Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Can Retail Navigate The Cost Of Living Crisis?

There is no escaping the fact that we are in the midst of the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation, with rising inflation and energy prices putting the squeeze on household finances by around £1,000 this year alone.

Inflation is set to rise even further, February’s figure has already reached 6.2%, marking its highest point in thirty years. In Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement he announced measures to try and alleviate the situation for households, but the charge was they won’t be nearly enough to alleviate such a unique situation.

While demand for products remains high and footfall continues to increase towards pre-pandemic levels, inflation, energy bills, and rising taxes have already begun taking their toll on consumer confidence. As of this month the GfK Consumer Confidence Index is down to -31, its lowest point since late 2020. Tellingly, the most significant drops come from the outlooks for personal finances and the wider economic situation, alongside the major purchase index, indicating that consumers are already concerned about how much they have to spend.

This perfect storm of cost increases, ongoing supply chain issues and Brexit red-tape, is also continuing to impact retail. In such a position, it is inevitable that these costs are eventually passed onto the consumer through higher prices. Lush has become another high street business that has had to up their prices by an average of 8.5%, joining the likes of Tesco and many others who have recently declared similar moves. Such retailers have also warned that further increases cannot be ruled out given the uncertainty.

Therefore the situation we now face is a consumer that is tightening their wallets amid the largest income collapse since the 1970s. Combined with retailers that are under pressure to remain competitive among some of the most difficult trading conditions in recent years.

Customer loyalty is going to be hard to retain if customers are more willing to shop around to grab the best deals for products, so a number of approaches need to be considered in order to ensure you are the most attractive proposition amongst the competition.

How can retail navigate its way to success in these tricky times?

Smart Pricing

It is clear that pricing is going to be a key factor this year, both in terms of the purchasing consumer and the margin conscious business. Indeed, effective margin management has emerged as a key growth driver for 2022, and getting this right will provide a significant boost. With 34% of UK business still pricing on an ad-hoc manual basis, introducing real time, automated pricing models will be a real differentiator in these uncertain times.

While staying competitive on pricing is important, it is not always necessary to simply be the cheapest for a given product, and retailers should be careful to not get themselves into a black hole of low-margin continuous discounting. Kantar research has shown that as much as 34% of brands are in a vulnerable position where their brand equity index is not supported by their pricing models.

Customer Service

It is important to remember that it is not just price that determines value. Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gekko Group found that 37% of Consumer Electronics (CE) consumers would be willing to spend more on those products if they receive quality service, emphasising the real importance of getting this right at all points.

In-store and online advisors can extol the virtues of relevant products and their benefits. While true of nearly all product categories, it is particularly relevant to consumer electronics and other considered purchases, where shoppers will likely have more questions or want to see a demonstration.

Continuing with electronics for example, the value of efficient and smart devices can be highlighted by knowledgeable staff who are able to answer any queries from interested customers. The long-term money saving virtues of a smart thermostat for example, are easily explained in person, allowing such a product to shine when it might otherwise fly under the radar of a price conscious shopper. Fixtures and displays should also be updated to provide real value when a representative is not feasible.

Reward Loyalty

With consumers more willing to shop around than ever, it is important to explore all avenues in trying to keep them most engaged with your offering. This has led to a mini-revolution when it comes to existing loyalty schemes, particularly those of the major supermarkets.

Google search trends for ‘loyalty cards’ and ‘best savings’ have increased thanks to the rise in the cost of living, and consumers are looking for new types of schemes to entice them. Around 96% of shoppers say that they would like schemes to do more, and this goes beyond the small freebies or spend for points style many of us are used to.

Shoppers now look for personalised pricing, community outreach, and even gaming elements as a way to keep them interested. Tesco’s Clubcard prices are now a huge feature of their in-store displays, creating the desire to be involved and not miss out on potential savings. Personalisation has been a big point for Sainsbury’s, who is able to leverage its data to hand out relevant offers to customers, making them feel personally valued.

In combination with effective pricing and good customer service, the reward element is yet another way that retailers can present value against their competitors in this market.

The winners in retail this year will be stipulated by a few factors. Discounters will naturally have a headstart in attracting customers in the immediate term, but as we have explored, value is not just defined by price alone. Shoppers are also looking for quality and efficiency, with a view to being price conscious and also more environmentally friendly. These factors need to be clearly communicated across channels and all elements of the customer journey should be audited to ensure that this is the case.

Find your strengths in the current climate and promote them through all means available, while staying true to your brand will resonate with the customer whichever end of the pricing spectrum you are on. Doing this, alongside ensuring your customer experience is efficient and enjoyable, will keep consumers loyal even in these testing times.

To read the full article please visit Talk Retail

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

How Brands Create an Emotional Connection with Their Customers

The role of the brand in peoples’ lives has changed dramatically over the past few years. Consumers have spent two years decluttering, throwing away, updating, and changing what they need. As they’ve assessed the results, people’s attitudes towards certain brands have also changed. Brands that invented themselves decades ago are not necessarily communicating successfully or coming across in the same way anymore because people have changed and moved on. 

Consumers now want a less transactional and more emotional relationship with brands. According to a recent survey by Motista, customers who have an emotional relationship with a brand have three times higher lifetime value and will likely recommend the company at a rate of 71%, instead of the average 45%. It is this personal approach to building relationships that brands should develop. Like with any personal relationship, it should be built on key psychological principles.

1. Good listening skills

One of the key elements in any two-way relationship is the ability to listen and understand someone’s concerns. We are in a global environment where inflation has become very real and persistent for people everywhere. Therefore, from a brand perspective, you are going to have to work a lot harder to persuade somebody to buy your product. 

As consumers, we have become more considerate in our choices of what we buy and where we want to spend our money. The first question consumers are now asking when considering any product is, do they really need that thing in their lives?

As a brand, are you confident you’re listening rather than just broadcasting your messages? How are you adapting your approach and enthralling your customer over the entire sales cycle? This approach is especially crucial in the considered purchase space. 

The answer is in addressing a customer’s underlying needs state and responding to what they’ve said. Not what you think they need. For example, it’s said that, on average, it takes 12 days for somebody to buy a washing machine. So that’s 12 days from first consideration to researching online to getting to the point of purchase. During that window, consumers have plenty of opportunities to change their mind, especially in crowded categories. Brands that don’t listen and fail to address the shopper’s needs during that journey will lose out.

2. Offering connection

In any friendship group, you will want to feel like you belong – to become part of a tribe. In many ways, a timeless virtue a brand can offer. But this has been given added importance in recent years. When a brand evokes a true sensation of inclusion, we feel a connection.

When we buy into a brand, they are offering us more than products and services, we are buying into a lifestyle. We become part of their tribe. This is a particularly strong trait for technology users. People define themselves by the gadgets and brands they favor – for example, whether they are an iOS user or an Android user. Apple achieved such success by the ability to move technology from the practical to an emotional, tactile, beautifully designed and built piece of hardware product that created the real ‘love’ of users.

In a time where we have perhaps felt more isolated the ability to bond with others over shared interests is crucial. This is something all generations have been yearning for and are looking to experience. 

3. Sharing the same values

We increasingly buy into brands because of their ethics or how they contribute back or give back to society. Also how they conduct themselves behind the scenes or the manner in which they go about developing their products. This is becoming more strong with Gen Z. According to a recent study by Attest, “more than 60% of Gen Z say they’re likely to stop buying from a brand that doesn’t meet their personal values – 42% say ‘likely’ and 20% say ‘very likely’.”

Brands should connect with the values of their audience to build a stronger bond, rather than just perhaps providing them with a product or service they need. People will want to buy into a product because they appreciate they are dealing with a responsible brand that gives something back.

4. Being financially empathetic

Ethics are, of course, important but let’s not be naive. A recent study we commissioned also showed ‘price promotion’ was one of the most important factors in making a considered purchase

Indeed, according to an article by Psychology Today, having compatible financial values is a key predictor of relationship success and is also one of the biggest reasons relationships break down. This also applies to brands. Brands should ensure they don’t lose their customer base because they have a tin ear to their customers’ financial concerns. 

For everyone contemplating buying into a brand, it needs to be at a price point that works for them. In other words, a reasonable price. No one wants to feel like they are being overcharged so that they suffer buyer’s remorse. It needs to be the right product at the right price that does what they need. 

5. Trustworthiness

People want to trust the brands they buy from. In order to be trustworthy, it is vital to be consistent. If brands are saying one thing on their social media feeds about supporting sustainability but then a quick Google search finds they are not following this through, there is likely to be a backlash and a push back. People have more ability to find a brand and hold it to account.  

I think we are moving away from people buying things because it is just a thing to buy. I do genuinely think that people buy products and into brands because there is a genuine need. And if there’s a choice in that category, they will make a considered choice. 

It is also not necessarily about being the most ethical brand on the planet, but about being consistent and honest. There is nothing worse than that disappointing out-of-box experience. When you open a box and you feel like you’ve bought a dud or it’s just not the thing that you had anticipated having due to a brand promise that isn’t then delivered upon.

6. Fun experience

As we look at the more worthy elements of building a sustainable relationship, let’s not forget about the fun. This is the reason so many retailers are moving into ‘feel good’ retail. It is why a brand like Selfridges is offering free therapy and sex counselling alongside DJs providing ‘feel good’ sounds. By creating a climate of enjoyment, people are likely to feel more positively about the brand.

The same applies to car brands Tesla and Genesis, which have created vast immersive experiences in Westfield. The huge cost of these activations is not going to convert that many people. We’re talking about a significant amount of square footage in a serious location within one of the UK’s busiest shopping malls. But it is 100% about the experience. 

In many ways, this isn’t a place you come to transact. This is a place where you come to be immersed in the wonders of Genesis. Whether it is the luxury, the technology, the innovation, and being immersed into the brand – it’s done very, very well. It engages all the senses and creates enjoyment. The fun factor and visual experience is something so many people have missed out on these past two years and brands that proactively bring that back to life can reap the benefits.

Creating an unbreakable emotional bond

In conclusion, brands need to think very hard about a new approach to creating a genuine emotional connection with consumers who have quite a changed perspective. This needs to be beyond solely transactional. Brands need to apply the same principles they would apply to fostering any relationship. This involves focusing on good listening skills, offering connection, showing they share the same values, being financially empathetic, trustworthy, and fun.

If they can get these elements right, they can create an unbreakable emotional bond. According to author Sue Johnson, “Love is a survival imperative we experience from the cradle to the grave. Loving connection is the only safety nature ever offers us.” Brands that want to survive these tumultuous times would do well to follow that advice.

To read the full article please visit Branding Magazine

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Tagged , , , , , ,

I See You But I Don’t Hear You

At the time of writing, retail footfall is up 3% week on week to 80% of that in 2019 and while this is encouraging and further increases are anticipated, we must temper expectations for a full recovery simply because of changing consumer habits and their increasing propensity to head online. So the question is, what are you, as a retail business, doing to make yourself heard and adapting to the current market situation? 

In the world of Amazon, things have been going very well. Their latest figures show that its revenues grew by 20% last year in the UK, with sales leaping to £23.6 billion for 2021 from £19.6 billion in 2020, and far ahead of the £13 billion of sales taken in 2019.

While online share of sales has declined over time from its peak during lockdown, Amazon has continued to thrive regardless and it’s a clear indication that if your competitors trade online, they are seeing the value of an omnichannel approach to retail.

The core driver to any retailer’s success is making it clear, through effective marketing, as to what you sell, where you sell it and how you sell it. Doing this effectively will lend itself to drive your footfall and clicks to keep those customers and potential orders coming.

In the MDA and CE sectors, the appetite to ‘upgrade’ and ‘refresh’ remains and growth continues at a pace, so making your store the de facto supplier for the local community, if it isn’t already, is an easily achievable objective that doesn’t have to cost a fortune to realise through local marketing.

Indeed there are some fantastic examples of how ERT Award winners have used Social Media to great effect in their marketing mix. By using Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to run competitions, announce winners, promote new products or communicate promotional savings and be part of the community. Through this approach much can be achieved to target the local consumer. By putting a strategy in place and driving these communication channels as part of your marketing, social media can be a useful tool to create a community-centric voice that lends itself to serve the local community. It’s worth remembering that recent Barclaycard research has identified that nine in ten people who have shopped locally, say they will continue to do so. Don’t lose them.

With this in mind, think about the importance of Google in your marketing mix as it’s increasingly more valuable not only as a service you can utilise for free from Google but also how consumers search. Key findings have been that:

  • 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
  • 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles of their local.
  • 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
  • 72% of computer or tablet users and 67% of smartphone users want ads that are customised to their city or postcode. (Source: Think with Google)

Springboard expects this year’s retail footfall will remain 10% below pre-Covid levels and this largely relates to pressures on household incomes through increased inflation and the general cost of living.

Retailers and brands need to bear in mind this fact, so while footfall will be impacted, the shopper returning to stores will be more discerning and as such their customer experience will need to be positive and rewarding to encourage them to spend. Using local marketing techniques to attract consumers into your store is critical in harnessing the potential of that 10% gap. So what can you do to help drive traffic to your store or website:

  1. Set up detailed radius location targeting in Google Ads
    1. This is key, as advertising to a broad audience will attract the wrong audience. Using demographics will be much more effective and efficient. It will also have a better return on investment.
  1. Run local Facebook Ads
    1. Most of the population are on Facebook, why not target on that social platform
  2.  Encourage reviews
    1. Shoppers increasingly use reviews as an essential part of their decision making and buying process. So, in addition to visiting your website to see what you have to offer,  potential customers will also use what other people say to get insight on the products you sell and the service you offer. After all, local shoppers are far more likely to be wanting a friendly personalised service from their local retailer. If your business shows up in a directory and there are no reviews, they are likely to turn to a competitor who has reviews. Optimise your local online marketing by asking customers to write good online reviews for these directories and make it easy for them to do so.
  3. Running a contest
    1. As shown by a few of these local businesses selected, competitions, especially for a local business, gets customers interested and involved. Customers like a locally run competition as there’s a higher chance to win as opposed to a big global business with millions of potential contestants etc.

Through targeted marking, it can assist to increase loyalty to your store and does not mean that price is always the deciding factor for loyalty, service and experience can negate the need to always be the lowest in price. Competing on price with competitors, as you are no doubt aware, is never sustainable in the long term as it chips away at your bottom line. With a loyal customer base, you can then concentrate on maintaining a quality service worthy of the price..

In fact, the Gartner Group found that 20% of your loyal customers generate 80% of your profits. Meanwhile, Marketing Metrics found that the chances of converting first-time customers is 5 to 20%, as compared to existing customers which is 60 to 70%. This is where effective local marketing to drive customer loyalty comes into play to increase your footfall, conversion rates and your average transaction value.

Loyal customers are more likely to check your campaigns as they already have experience with your business and are more likely to trust your product and services.

The secret to all marketing is getting the tone right and appealing to a diverse base of potential customers to visit your store, in addition to those who know or shop with you already. 

Use local marketing to talk about what makes you different, your approach, offers and more. Make sure your staff know what you are marketing to enable a seamless journey from what the customer sees and reads and translates into the experience they receive on your shop floor. Train your staff to mirror your local marketing in their approach with customers and set targets with staff to identify those who were attracted into the store through your advertising. Use this intelligence to know what is working effectively and maybe not so, to fine-tune and ensure your tone resonates with your customers.

With more consumers happy to shop locally, this trend will only continue if you offer the products and service that makes shopping local a pleasure and never a chore.

To read the full article please visit ERT

Photo by Rachel Hannah Photo on Unsplash

Tagged , , , , , ,

Five Key Factors Set To Drive The Retail Sector This Year

With the annual January sales melee almost over what does the rest of 2022 hold in store for the retail sector?

It’s a sector that’s weathered the global pandemic, huge changes in consumer attitudes and a spike in technology, not the least of which is the buzzword of the moment – metaverse.

So we asked Tom Harwood, Data and Insight Manager at retail field marketing and customer experience experts, Gekko, for his take on what trends are likely to impact retail in 2022…

Tom Hardwood gekko
Tom Harwood, Insight Manager, Gekko

Having adapted to the hurdles they have faced so well over the past 18 months, it’s clear that this year retailers must keep innovating in this changing market to ensure their omni-channel and consumer experiences are exceptional, while also embracing the interests and topics on the mind of today’s shopper. 

Here are five key factors impacting retail that businesses should take note of to thrive in 2022.

Supply and demand

The well documented supply chain issues that have impacted retailers and other sectors across the country have been a tough hurdle to overcome and it is likely that into 2022 we will still be feeling the knock on effects in some quarters. 

It has, however, highlighted a positive for the industry in that it is clear there is consumer demand and the appetite to shop has returned with consumers in the market to purchase back to pre pandemic levels, and in many cases more than. 

Even while most restrictions have been lifted in the UK, there is still an element of pent up seasonal excitement across the sector, particularly as those same issues have limited certain stocks, leading to increased hype within certain product categories.

The importance of forecasting for your peaks in 2022 and planning inventory accordingly is critical and effective early planning will make sure that you are ahead of the competition at the most important times.

Retail stores and customer experiences

It is well known that the e-commerce share of the retail market was greatly accelerated by the pandemic. 

However it consistently fell after physical stores reopened in April 2021 and is now hovering at the 27% mark as of October according to the ONS. 

For this year, the return of bricks and mortar retail does not mean it can afford to rest on its laurels when it comes to innovating to reflect the new normal and fully embracing the omni-channel concept.

retail - mind the knowledge gap gekko
Time to shop: Retail sector has opportunities and issues to address in the year ahead.

In-store experiences can be re-imagined in a multitude of ways. 

In our recent consumer research, we found that 85% of shoppers are now doing research on a product or brand before heading into store, so ensuring the online and offline integration is faultless has never been more important. 

Even if a customer has decided to buy online, the physical store can still act as a collection or returns hub, importantly still drawing more footfall and further positive brand interactions.

We are now at a stage where the store itself can serve as a portal to e-commerce, as well as a place where customers can interact with a brand’s products. 

With 58% of shoppers saying that it is important to them to be able to see and touch a product before a purchase, the significance of the store shall not diminish. 

It is just that the spaces themselves will evolve into more experiential experiences for consumers.

This experience is not only about how the store presents itself, but also the staff within it. 

Our survey found that 45% of Gen Z customers will seek out great advice in-store, bearing in mind that this is a knowledgeable generation, particularly when it comes to tech products, and the importance of having knowledgeable staff on hand to engage with this valuable demographic is clear. 

2022 retail Forecast 4

In fact, 37% across all ages were willing to spend more on an electrical product if they experienced excellent service in store.

In 2022, stores can be more than just what the customer needs it to be. They can offer truly memorable, loyalty-gaining experiences that drive engagement and, most importantly, are fun to visit.

Sustainability and retail

We move onto the wider issue of sustainability, and this year it will continue to hold an increasingly prominent place in the mind of the consumer. 

The fact is that meeting this criteria with shoppers is not quite as simple as it was before, so for success in this field for 2022, there are certain areas that should be addressed. 

Along with climate related goals, consumers also continue to look for purchases that have the power to give back to their local communities or charities. 

According to NielsenIQ, “Do I need this?” will be one of the pivotal questions among shoppers for 2022, with gifts that offer positive experiences or donations on the up. 

Retailers would do well to keep their eye out for local initiatives they can partner with their customers in order to show support and solidarity.

Actions are positive, but communication also needs to be on point, as sustainability is such a broad topic there are often more questions than answers, but brands that are clear with their objectives and true to their core principles will resonate best with consumers.

Returns

While not the most exciting aspect of the shopping experience by any means, it is predicted that returns will increasingly be one of the key differentiating factors between retailers this year. 

Retailers that want to be at the forefront of this will need to invest in the processes that make this a positive experience for consumers.

For example, according to research by Forrester, three in five consumers prefer retailers that offer free return shipping. 

This quality of life offering encourages people to purchase safely in the knowledge that there will be a stress-free experience in case the product isn’t quite what they were anticipating.

If a return does happen, it is important that the process collects relevant information at all stages, the data from which can help reduce the overall issue in the long run.

The metaverse and in-store technology

Facebook’s recent announcement that it is moving to a “metaverse” focus has pushed the term into the public eye and comes as part of a wider conversation about technology within retail.

metaverse Image by Pete Linforth of Pixabay

We have already seen an increasing amount of collaborations between brands or celebrities with gaming platforms, for example Travis Scott’s virtual concerts within the Fortnite gaming world caught the imagination of many and opened up his music to a huge audience. 

It is likely that this year we see further iterations of retail services within metaverse spaces, no doubt with the world’s largest brands vying to assert the most influence from the beginning.

New technology will also help those on the shop floor. 

As we have seen, 37% of customers are specifically looking for knowledgeable assistance in stores, and with access to the right technology, staff will be able to assist in the customer journey across all channels and have the data at hand to make it a personalised journey.

Having been successfully reactive during the pandemic, it is time for businesses to look forward and find the opportunities to exceed consumers’ continually evolving needs. 

The brands that manage to do this seamlessly across all channels, while embracing fresh insights and new technologies, will be on the front foot this year and beyond.

To read the full article please visit Mediashotz

Photo by Adrian Agawin from Pexels

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Future of Video Game Retailers

Video game stores have for some years faced the dilemma of how to diversify their offering to stay afloat in a market evolving to become primarily a digital one. Since the launch of the “next generation of consoles” back in 2006, digital downloadable games have been available through the marketplaces of Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo on their respective consoles. However, initially, the list of games available to download was quite limited which benefited retailers as it would not take away business from them. 

Fast forward to 2013 and the next generation of consoles were released. The release of these new consoles brought a brand new, more reliable system in place to download full video games over the internet. The ability to download full games happened on the previous generation however, numerous factors attributed to its rather low popularity as it did not have the stability and the large selection of games as it does on the console’s successor. 

GAME’s game-changing new direction

The PS4 & Xbox One were game-changers in driving interest in digital games. This meant retailers had to diversify their offerings to provide more than just consoles and video games. For example, GAME is now selling Gaming PCs and a lot more accessories for all gaming platforms. On top of this, they provide access in-store to the Belong Arenas which are equipped with all of the latest consoles and gaming PCs with room for around 6 people to game. GAME is a prime example of a company successfully diversifying its business model to become a more experienced/service-based company. This is due to the nature of the video game market and its continuous push towards the all-digital era.

The new direction GAME is taking features a better value proposition. Martyn Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer recently described  BELONG, the Group’s esports and experience-based gaming proposition as “core to our transformation strategy and we continue to expand the business through the opening of larger BELONG gaming arenas while improving our GAME Retail offer to fully capitalise on the strong growth potential in the esports market.” (Waller-Davies, 2018)

This has proven to be successful in driving footfall to their stores with the gaming arenas as proven by the positive recent trading results.

COVID’s accelerating impact on digital transformation

Clearly, a huge impact on the video game retail industry as with all retail was the dramatic impact of COVID. Not solely due to the fact stores were closed, more so due to the change in lifestyle, most people had to adapt to. Logan Plant from IGN described COVID-19 as “not an instigator for the rise of digital media, but simply an accelerator of a trend we’ve seen take shape throughout the last console generation.” (Plant, 2021). Working from home became the norm for 1+ years and subsequently, a lot of businesses had to change how they operated to take advantage of the customers/consumers being stuck at home.

The impact of COVID was a record-breaking year for digital sales of video games. Sony also revealed that nearly 63 per cent of its “full game” sales for the 2020 calendar year came via digital downloads rather than games sold on discs at retail. 

As a result of COVID’s accelerating impact, it is important to reevaluate the current proposition and business direction of video games retailers. The current moves console developers are making into the all-digital era are having a dramatic impact on the performance of bricks and mortar retailers. A significant development happened in 2020 when the latest consoles were released (PS5 & Xbox Series X). These new consoles were released with a cheaper variant; a disk tray-free model with a cheaper price tag available from launch. This highlights the increasing dominance of the digital era and the ongoing decline of physical sales.

Owen Good from Polygon described it in stark terms: “The implication is clear: Video game fans, stuck at home, with the ability to make one-click purchases for entertainment to pass time, will do so in amounts up to the price of a full game.” (Good, 2020)

As an avid Gamer myself who has been a loyal customer of GAME since I could remember my weekends used to involve regular trips to pick up a new game or the latest console at the time. Interacting and talking with knowledgeable staff members was a huge part of the experience.

Embracing an experience-centric playbook

Despite knowledgeable in-store staff that can assist and support the customer journey, the gaming industry has changed to be a primarily digital one. However, despite this reality, there’s still a significant percentage of customers purchasing physical copies of video games. Yet the online giants such as Amazon have further eroded this market, offering next day delivery on the same selection of physical video games that high street retailers offer at a discounted price. 

The same situation is happening with Gamestop, in an article covering which companies would Amazon effect, it stated Gamestop “historically has made its money by serving as the middleman, but the game publishing industry’s move toward downloads and away from discs and cartridges is increasingly making the venue less of a destination for gamers.” (Brumley, 2019).

This of course reduces the need to pop into town and purchase a game. Additionally, on top of the physical video game competitors, each of the gaming platforms also have their own store integrated into the console where you can purchase digital copies of any game on that platform. Digital games usually have a higher RRP, however, they are usually heavily discounted during sales.

In conclusion, it’s clear to see that for retail stores to drive more footfall they need to reposition themselves and expand what they offer as a business. GAME have taken this in their stride and expanded their traditional offering of physical Video Games and Consoles to offer an immersive customer experience including VR, the opportunity to play video games with your friends in the Belong arenas, purchase fully built gaming PC’s along with the necessary accessories and gaming merchandise such as POP Vinyls or plushies. It has been proven that GAME’s new direction has driven footfall and has been profitable for them too. In order to win in the future and remain relevant, it’s time for video games retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric’ playbook.

References

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why consumer electronics retailers must develop a new ‘experience-centric’ playbook

The phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ has certainly proved the case with in-store electronics retailing. The category has faced some unprecedented challenges over the past two years. However reports of the demise of bricks and mortar retailing have proved greatly exaggerated. Experience-starved customers have voted with their feet and returned to stores in droves after the various lockdowns.

In the ‘considered purchase’ space – purchases made with significant financial or emotional thought – there is simply no match for the timeless ability of an in-store experience to engage all the senses and generate sales. This is particularly the case for consumer electronics – a category with such a high spend on key items and technical questions that need to be answered.

Mind the knowledge gap

We recently investigated the pandemic’s impact on ‘considered purchases’ in a research project called ‘Mind the Knowledge Gap’. Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories in a study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll. The categories studied included: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. 48% of respondents revealed they had made a considered purchase during the pandemic in the CE category. It was second only to DIY with 50%. However the research also revealed there is no time for complacency. The study showed that electronics retailers had lost out on some significant revenue due to poor advice during this period. 1 in 4 (24%) were put off making a purchase they had gone in-store to make, with 11% actually walking out of the store. This equates to £3.3bn in lost revenue for the category over the past 12 months alone. In fact of all the categories surveyed, shoppers in this category reported having some of the worst advice. This of course isn’t to say a poor experience was universal or even the norm. Indeed 60% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’ overall, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face-to-face sales. But the point is small improvements in advice can lead to big gains financially. With lost sales during the period and rising commodity and transport costs impacting the bottom line, this is an area that is relatively easy to fix.

Golden opportunity

The truth is £3.3bn could be a drop in the ocean compared to what could be achieved. 37% of shoppers in the CE category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in-store advice, indicating a golden opportunity is there to be grabbed. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel. The study also unearthed something of a blueprint for success for electronic retailers. Consumers revealed the top factors driving a considered purchase. Number one was the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents. Price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%).

Gen Z

Additionally the research highlights another area for optimism for electronic retailers. That is in the behaviour of the younger generations. 18-24 year olds – known as Gen Z – are more interested in consumer electronics than any other category. 52% revealed they would be prepared to spend more if given better advice. Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. Finally 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail. So how to respond? I think there are three key actionable take outs for consumer electronics retailers.

1) Invest in experts

Our research highlights the timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an in-store expert in CE. While we have spent so much of the past year and a half shopping online – it is clear online alone is no replacement for the experience and interaction of trained advisors. This is particularly the case in a category where more of us are prepared to spend more. They are consistently the best way to influence and convert a sale of a considered purchase item. Ensure they are on hand and fully trained to answer any question your curious customers may have. While some are struggling, the retailers with a real customer first mentality are succeeding. Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer, an influencer, someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online or on social media. Not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with. The benefits to the business can be significant.

2) Engage the senses and think price

An expert’s role is important but they can’t operate in isolation. As our study showed, the number one factor driving a considered purchase is the ability to see and touch a product. Price promotion and a great demo were also high on the list. So when it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up experience leading the customer to the checkout. After all this desire to engage all the senses has only been heightened during the long lockdowns we have all endured with so much mind numbing time spent in front of screens. So creating a real retail theatre is vital. Good lighting, a price promotion clearly on display, ensuring customers can interact with the product when they want and of course having the expert on hand to answer questions. It may seem simple but it is worth revisiting your customer experience strategy. Start with a genuine audit of your brands or retail estate to ensure all the senses are being fully engaged.

3) Joined up brand experience

While the thirst for the physical store experience endures, it is not about going back to 2019. The genie is now completely out of the bottle for ecommerce with even the most hardened luddites now comfortable with online search and discovery. The smart strategy is now ensuring the experience is joined up and that we better understand the drivers of the online/offline experience. In our research a conclusive 85% of shoppers said they are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. Belying any remaining stereotypes, the older age groups were more likely to go online first. 89% of 55-64 would research online first. Interestingly, 69% said a well synchronised online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase. Brands need to therefore ensure they have consistency across the full spectrum of online touchpoints, including search, social and display advertising and in-store. How does the experience feel to a customer and how is this then prompting a likely sale? Reports of the demise of in-store retail have thankfully proved premature. But while we have emerged blinking into the sunlight and luckily still standing after this period, the world we now observe is changed. Indeed survival going forward is never guaranteed and really never was in the fast paced consumer electronics category. To succeed we need to develop a new ‘experience-centric playbook’ utilising the best that a joined up in-store experience can offer; the right experts on hand to complement an experience that engages all the senses. One that is seamless and joined up with the online world of discovery that led us to the store. As we look forward to a better year, there’s all to play for. Let’s go for it.

To read the full article please visit PCR

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

Tagged , , , , , ,

Truth Matters: How to Appeal to Savvy Gen Z Shoppers

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, an independent study estimated that Gen Z’s direct and indirect spending power reached up to $143 billion. This generation is now at a level making brands and retailers alike stand up and take note. It is also a generation motivated by different factors, unforgiving of poor service, and experience hungry. Brands need to evolve to remain relevant for this new powerful audience of consumers, yet crucially not alienate existing audiences. So how could you go about surfing the fine line? 

1. Gen Z are the most information-hungry consumers

Recent research conducted on 2000 consumers, looked at what influences types of shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’. These are transactions that are made with significant financial or emotional thought. It exposed the fact that brands across some of the top retail categories are potentially missing out on close to £15bn in in-store revenue in the past year, due to poor in-person advice.

Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, the research revealed Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. In fact, 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in-store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail. So it’s clear that retailers and brands need to be innovating sufficiently to appeal and to tap into this growing market and appeal to the core differentiators of Gen Z.

They expect accurate information and immediacy and it’s this audience that is creating the benchmark which all brands and retailers need to meet to engage a digital-savvy audience. The ‘try hard’ element isn’t cool either, as this is easily spotted, so keep it breezy, intuitive, and functional with Gen Z.

2. Profit over provenance will switch younger generations off your brand

The fact that this generation is more values-driven is critical to real engagement. Making it clear why your product is worth that much, who made it, and how it was made, and under what conditions are critical consideration factors. Bear in mind the generation of Greta Thunberg will do their research, be vocal and active if you get it wrong. According to research from IPSOS, 40% of Gen Z said they will actually boycott brands, compared with 16% of Millennials. 

The world has changed and ‘profit over provenance’ is a surefire way to switch younger generations off of your brand. A brand’s politics are also an important influencer of your brand appeal with this generation. The recent creation of Facebook’s parent company, Meta, was clearly driven more by finances than branding, only to protect its share price. This was on the back of poor publicity hitting its cornerstone brand, further turning off younger generations. Research from Statista from 2020 revealed the waning interest in Facebook among Gen Z. It came behind Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger, and Snapchat when asked which platform could you least do without. After all, while Gen Zers may have a Facebook profile, they don’t think that Facebook speaks to them or their followers.

3. Heritage won’t be enough – price and functionality will

This generation in question are considered consumers and aren’t easily fooled. Gen Z have a shrewd approach to not only their own finances but also evaluating the true value of what they are buying. This critical consideration of a brand’s values means that brands must work harder if they are to succeed.

Just like those bygone brands that died with their aging fan base, the appeal of your brand can not be purely based on your heritage. This means nothing to certain age groups, especially in the CE category where digital natives are unlikely to have nostalgic sentiments to old tech. That TV brand they remember their grandparents having isn’t going to appeal. They may think it’s an outdated brand and, moreover, it’s highly likely they don’t even watch linear TV. Any premium messaging you apply may not appeal either as the functionality is more important than the sleekness of look. Indeed, our recent research showed that a good price promotion was the most important consideration for Generation Z in the considered purchase space. 

Gen Z want brands to give them what they want at a price they can afford and that has been made responsibly. Brands need to work hard to communicate and demonstrate this so that it resonates with the psyche of a younger generation.

4. A synchronized experience is key

As the research has conclusively shown, 85% of shoppers are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. In fact, 84% of Gen Z shoppers said a well synchronized online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase, increasing the need for a brand to lay out the customer journey clearly to appeal to these shoppers. Think customer-, not platform-first, and ensure there is a seamless journey from discovery, research to purchase. How consistent is the brand experience and how can you better enhance the experience and make the sale? The digital native traits of this generation mean that you just can’t cut it with old websites and apps.

The approach should be that every person who visits your website and then walks through the door of a shop is given a joined-up experience and is viewed as a potential customer and influencer. Someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online, or on social media and is not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with.

Belying the stereotypes, it is clear the generation who most welcome expert brand advice is Gen  Z. Indeed, as our research indicates the right advice can lead to younger customers willingly spending more. However, if you favour profit over provenance they will be turned off, and be more than willing to boycott your brand. Heritage is also less of a factor for this generation and loyalty will need to be delivered through the value and functionality you can offer, not some mythical appeal. A joined-up and seamless experience online and offline is also now an absolute must for brands and retailers to survive in a changing market. It’s now about making the investment to do so and implement a new experience-centric playbook. This is the way to appeal to Gen Z and indeed all generations. After all, these younger pioneers are creating the benchmark which all brands and retailers need to meet to engage a modern digital-savvy audience.

To read the full article please visit Branding Magazine

Photo by Ali Pazani

Press Coverage – PCR – Shoppers reveal top factors motivating a ‘considered purchase

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with 1 in 4 (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance. Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, MD says: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

He continues: “To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

Article originally published by PCR

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Tagged , , , , ,

Shoppers Reveal Top Factors Motivating A ‘Considered Purchase’: Engage The Senses, Think Price And Expert Advice

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with 1 in 4 (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance. Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, MD says: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

He continues: “To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

What would be the most important factors to you in making a ‘considered purchase’ in store?

  • Ability to see and touch a product: 58%
  • Price promotion: 56%
  • Great advice: 37%
  • Effective product demonstration: 28%
  • Social distancing followed: 25%
  • A stylish store: 15%

Article originally published by Business Mondays

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Tagged , , , , ,

Shoppers Reveal Top Factors Motivating A ‘Considered Purchase’ – Can You Guess Them?

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. 

According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Top factors for shoppers

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. 

This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with one in four (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. 

The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance.

gekko Formula for retail success

Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. 

The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. 

These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. 

Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. 

In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, Gekko MD, said: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. 

“Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. 

“This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. 

“Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

“To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. 

“Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. 

“This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

What would be the most important factors to you in making a ‘considered purchase’ in store?

  • Ability to see and touch a product: 58%
  • Price promotion: 56%
  • Great advice: 37%
  • Effective product demonstration: 28%
  • Social distancing followed: 25%
  • A stylish store: 15%

Article originally published by MediaShotz

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: