The retail experience is
becoming more critical to the success of big box retailers. “Retail” is defined
very differently today than in the past, as it no longer refers only to brick
and mortar. Online purchasing plays an ever-increasing role in the overall
retail experience, so much so that time spent in the physical stores of most
mass merchants is decreasing, as are the number of store locations. The primary
reason for this is that there is so much online interaction prior to, during
and after the purchase, which influences the selection process, brands in
consideration, time in store and actual purchase.
In order to keep up with
this switch to digital retail, it is important to know how to address the
expectations that come with it. What are the challenges associated with the new
retail experience and what actions need to be taken to meet them?
Retailers are expecting
their vendor partners not only to be the expert in their category, but also to
be more knowledgeable and proactive in providing an evolving strong digital
interaction experience on their site and any supportive sites.
Make sure you have an
experienced internal or partner team that understands the trends and can
demonstrate to the big boxes that you are bringing proactive ideas on trend
with retail evolution. Otherwise, the retailer will simply dictate direction to
Retailers are eliminating
slower-turning SKUs on the shelf and moving them online.
Make sure you are deeply analyzing your SKUs’ performance and be more proactive
in your recommendations.
More online sales are
being picked up in stores.
Define a plan in
collaboration with the retailer to leverage the in-store pick-up process for
incremental add-ons and project-related sales.
One of the key barriers to
growth is logistics.
Don’t just look at your
products and marketing; look at how you may be able to leverage your unique
logistical approach to aiding in their growth.
Content strategies need to
remain robust and evolving.
Identify, target and
leverage ever-changing key trends, weather and seasonality, consumer purchase
triggers and consumer data consumption approaches to purposefully prompt
customer actions. Use this content for associate training, as they have an impact
on in-store and online sales.
Online content is critical
and at the top of a retailer’s list of support from their vendors.
Utilize strong comparative
data versus other expected options. Invest in how-to videos, as they are
critical for online sales both to create confidence pre-purchase as well as to
help make the project run smoother. Project-specific content is what consumers
are expecting, especially millennials who use this content to take on R&R
projects. Make sure your content is up-to-date, fact-based, relevant and
realistic (i.e., videos shouldn’t be too overproduced).
Reviews are more credible
than your brand.
Continually analyze your
review scores and comments. These are a great barometer not only of product
quality but also of the overall experience with your product and a consumer’s
needs assessment. Needs assessment can help to drive things like new product