Retail Marketing Strategy in 2017 – Innovations and Trends

2017 is set to be a pivotal year for retail. With e-commerce, social media, and changing buyer behavior, retailers were in a state of flux during 2016. While 2017 still holds some uncertainty, we now know that several innovations and trends are coming and they’re going to revolutionize retail marketing strategy.

Here are the 6 trends and innovations that’ll help maximize customer spending in 2017:

Setting the record straight on free and fast shipping

In 2016, we saw several retailers attempt to follow Amazon’s example (free 2-day shipping). As Amazon continues to innovate and push the boundaries of shipping times, it’ll become impossible to compete. Consumers can already order a product and have it delivered in 2 hours, for free.

Blindly following in the footsteps of Amazon isn’t necessary. A recent survey showed that 87% of shoppers prioritize free shipping over fast shipping. In other words, free shipping is mandatory, fast shipping is just an advantage. With that said, most shoppers still expect to receive their purchases within a week’s time.

Mobile first

It’s no secret that users are utilizing their smartphones more often and in more areas of their shopping experience than ever before. Shoppers are now using mobile to:

  • Research products and brands before making a purchase
  • Compare prices and sales
  • Search for coupons
  • Find business location information
  • Purchase products
  • Find reviews

A whopping 78% of shoppers plan to use their smartphones during the shopping process and that number is only going to rise. Some experts within the industry are even expecting to see 50% of online sales come from mobile sources.

This places tremendous pressure on retailers to create the best user experience for mobile. This could be in the form of a mobile app that makes purchasing simpler or as creative as Nordstrom’s recently tested service which allows customers to text or call the Nordstrom associate as they are near the store. The store’s employee will then head down and meet the customer outside, so they won’t even have to get out of their car.

Web presence is everything

Establishing a web presence, investing in social media, and utilizing digital marketing were the 3 biggest strategic investments during 2016 for retailers. This will definitely continue to be the case in 2017 as establishing a web presence becomes more and more crucial to succeeding.

To be successful as a retailer in 2017, you’ll need to unify your online marketing efforts with your brick and mortar operations. This includes using social media to both engage with and sell to your customers. A great example of social media usage is TopShelf Style’s Instagram:
Images like this both builds the brand, and if you note their description, it even makes sales! 2017 will make a web presence like this crucial to succeeding – so brush up on your social media skills!

Indoor Navigation

One of the most promising innovations in the retail marketing is indoor navigation. Indoor navigation allows you to greatly enhance your customer’s shopping experience by providing real time, turn by turn shopping directions.

Another promising addition to the technology is the opportunities it provides retailers to connect with and engage shoppers. By using accurate location data, retailers can send personalized and highly relevant messaging and offers. We’ve seen retailer’s sales increase by up to 30% when using our platform.

Indoor navigation can also be used to make customer support simpler with customers able to request assistance and see where the associate or manager is in the store. Our platform also provides retailers with powerful analytics that can help them determine the optimal layout for their venue.

Smartphone usage in stores

Research shows that 84% of consumers use their phones to go online while at a store.

It’s incredibly important that retailers capitalize on this user behavior whether it’s in the form of indoor navigation or some other creative way to incorporate people’s smartphones. Several retailers are beginning to offer apps that help improve the buying experience and keep customers coming back.

2017 will see a lot more tech and innovation in this sector and it will be important to keep up with the latest trends to stay relevant as a retailer.

Brick and mortar’s changing role

One major change that we’ve seen throughout the years is the changing role of brick and mortar locations. While these locations served as the primary sales driver in the past, that’s quickly changing. Now, retailers are being forced to look at these locations in a new light.

Rather than the primary sales driver, they are now becoming ways to connect with customers. We can see this change in stores like Microsoft stores where VR demos, playable consoles, weekly games tournaments, and more make them a popular hangout spot for the tech crowd.

You’ll need to begin thinking of ways to reach out to and engage with the community in 2017 using your store. Consider throwing events at your store and incorporating fun activities to keep the foot traffic coming in.

Retail Marketing Strategy in 2017: A Brief Summary

Retail marketing strategy is constantly changing, and if you’re not careful you’ll quickly fall behind. In order to stay competitive in 2017, you’ll need to be investing in free shipping, putting mobile first, changing the role of your brick and mortar locations, and investing in up and coming technology like indoor navigation.