Brands will use the offline space to create more opportunities for people to connect with the products.”

For many brands that were once digital-only, like by-mail eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker or online mattress retailer Casper, creating physical spaces for shoppers to interact with their products adds authenticity to their brand’s perception, and is a clever way to create customer experiences that they just can’t replicate online. And to succeed with experience centers, retailers need to be agile, flexible, and ready to innovate. “In the current climate, speed matters,” says Kerry Liu, CEO of Rubikloud. “Tools that can give retailers insight into inventories, financial forecasts, technological skill,” anything that helps create a single point of visibility into marketing supply chains will be tremendously helpful.

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Yes, retail is changing.

But by understanding the most important retail trends before they happen, and by establishing partnerships that prepare your brand for success, companies of all sizes can make 2019 their most successful year yet.

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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 Trends in Hospitality Marketing for 2018

napkin-on-table-hospitality

The hospitality and travel industry is a trillion-dollar business, according to Deloitte. As with any lucrative industry, hospitality has become highly competitive, with large chain brands and independent boutique hoteliers competing for customers’ time, attention, and dollars.

And while the way that brands across all industries market themselves begins to change with the rise of digital and other channels, the hospitality industry would be wise to keep an eye on a few trends. That’s according to Jason Dent at Campaign Monitor, who explains some of the biggest new opportunities for hospitality marketers.

Personalized Customer Experiences

The more data you have about your customers, the more you can tailor their experiences in ways that truly wow them, add value to their stay, and win over their loyalty. For example, by leveraging information about their booking dates (are they near a specific holiday or anniversary?) their check in information (are they newlyweds with a single room or business colleagues with a double?), and any host of preferences they can opt-in to providing to you, you can offer them customized onsite experiences.

Whether you want to make the newlyweds aware of the couples massages available at your onsite spa, or let the business travelers know you have a fully-stocked internet café and lounge, when you understand your customers, you can market to them in the ways they love. With a highly responsive marketing supply chain, you can make it a reality.

gen-z-holding arms together

Point-of-Sale and Moment Marketing

The unique thing about hospitality marketing is that it’s one of the only industries where, generally speaking, you know exactly who is going to show up where and when. This gives brands with agile marketing operations a powerful opportunity to create compelling moments at check-in and at the point-of-sale. For example, if you know you will be hosting numerous attendees for the same conference or convention, signage and banners in the lobbying welcoming them and promoting certain amenities are strong ways to show you value their business.

This also enables highly agile cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. If your data shows that John Q. Guest often likes to have a drink at the hotel bar, or order room service, a personalized gift card waiting at check-in entitling him to a free drink or appetizer is a great way to encourage him to continue to spend money, and return as a loyal customer.

Millennial Loyalty

According to Forbes, Millennials now make up a bigger portion of travel and hospitality customers than any other generation. That means that understanding and catering to this demographic is of major importance. Millennials feel very strongly about the brands they love, and they are actually more prone to join and actively participate in consumer loyalty programs than other demographics.

To turn this fact into revenue, smart hospitality brands are investing in better integrating their loyalty programs into their marketing materials. Kiosks in the lobby where customers can easily opt-in; offering additional loyalty rewards points for activities Millennials prefer; using new technology like RFID scanners and QR codes to allow guests to link purchases to their loyalty accounts; these are all savvy ways that smart hospitality marketers are capitalizing on Millennial loyalty.

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Hospitality is big business, and that business is changing. By prioritizing the health, agility, and efficiency of your marketing supply chain, your brand can capture more revenue, and win more customer loyalty, than ever before.

Subscribe to the Blog

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