Brick and mortar stores are back (not that they went anywhere), but they’re different than before; at least the good ones are. People still want the experience of going to a store and browsing products in person, but with many now going to Amazon or only shopping online, retailers will need to find new ways to engage customers wherever they are.
This year, retailers can expect to see continued growth but three things really stand out to me.
1. Experience will be king.
Being a brand isn’t about fonts and colors, it’s about the feeling people have and the way you serve your customer. People want the experience of going to a store and looking at products in person. However, with eCommerce being so prevalent, retailers need to find new ways to engage customers. This can be done by creating a unique experience for them, particularly focusing on the things that are difficult to provide online.
For retailers launching online, it will be finding ways to capture the feeling of the store experience and serving them in a similar way online. Whether it’s the use of lifestyle photography or using engaging copy, finding ways to elicit a similar feeling will be important.
Ultimately, customers want to experience the same level of service, regardless of where they are.
2. Brick and mortar is back, but different.
People are back in store but the store isn’t the first impression your customer has.
As people are returning to brick-and-mortar stores, retailers need to focus on making the experience unique for each customer. The store can’t be the only place where a customer interacts with a brand anymore. In fact, it’s often not even the first place a customer discovers or learns more about the brand.
There are many ways to reach customers these days, and retailers need to be where their customers are. This means focusing on the social channels most important to their customers, eCommerce, email, and SMS. It also means being where customers are physically, whether that’s in a physical store or through pop-ups
3. The entry point of eCommerce is lower but standing out is harder than ever.
Launching online has never been easier. With incredible platforms like Shopify and Lightspeed eCom and easy-to-customize themes, it’s not that hard for retailers to launch online.
With all this growth, it has never been harder to stand out. eCommerce is becoming more and more saturated and with customers being bombarded with ads, social, and more lives than ever before, it’s becoming harder and harder to get loyal customers that buy.
This year, retailers need to focus on creating a unique experience for each customer, regardless of where they are interacting with the brand. Whether it’s in a physical store or online, retailers need to find ways to make the customer feel special and important.
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s crucial for retailers to differentiate themselves in order to continue growing.
2022 is going to be a great year for retailers. It will be centered on the way retailers serve and engage customers and, we believe, independent retailers are the best positioned to do this. It’s not going to be from fancy cameras, overpriced agencies, or cheap gimmicks, it’s going to come from focusing on the right things, the things that will move the needle in growth and service.
To a strong 2022. Onward!