Retail is Evolving: How Brands Can Bridge In-Store & Online Experiences
By now, we know that the global pandemic changed consumer buying habits in a variety of ways and profoundly impacted how shoppers purchased items. These changes include stocking up on essential items, shopping for holidays earlier than ever, utilizing delivery and drive-up services, and the massive influx of e-commerce shoppers.
But how permanent are these changes? Are shoppers returning to brick-and-mortar stores, and what's the future of e-commerce as we move away from memories of stay-at-home orders?
Keep reading to find out how can marketers prepare for the resurgence of brick-and-mortar shopping while keeping the focus on e-commerce.
Consumer Shopping Habits
While some consumers have changed their shopping habits permanently, it seems that others are returning to an old habit: the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Insider Intelligence reports that brick-and-mortar sales will grow 2.6-3.4% through 2025, and new spending in brick-and-mortar outlets will outpace e-commerce sales with $702 billion in spending compared to $604 billion.
Additionally, a new study by Insider Intelligence found that the in-store audience is 70% greater than digital audiences for 13 leading retailers, including Walmart and Target.
While this shift back to in-store shopping may cause brands to panic, especially those who have invested in a better online consumer experience, a marketplace and digital presence is still essential for brands to succeed. The same Insider Intelligence study found that many digital surfaces inside stores, including brand displays on shelves and video advertisements, receive frequent exposure. Now is the time for brands to continue their retail evolution and bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping experiences.
Combining In-person and Digital Experiences
In several categories, like home and kitchen, shoppers are more likely to complete a purchase in-store so they can ask a salesperson questions. Even so, these shoppers are highly likely to be completing research online and therefore need digital support. According to the Salsify Consumer Research Report, 86% of retail shoppers rely on digital information when shopping.
Consumers aren't just researching product features online; they’re also reading reviews and price-comparing. For this reason, it’s imperative that all product information is accurate and consistent on all sites. Brands who are not offering a cohesive experience between brick-and-mortar and online are potentially losing sales. Code3's Commerce Strategists recommend a consistent pricing strategy across all platforms.
So how can you make this work for your brand?
Brands need to lean into technology and leverage in-store advertising opportunities. Insider Intelligence’s In-Store Retail Media 2023 report found that high-quality branding experiences in contextually relevant, brand-safe environments can influence brand affinity and drive in-store sales. This can result in incremental sales increasing over time, not just at brick-and-mortar locations, but online as well.
How Amazon is Embracing the New Age of Retail
Amazon has embraced the resurgence of brick-and-mortar locations with its 40+ Amazon Fresh locations. These stores combine in-store and ultrafast online shopping. Amazon's 25 Amazon Go locations feature grab-and-go solutions. Recently, the marketplace has begun offering brands a way to leverage their own brick-and-mortar locations with in-store advertising. Currently, Amazon is offering a variety of options as Share of Voice (SOV) packages, allowing brands to own the advertising spot for a percentage of the time. We predict that the packages will move to managed service, followed by self-service options.
The in-store advertisements are available at approximately 500 Whole Foods locations and include:
- Entrance Kiosks: placement at or near the entrance vestibule and/or exit gates.
- Culinary Screens: contextual placement on the Pizza or Coffee Bar menu screens.
Additionally, a variety of signage options are available throughout Amazon Fresh locations. The digital signage opportunities range from placement in special sections of the store such as the meat or deli area to in one of four center store aisle signs. The Amazon Fresh digital signage and in-store advertising options include:
- Digital Signage - Center Store Aisle
- Digital Signage - Category Flag
- Digital Signage - Skybin Header
- Digital Signage - Meat and Seafood Screens
- Digital Signage - Dairy Screens
- Digital Signage - Deli Screens
- Digital Signage - Lobby Kiosks
- Fresh Store Branded Bags
- Fresh Online Delivery Bags
- Fresh Store Locker Wrap
Code3 Commerce Strategists recommend taking advantage of, and carving out budget, to test in-store advertising options. Digital signage, kiosk placement, and more are great opportunities to get your brand front of mind in stores. Additionally, matching creatives in the digital space to those appearing on a kiosk or sign offers consumers a cohesive feel and experience.
It’s also important for brands to pull insights from full-funnel advertising and omnichannel reporting. Pulling reporting from siloed platforms can not offer an accurate picture of performance. Brands can utilize tools like Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) to understand the interactions between different advertising campaigns or the influence advertising is having on overall sales on Amazon.
The resurgence of brick-and-mortar sales is inevitable; brands who are leaning in now to connect the experience to digital efforts will pay off in the long run. If you could use a strategic partner to help you navigate your e-commerce efforts, contact us today.
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