TOP 3 REASONS WHY CONSUMERS STILL SHOP RETAIL

Is Retail Still the Place to Be?

85% of purchases are still made at the retail level, in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. But why does this happen when most can agree that shopping online makes life so much easier? Is it because people are still yearning for human interaction? We’ll explore the top three reasons why consumers still choose to go to a brick-and-mortar retail store in 2019, and what this can mean for online businesses.

1. Humans are Tactile

Human beings are naturally tactile creatures, in that they like to be able to touch a product. Some people learn through touch, or bond through touch more so than others. But on the whole, the average consumer enjoys the ability to be able to pick up a product and get a hands-on feel for the texture, weight, and the dimensions of the item.

Women more so than men prefer the tactile shopping experience, while both young and old consumers equally enjoy the physical shopping experience they can get in traditional stores. While online shopping can make the purchasing process quicker, easier, and faster, it will never be able to replace the tactile needs and desires that people have.

2. The Need for Speed

In-store shoppers enjoy the ability to immediately purchase and take their items home with traditional shopping methods. Even super fast, two-day online shipping can’t fulfill this desire that consumers have. Younger consumers and men prefer the ability to take an item home with them from the store immediately. When you order online, you might be waiting for several weeks before you get your item. This desire is probably something that online shopping will never be able to meet.

3. Returns are Easier

In surveys on brick-and-mortar retail versus online shopping, the ability to easily return an item rounds out the top three reasons why consumers like the retail experience. Returns for in-store items are usually more straightforward and faster than a return for an online store. However, some online retailers do not offer a straightforward, quick, or easy way for shoppers to return an item. This is something that could be fixed and optimized for online companies.

Surveys conducted on online shopping versus retail shopping have found that human interaction is at the bottom of the list when it comes to why people may prefer the traditional retail experience. For the most part, consumers want speed and convenience. While on the surface it can seem like online shopping should have this in the bag compared to retail shopping, that’s not always the case.

Online retailers can’t magically make an item appear in a person’s lap as soon as they click the “buy” button on their laptop or mobile device. Likewise, online retailers can’t give consumers a tactile experience of the product. But they can improve the returns process to better compete with brick-and-mortar retailers. While physical stores are still the primary way that people shop, a full 7% of surveyed consumers said that they only shop online. And, that number is expected to continue to grow.

Do you primarily shop online or do you prefer the traditional retail experience? Why or why not? Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

WHAT BEING NICE MEANS FOR BRANDS AND BUSINESSES

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Do you think it is better to be powerful or to be liked?
 
Why does this have to be an either/or proposition? Being liked is power, and one of the quickest ways to gain someone’s trust and get them to like you is to be nice, polite, and to play fairly.
 
Why is being nice trending in today’s society? 
 
In the last few years, our culture has shifted dramatically. With the rise of digital technology, everyone and their uncle’s opinions are available at the touch of a button. While this rise in global interconnectedness seems to have created an amplification of people’s spiteful and negative attitudes, this appears to be winding down. People are becoming more aware of how they speak to each other, and how their actions both online and offline can have a negative impact on how other people feel or perceive them.
 
Also, the recession may have had something to do with this as well. After the market crash in 2008, big business had a PR disaster on their hands. People became more distrustful of companies in general, and their expectations for businesses has changed. Now, people, especially younger consumers, put an emphasis on being able to trust that a brand acts ethically and is honest and transparent in their dealings.
 
Is it true that people are becoming kinder, gentler, and more polite? It remains to be seen. But being nice is definitely trending, and people across all business industries and walks of life are starting to realize that positivity and kindness are beginning to reign supreme.

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What does this mean for brands?
 
For brands and businesses to remain relevant, it’s critical that their messaging is aligned with broader society’s values and positive, rising trends. The trending power of being nice should be reflected in the brands that entrepreneurs create and the way they position themselves. This also has many practical implications for what brands can do to improve consumer’s perceptions of their brands. Remember, it’s critical to gaining a customer’s trust that your brand is seen as ethical and honest in their dealings and advertising methods. For instance: 

  • Be mindful of what your company’s representatives say and how they conduct themselves on social media.

  • Be aware of your customer service reputation.

  • Look at your online reviews from third-party sites. Where can you improve?

  • Is your messaging aligned with your values and your target customer’s values?

Hopefully, the power of being nice is here to stay. It’s better for society and the business ecosystem if people can get ahead by playing by the rules, being nice, and being polite to customers, business associates, and competitors alike.
 
More importantly, do you think being nice is here to stay? How do you think the concept of being nice can improve your company’s bottom line, and the ability to attract and retain customers?

TOP 3 WAYS TO MAKE THE FREEMIUM MODEL WORK FOR YOU

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Modern shoppers are bombarded with advertisements. In our highly connected, digital age, there is no end in sight to the range of products, services, and brands that a consumer can purchase from and support. But with so many ads and brands competing for consumer’s limited attention and discretionary income, how can a company find new consumers, and get them hooked on their products or services? Finding qualified leads isn’t enough. You need to find a way to compel those leads to make a purchase. What’s one of the quickest ways to do that? The freemium model, and we’ll cover the top three ways the freemium model can work for your business.

With profit margins getting tighter in many industries, the freemium model does have a few downsides. But for subscription-based service models, going freemium can be an excellent way to build your brand awareness, convert leads to sales, and increase your profits.

1. The freemium model cuts through the noise.

The average consumer sees 5,000 product ads a day. Offering a compelling freemium service for a trial period is a quick and easy way to cut through the noise and the competition online. But to make this work for your business, you need to offer an obvious value to the customer with your freemium versus paid subscription model.  

Spotify does a great job here. They offer a freemium, but users have to listen to commercials for one thing, and they can’t download songs to a multitude of devices with Spotify freemium. Upgrading to the paid option though gives them the ability to skip songs, skip commercials, and download their playlists to any mobile device.

What you need to do is offer the customer an obvious value when they upgrade to make freemium work for you. When the customer sees how valuable your service is with freemium, but how much better it can be with the upgrade, the chances of them converting to a paid customer are much higher.

2. Nurture the freemium leads.

In most cases, it takes consumers a while to decide to make a purchase, and most leads are not ready to buy straight away. That’s why nurturing your freemium leads is crucial to getting this model to work for your business. Think about your sales funnel, and creating lead nurturing email campaigns to expose the leads to your brand and compel them to make a purchase.

3. Hold back on core functions.

You don’t want to give away too much, too soon with the freemium model if you want it to lead to future sales. While the freemium model can work if you’re strategic about it, not every freemium subscriber is going to convert. Your freemium people still have value as potential brand advocates. The trick here is not to give away for free too many of your company’s core functions. Doing so will cause the freemium model to eat into your profit margins, and it won’t work.

The freemium model isn’t dead, and subscription-based companies can make it work for them if they keep these three tips in mind when creating a freemium model as part of their marketing campaigns.

DO MODERN CONSUMERS CARE MORE ABOUT BRAND OR CONVENIENCE?

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Marketing products and services to consumers have never been easy. For modern businesses, marketers, and entrepreneurs, it’s impossible to say if marketing to consumers in the 21st century is more difficult than in the past. But one thing is for sure - it’s more complicated.
 
Modern consumers care about a lot of things when it comes to choosing a product or service - efficacy, price, perceived value, brand story, and more. But what has really changed the rules of the marketing game is what’s known as The Amazon Factor. With the rise of the on-demand, store-for-everything, do modern consumers care more about brand or convenience?

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The Amazon store model gives consumers convenience on steroids.
In the not-so-distant past, convenience for consumers meant the grocery store was within a reasonable walking distance. Or, they could have their items shipped and delivered to them within a couple of weeks. As far as selection went, a convenient selection for our grandparents meant there were three types of coffee to choose from instead of a single brand. One of which was merely, “decaf.”
 
Amazon and similar stores have completely turned the concept of consumer convenience on its head, and have pumped it full of steroids. The genie is out of the bottle, and there is no going back to the good old days of the “convenient” small town grocer.

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Consumers are driven by a different set of expectations for the businesses they choose to support. Because of retail giants like Amazon, consumers want access to a variety of products, and they want to purchase it right now. But that’s not all. They want those products delivered to their door within two days. In some cases, even two days is not fast enough, and it’s one of the reasons why billion dollar businesses are experimenting with drone delivery.
 
On top of fast, convenient delivery, younger consumers who came of age with the rise in online shopping prefer to have a product delivered if cost and availability are comparable to getting in a car and driving to their shopping destination.
 
Having a reputable brand with a humanizing story isn’t enough for modern consumers. Consumers want online, quick access to a brands catalog of products and services.

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Younger consumers are less likely to purchase from rigid verticals. Consumer reports from 2017 and 2018 have found that:

  • Consumers prefer fast, simple, and efficient retail processes.

  • Consumers who shop both online and offline visit a store to purchase something specific.

  • Casual browsing, both offline and online, is less likely to happen in the digital era.

  • 73% of shoppers say they visit both online and offline stores with a specific item for purchase in mind.

  • 58% of surveyed customers cite having the ability to find what they want quickly and efficiently as the most critical factor in determining where they shop.

  • 44% of consumers say that the second most important factor for shopping is a company’s customer service.

What’s the bottom line?
Consumers, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers, care more about convenience than brand. Businesses will have to give consumers convenient, flexible shopping experiences to remain competitive. This doesn't mean forget about your brand, it just means there's a shift in priority and you need to recognize it... NOW!