The metaverse is a term you’ve most likely noticed being tossed around on the internet in the last year or so. Many predict that the metaverse is the future of the internet. At the moment it is used primarily for entertainment purposes. While the metaverse may seem like a gimmick right now, it will become so much more than that. In the long term, the metaverse has the potential to transform the shopping experience, and create a more engaging and immersive experience for consumers.
These digital worlds (where many will work and play) will be the next step in internet use. There have already been a number of concerts and events taking place in the digital space. While it’s still early days for the metaverse, retailers should get involved earlier, because the cost of entry is lower today.
During the early days of the internet, many businesses were quick to dismiss the idea of shoppers buying online. But the first businesses who started online stores ended up with a major advantage versus their competitors. So the question remains, how can retailers take advantage of the metaverse?
You can own a digital space for your business just like you can own a physical space for your brick and mortar store. A digital space allows you to interact with your customer and introduce them to your products.
When saying digital space you may be confusing it with an online website or ecommerce store. In this situation a digital space is a 3D environment on the metaverse where companies can actually create virtual stores. The virtual stores actually allow users to interact with product and see them in a 3D space. Whereas on an ecommerce store the consumer would only be able to see pictures and videos of the product.
The metaverse would allow you to create a new shopping experience for your customers. Forever 21 used the platform *Roblox to allow shoppers to create their own versions of digital Forever 21 stores. In these user-created stores, digital versions of existing merchandise were sold. The products were then actually delivered to the buyers’ real-life homes.
*For those unaware, Roblox is an online gaming platform which allows users to create their own virtual worlds/games. Similar to YouTube, where users create content for others to watch – in Roblox users create games for others to play.
Simply rehashing your existing store on the digital front will not be a successful way to deliver this new shopping experience. Sky Canaves, a senior analyst at Insider Intelligence says that there is no need to be stuck between 4 walls in the metaverse, she continues that metaverse shopping can be so much more experiential. Imagine shopping for a car and being able to drive the car around in the Italian countryside all from your home. This is the type of experience merchants will want to foster for their metaverse customers.
Merchandising’s new boundaries
Metaverse shopping will help push merchandising to new limits. Showcasing your products in the digital world will allow for new and exciting ways for customers to see your offerings. Similarly to the car example in the last paragraph, companies can allow consumers to test merchandise in the virtual world. Besides the virtual world, retailers can leverage the new technology associated with the metaverse to show off their merchandise. Back in 2017, Ikea introduced their app Ikea Placewhich allows customers to use their iPhone cameras to see what Ikea furniture would look like in their own homes before committing to a purchase. This use of AR (augmented reality) has become commonplace for many retailers.
The beauty of the metaverse is that unlike a traditional brick & mortar store, a retailer’s merchandising is not confined to the physical space available inside the store. Shopping on the metaverse allows retailers to showcase an unlimited amount of products in a limitless space. For example a hardware store could showcase every single type of cabinet, flooring tile, or whatever other product they have in a virtually infinitely sized warehouse. Furthermore searching for these products on a digital store will be much easier than a physical store. Users could hypothetically type in what they are searching for and have the product magically appear in front of them so they can inspect it before purchasing. For a better idea of what this could look like, check out companies’ early visions of metaverse shopping.
Besides building brand awareness, companies can hold other sorts of promotions in the metaverse. Brands can host special events in the metaverse such as classes, conferences, and workshops. For promoting the film ‘In the Heights’ Warner Brothers held a large block party on the Roblox platform. This made for an accessible way for consumers to partake in a promotional event.
Retailer can even start offering promotional exclusives on the metaverse. For example you could pair the sale of a shoe at a shoe store with a digital version of the shoe for an online game like Fortnite. In fact Nike has already filed patents to begin selling digital versions of their products.
A company who wants to succeed in the metaverse will be paying attention to the different ways big brands are interacting with it already. Take the lessons from the big players and see what you can change in your approach. We understand, the metaverse is still young and nothing is concrete yet. But by paying attention to what is going on in the digital space you may come up with the next big idea which will influence everyone else. There is some investment and technical know how needed to get involved in the digital world. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled as the metaverse will continue to grow. The new digital front will provide a bunch of new opportunities. You don’t want to end up like the brands who dismissed the internet back in the 90s.
With TAKU Retail you can create an all inclusive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will get you ready to move your physical store to an online platform. Find out how TAKU Retail can help you achieve a seamless and successful omnichannel system for your business below!
Generation Z is an important customer base for retailers. Gen Z is the generation after millennials and includes anyone born after 1997. There are several ways in which Gen Z is different from previous generations.
1. Gen Z are digital natives
Generation Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations. They are also on track to be the most well-educated generation so far. One of the biggest reasons that Gen Z is unique is because they are digital natives. This means that they have no memory of the world before the existence of smartphones.
As such, Gen Z prefers on-demand communication and entertainment. Members of Gen Z are heavy users of social media. They connect across multiple devices, such as phones, tablets, and laptops. Statistics show that 58% of Gen Z have bought something they found through social media.
2. Gen Z has embraced social commerce.
It’s not just social media that’s important to Gen Z. Social commerce – the process of selling products on social media – is too. According to a Forrester report, 29% percent of people under 25 said they complete a purchase on a social network without leaving the mobile site or app at least once a week. Compare this with only 12% of people ages 45-54.
They also experience brands across multiple channels. A Pew Research report shows that 85% use YouTube, 72% use Instagram, and 69% use Snapchat. TikTok has become increasingly popular among Gen Z. A recent survey showed almost 40% of Gen Z say they’re influenced by products they see on TikTok.
3. Gen Z are “always-on” purchasers.
Unlike other generations, those in Gen Z exist in an “always-on” technological environment. This means they are also “always-on” purchasers. A typical path for a Gen Z shopper might be like this:
They shop online, whether they are at school or home.
They see something they like but they don’t buy it yet.
They visit a brick-and-mortar store because they want the experience of browsing in the store.
They see an ad for that item on social media.
They buy that item through social media.
What is the value of Gen Z to retailers?
Gen Z means big business for retailers. According to Forbes, Gen Z represents an estimated $143 billion in annual spending power. Gen Z also makes up more than 40% of all US consumers. The digital-first world of Gen Z is a big influence on other consumers. This means that the digital-first world of Gen Z will become the new standard.
Five ways retailers can attract Gen Z consumers
1. Flexible financial payment options
Offering Buy Now Pay Later options is an important way to attract Gen Z consumers. According to NerdWallet, one in five 2021 holiday shoppers used Buy Now Pay Later. Twenty-two percent of those shoppers were members of Gen Z.
Buy Now Pay Later appeals to Gen Z’s desire to purchase trendy items with easy-to-understand, no interest fee installments. It also appeals to Gen Z’s impulse to get those items immediately while they’re still “cool.” Giving Gen Z those options makes good business sense. In a PayPal and Netfluential study, 42% of merchants said that “buy now pay later” options reduce shopping cart abandonment.
2. Personalized experiences
Gen Z wants to feel “known,” not only seen and heard. This is why personalized product recommendations will attract Gen Z consumers. According to an international study, 75% are more likely to buy a product if they can customize it.
Forty-one percent of Gen Z will provide their data to businesses if they receive a personalized experience in return. This is an excellent way for retailers to gather customer data. It also helps businesses target their online sales and marketing tactics to Gen Z consumers. If retailers don’t make sure to capture the Gen Z audience they risk losing that customer base. Forty-one percent of Gen Z consumers will leave a website if it doesn’t predict what they like, want, or need.
3. Entertainment and engagement
The digital natives of Gen Z spend a lot of time on the internet, with 65% seeking entertainment there. Social media apps are one place where Gen Z finds entertainment. According to studies, 20% of Gen Z spends more than 5 hours a day on TikTok. Since Gen Z also loves personalized content, it makes sense that they will look for organic content while they are scrolling online.
This desire for instant gratification means they want an easy, enjoyable shopping experience. Gen Z uses multiple channels for both entertainment and shopping. They also want their shopping experience to be frictionless across all of these channels. Gen Z loves to create so retailers should take advantage of this providing them with customizable content they can create and share.
4. Social responsibility
Gen Z is more invested in social responsibility than previous generations. Their interest in social responsibility shows in their shopping habits. Seventy-two percent of Gen Z are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Gen Z will also pay more for products they think are socially responsible. Sixty-four percent of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay a premium for grocery products that have sustainable packaging.
There are many ways that retailers can make their businesses more sustainable. They can recycle old goods and source sustainable brands and products. Going paperless is a great way for businesses to reduce waste. Brick-and-mortar retailers can recycle old goods or even use refurbished or recycled materials for in-store displays and decor. Upcycling or donating unsold stock or samples are other ways that businesses can invest in sustainability.
Retailers can find ways to reduce their carbon footprint in shipping and logistics. They can also give customers the option to choose carbon-neutral shipping options. Above all, retailers should set sustainability goals and stick to them. They should be transparent with their customers about their processes.
For Gen Z, authenticity is more than a buzzword, it’s a way of life. Gen Z wants a quality product with positive online ratings and reviews and good customer service. They also want to feel like they can trust retailers’ advertising practices. Eighty-two percent of Gen Z trusts a company more if the images they use in their ads are of actual customers. You can entice Gen Z customers by emphasizing that your brand stands for something beyond making a profit and seeks to improve the world in some way. Retailers who are transparent and share information about their business processes and how they operate will be able to attract Gen Z customers.
TAKU Retail can help you attract Gen Z customers by providing a seamless shopping experience. You can market your products on social media and meet Gen Z customers where they live without any extra effort – simply use your existing POS data automatically! Our customizable in-store and built-in e-commerce options will offer Gen Z the flexible omnichannel shopping experiences they want. TAKU Retail also offers live chat so that Gen Z can enjoy a more personalized shopping experience.
Easter falls on April 17th this year. With many COVID-19 restrictions easing everywhere, shoppers are increasingly confident and energized about shopping now. Easter is the first big family holiday of the year. As a retailer, the holidays are a great marketing and sales opportunity. Here are 3 tips for Easter retail marketing this year.
1. Offer ready-to-go promotions and discounts to attract customers
Shoppers today expect convenience and curation when they buy. Make it easy for your customers to grab products without any extra effort. Even if you don’t specialize in chocolate or sell Easter-related products you can still offer a unique angle. Make promotions related to Spring-time activities such as: spring cleaning, spring weather, gardening, etc. Spring is the ideal season for launching new products and exclusives. The season is traditionally seen as a time of renewal and hope, making it the best time to launch new products!
You can also tempt more shoppers into buying from you by:
Discounting your best-selling items with an Easter or Spring theme
Getting rid of your winter products through deep discounts on the items
Preparing small giveaway goodies that customers can get once their purchase reaches a certain amount of money – or if they purchase a product that’s being promoted
You can also set up a landing page or a section on your website / e-commerce site which will advertise these promotions. This way shoppers can easily browse through sale and seasonal items. TAKU helps you create a free micro-website or landing page. In our builder, you can create a beautiful SEO-optimized web page with custom colors, images, and content. The content can be linked directly to your Instagram Shop, Facebook Shop, Google store listings and even Messenger chat. The process will only take you 5 minutes to set up. Afterwards it runs on autopilot. Learn more here.
2. Inspirational giveaways and contests
“Especially during COVID right now, we know that the shopper has been looking for different ways to be inspired — whether that be through recipes or activities or ways just to make ordinary moments more special…”
Lauren Foltz, senior manager of holistic shopper insights at Hershey. (source)
Make YOUR consumer feel special by considering giveaways and / or social media contests. You can have customers sign up for these contests by agreeing to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter; two birds with one stone. This will then direct your followers from the online platform to your physical store. It can also increase your visibility on social media and make your store more recognizable. You could also create a short Easter game like a virtual egg hunt to make your promotions more fun. You can even encourage your customers to vote between products to learn their preferences so you can adjust your communications to match their needs. Then you can encourage the winners to share their prize or experience on social media for some good old word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, the goal with this year’s Easter retail marketing is to make your customers feel special.
You can use TAKU’s 360° real-time customer view to see your customers’ sales history in real-time so you can target a specific audience. If your customers are heavy social media users, use our built-in Facebook or Instagram feeds to sell directly to your followers. You can get a pretty clear overview of their total relationship with your business, across all channels, in store and online.
3. Launch remarketing campaigns for Easter retail marketing
Holiday retail marketing is a great opportunity to win back past visitors as well. You can use Facebook “retargeting” ads to attract old visitors back to your website. You will need to set up a Facebook pixel on your website to do this. The retargeting ads can showcase your Easter offers & promotions. You could also show different offers to people who have interacted with your website before. For the best results, retarget past website visitors who added items to their cart but never checked out. After all, nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned without finishing the transaction (source: Baymard Institute). You can also target shoppers who have engaged with you on social media during the previous weeks. In a nutshell, you want to get customers to come back and finish the sales they started.
TAKU can simplify this entire process for you. Our built-in abandoned cart saver will help you recapture those pesky cart abandoners! The entire automated process will leave you worry-free.
Experiential retail continues to grow in importance
The competition in physical retail grows daily. Experiential retail is a way for you to make your business stand out. Create unique and memorable in-store experiences by focusing on community, events, and your potential & existing customers’ interests. This way, instead of only aiming to increase sales revenue, you’ll also deliver enjoyable experiences that build brand affinity.
Let’s say you sell sustainably made cookware. You could create a community-building opportunity in store by hosting a mix-and-mingle experience with other businesses that create products for a similar audience. For example, you could invite a chef, a tableware brand, a local farmer, and a brand that makes 100% natural sauces or seasoning to participate in the event.
All the brands involved can display their products. So as the shoppers are experiencing the awesome products, they can also make purchases.
Depending on the point of sale (POS) used at your store, you can review your customer profiles to get an overview of purchase history and interests that can help inform your strategy to create the in-store experiences your customers are looking for.
After several years of restrictions, shoppers are increasingly looking for opportunities to celebrate their lives. While many retailers make a significant portion of their sales at the end of the year, there are a lot of other seasonal holidays that can help to spread out sales throughout the year.
If you’re looking for merchandising ideas and sales opportunities, consider adding some of the following celebrations this year to your retail holiday marketing calendar.
Black History Month (February)
Lunar / Chinese New Year, Asia
Note that this holiday follows a lunisolar calendar. Therefore the timing of the holiday changes every year and can start any time from the end of January to mid-February. It is usually a 3 week festive period with the first day being celebrated as the New Year day. For the New Year day in the Gregorian calendar until 2031, you can refer to this website.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 13)
Valentine’s Day (February 14)
President’s Day (February 21)
Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday (March 1)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Daylight Savings Time begins (March 13)
Spring Break/March Break (March 14 – 18)
White Day, Asia (March 14)
Holi Festival (March 18)
First Day of Spring (March 20)
April Fool’s Day (April 1)
Ramadan begins (April 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
National Pet Day (April 11)
Tax Season (April 15)
Good Friday (April 15)
Easter (April 17)
Passover (April 15 – 23)
Earth Day (April 22)
Wedding Season (May)
Graduation Day (May)
Ramadan ends (May 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Eid al-Fitr (May 3)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Victoria Day, Canada (May 23)
Mother’s Day (May 8)
Memorial Day, US (May 30)
Pride Month (June 1- 30)
World Environment Day (June 5)
Father’s Day (June 19)
Juneteenth, US (June 19)
Summer Solstice (June 21)
Canada Day (July 1)
US Independence Day (July 4)
Islamic New Year (July 29 – 30)
Back to School season begins
Back to School season ends
Labor Day (September 5)
Grandparents’ Day (September 11)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Although the word omnichannel is often used in retail, it is a term that is often misunderstood. Here is an explanation of what omnichannel means, how it works, and how it can help you increase your profits.
1. What is a retail sales channel?
Sales channels refer to every different method used by retailers to sell their products to customers. Sales channels go beyond brick & mortar stores. Other sales channels could be events, trade shows, resellers, dealers, curbside pickup, and on-the-go pickup. Additionally, sales channels can also include social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), SMS, instant messaging, and even Google Ads.
Most retailers start off selling on a single channel. This can be a physical brick and mortar store or an online only webstore. Prior to the pandemic, an increasing number of retailers have started to add new sales channels to their businesses as shoppers now expect to be able to shop and pre-shop in more than one place.
2. What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a fully-integrated retail experience for shoppers. So when omnichannel works, it means customers will have the same experience no matter which sales channel they use. A customer who buys products from a brick & mortar store should have the same experience as one who uses social media channels to buy products. This is the ideal outcome for a successful omnichannel retail business.
What many retailers aren’t as familiar with, is that retailers must use a system that can share sales, inventory, and customer information (data) across all sales channels to be able to offer omnichannel retail. This means handling all store sales and fulfillment of online orders under a single login. In particular, omnichannel systems make store-managed e-commerce such as “buy online pickup in-store” a lot more efficient.
A successful system handles data for sales, inventory and customer information across all brick & mortar stores, online storefronts, ecommerce marketplaces, mobile channels/apps (WhatsApp), and social media commerce (Facebook or Instagram Shop). You should be able to sell to your customers no matter where they shop. In the past, omnichannel systems were expensive and only available to very large retailers. However, today’s modern cloud systems have made it possible for small-to-mid-sized retailers to take advantage of the cost-savings and sales boosting benefits of omnichannel retail.
3. What is the difference between multichannel & omnichannel?
It’s important not to confuse omnichannel with multichannel, despite their similarities. Like omnichannel, multichannel refers to retailers selling to customers through different sales channels. Yet, in a multichannel setup, these channels are not integrated.
Unlike omnichannel, multichannel does not unify the customer experience. And more importantly, multichannel retail costs merchants a lot more money because they need to log into separate tools or channels to manage inventory separately, or see sales and customer history. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to lost sales and errors. It also increases the complexity of your sales and tax management. Additionally, multichannel increases the cost of managing inventory if sales are being fulfilled from the store or the same place.
4. Why is omnichannel retail important?
Omnichannel selling offers a data-driven approach to retail. As stock levels change, you will want to know the product levels in every channel. A good omnichannel system will do this automatically. This means you will never have to manually manage stockouts. A good omnichannel system will also increase sales by highlighting your best customers across all sales channels. It will focus on faster fulfill of every sale, no matter where the sale originates.
Omnichannel systems are increasingly effective at attracting people to brick & mortar locations. They do this by linking to Google to drive foot traffic to stores based on how close nearby shoppers are to available stock. This increases overall profits by increasing in-store and sales conversion rates.
The goal is a memorable and positive experience for your customers. Omnichannel can make this happen.
TAKU Retail can provide you with a comprehensive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will remove friction between channels. Because TAKU is cloud-based, it can function on any device since it’s not tied to any specific type of hardware. This enables you to use any existing web-enabled devices from desktop computers or tablets to smartphones.
TAKU can not only help you increase sales and reduce operational costs, but it can also help you get in front of shoppers before they even leave their homes. Click below to find out about other ways TAKU Retail can help you achieve a successful omnichannel system for your business.
Shoppers now expect the perk of Buy Online Pick Up In-Store to be a given. However, you need to consider the operations of your retail business before you can offer BOPIS. Without support from modern retail software, BOPIS runs the risk of decreasing customer satisfaction.
Being able to find exactly what they want at the price point they need will undoubtedly thrill shoppers. However, if the second half of the process falls short of expectations, it will drive customers to search elsewhere and put the business lower on their list of trusted retailers.
1. Accurate inventory information without extra staff
Retail expert Suzanne Sears notes that more and more consumers are feeling confident about returning to in-person shopping. She says “Pent-up savings among consumers, who have greater access to products than services, are making purchases. This has created a demand for work in warehousing, shipping, supply chain, buying, stores, e-commerce, and right on through the entire operation.” This has significantly impacted the search for qualified new hires. Staffing shortages have become a widespread problem. Businesses across North America are not only struggling to find employees but also struggling to keep them around.
Reduced staff means there are fewer employees available to manually track inventory across multiple systems. Understaffed stores cannot handle these challenges, resulting in inventory accuracy as low as 70%. This means that at any given time, nearly a third of inventory stock can be inaccurate. This is especially true with high-traffic or high-inventory stores, many of which are understaffed today. In order to offer BOPIS successfully, retailers will have to invest in a system with real-time inventory across all sales channels. This will let them provide the type of inventory availability accuracy that today’s shoppers expect.
2. Automatically attract more local customers
The best omnichannel systems today will not only help retailers effectively offer Buy Online Pick Up In-Store, they will help them automatically attract more nearby shoppers. Because real-time omnichannel solutions such as TAKU are able to provide reliable, accurate inventory information and real-time stock availability, they are able to connect to local marketing tools to automatically drive more foot traffic in store.
Omnichannel systems such as TAKU help retailers manage all of their inventory across all sales channels with a single, smart product feed . The feed can then be connected to Google Merchant Center and Google My Business. This integration is a built-in feature of TAKU that automatically helps retailers can be found more easily on Google. By plugging their store inventory into a free product showcase called ‘See What’s In Store’, retailers can easily show real-time stock availability in store. Where before large retailers would need to hire agencies or staff to upload products into Google manually, modern omnichannel systems are able to do this without any data entry and stock levels update instantly as you sell in-store or online.
The retail market is increasingly competitive, retailers need proper inventory management to compete. A system that automatically updates all stock quantity info right away (no matter where or when the sale takes place) is essential. That is why retailers will need to make investments in modern inventory systems. It will allow them to ensure they have properly implemented BOPIS.
See How TAKU Can Help With Seamless BOPIS
TAKU is a single retail platform that will put you in the driver’s seat. It enables you to manage all of your in-store and online operations in a single place. Whether you have 5,000 or 100,000 SKUs, TAKU lets you quickly import customer and inventory data from your current POS, feed file, or e-commerce platform. Unlike other retail cloud platforms, TAKU is customizable and crazy fast in-store and online. With an easy-to-use design and built-in training tools, set-up is faster than many other systems. Never manage products or stock levels in different systems again.
Learn more about how TAKU works by clicking below.