December 10, 2018 / Thought Leadership

What brand marketers can glean from the growing retail industry

Scott Savitt, Senior Partner, Director of Digital

Just how many dollars are fueling the retail economy?

Retail consumer spending in 2018 is predicted to increase 4.5% vs. the same period last year according to the National Retail Federation. While 4.5% may not sound like a big percentage, it tops out 2017 which was the best year for retail sales in over three years spanning all categories including auto and foods (per the Department of Commerce).

And for this online holiday season, Internet Retailer projects U.S. shoppers will spend an increase of 15.5%—that equates to $120 billion—compared to online spending during the same period last year. This year alone, Black Friday was a record-setting $6.2 billion as well as Cyber Monday which pulled in approximately $7.9 billion, an increase of 19.3% from a year ago according to Adobe Analytics.

What’s the sense behind these dollars?

One of the reasons for this unprecedented growth in retail is the way top retailers are creating frictionless shopping opportunities for their users especially via smartphones. Retailers such as Amazon (Amazon Go), Walmart (Google Home) and Wayfair (AR) are adopting strategies to deliver “experiences” to users vs. just selling their stand-alone wares and “products.”

These savvy marketers are creating more compelling reasons for why to shop and how by modern messaging and capitalizing on modern function.

As technology evolves and data becomes more accessible, these retailers and others benefitting from that $120 billion in transactions are more than ever in a position to personalize, automate and own the entire shopper journey on a path to continuing that 4%+ growth year-over-year.

How to add the dollars and sense for future retail growth?

Whether it’s comparison shopping in real time, an optimized mobile checkout process, live chat, user-friendly ordering options, click-and-collect services or smartphone push notifications, one of the foundational goals of frictionless shopping is to serve consumers whenever they want to be served enhancing the experiences leading to conversion.

Brands should be adopting more of a frictionless mentality when thinking about how to construct their consumer experience, especially in digital. The need to eliminate friction between customer and brand is a key factor in creating a positive customer experience and favorable brand attitude. This means brands think big picture when it comes to “purpose” and strategic positioning, but also non-optional consideration of the “micro-moments” during the customer journeys—literally down to each customer interaction and on each channel.

Whether it’s speed and convenience or instant access to content and/or product information, brands can meet customer’s expectations and gain share of the retail growth market by leveraging more frictionless thinking.