A lot has changed over the last two years. When the pandemic started in 2020, retail was heavily affected. Now that we are in a post-pandemic world, retail has once again changed. Some trends from the pandemic are sticking around, and some are not. In today’s blog we are going to go over several post-pandemic retail trends.
Post-pandemic inflation affects spending
We’ve touched on inflation affecting consumer spending. The early months of the pandemic saw an increase in spending by consumers. However as interest rates and inflation continue to increase, consumers are making mindful decisions to cut back on spending. Although the lipstick effect continues to explain why small luxury items are continuing to sell, discretionary spending is decreasing overall. Consumers are spending less and less on things such as clothing and meal kits.
Brand loyalty is shifting post-pandemic
Younger consumers are leaving brands they were once loyal to. 39% of consumers (mostly Gen Z and Millennials) have left behind trusted brands to try new ones. At the same time, older shoppers are prioritizing convenience and supporting more local businesses. The bar is higher than ever to earn brand loyalty today but it’s still important to retailers everywhere.
One of the most powerful tools for earning brand loyalty is a loyalty program. These programs actually make 60% of global consumers into brand loyalists. But instead of simply discounts, consumers are increasingly saying that loyalty is about ‘exceptional experiences’ or a ‘sense of trust.’
Store-ception (stores within stores)
Another trend which is gaining more traction are stores within stores. Now that people are physically shopping in stores after the pandemic, this trend is big! A common example of this is the beauty counter within a pharmacy. Usually these spaces have lighting catered to beauty products and special signage.
Since stores have reopened, this trend is skyrocketing. Brands such as Target now have small Apple stores within their stores at multiple locations. This gives retailers the boost of “subletting” floor space to an aspirational brand with it’s own established customer base. This attracts more foot traffic and gives shoppers a better in-store experience.
Home investments are slowing down post-pandemic
Traditionally during a recession, people are more likely to “nest” and spend more time at home to save money. This recession will be different though as shoppers everywhere are tired of isolating at home after several years of lockdowns. The traditional boom in home products happened early on during the pandemic. As as result, shoppers have already invested in their homes and the demand for products and brands related to nesting has been on the decline as consumers return to stores, restaurants and travel.
As shoppers have less disposable income and have already spent money on home improvements – the nesting boom is coming to a halt. Although there are less people willing to spend on home improvement now, the people who are able to spend are going to spend more.
A focus on healthy living
Unsurprisingly, there is increased interest in personal wellness post-pandemic. During the pandemic, products related to outdoor fitness and healthy living were in high demand. Luckily for retailers in health and wellness, this trend is still strong amongst shoppers as the pandemic has reminded everybody about the benefits of healthy living.
The focus on healthy living extends to food and drinks. While normally alcohol consumption increases during a recession, over-indulgence during the pandemic has lead to an overall decrease in alcohol consumption, particularly amongst high-income or young consumers.
The changing role of e-commerce
E-commerce was all the rage during the pandemic. With stores closed everywhere, shoppers had no choice but to shop online. But e-commerce is more than just another sales channel. These days, it is also a key marketing tool.
As shoppers have returned to stores, retailers have downplayed e-commerce sales as they tend to have lower margins. According to Google, 46% of consumers will check online for product availability before purchasing anything in-store. While in-store, these customers are also more likely to make impulse purchases which are often higher in margin.
Throughout 2022 we’ve been emphasizing that customers want convenience. The flexibility that omnichannel delivers is a powerful way to offer convenience to consumers. Buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) is being used more and more every day. In post-pandemic retail, stores with true omnichannel operations are the most successful as retailers today need to sell wherever shoppers want to buy. Omnichannel strategies lead to 80% higher rates of store visits. People want to be able to start their purchasing journey online and finish it in-person (or vice versa).
Better customer relations via technology
Omnichannel retail platforms allow store owners to save data about their customers. This data can then be used for personalized marketing materials which is more effective at driving sales.
The rise of e-commerce during the pandemic has led many people to believe that that physical retail stores will soon be a thing of the past. After all, e-commerce feels more convenient as you can shop from the comfort of home. Even Google has seen an increase in the number of people wondering whether brick and mortar stores are dying.
We’re glad to report that, like many future predictions, the reality is a lot less scary. As post-pandemic studies and recent data has shown, physical retail is still thriving and here to stay.
E-commerce is not the only future
While e-commerce grew in popularity during the pandemic, post-pandemic statistics show that people are returning to their old ways. E-commerce sales in 2022 have slowed down. Some of this is likely pent up demand for shoppers who missed shopping in person during the pandemic. But according to research, 59% of shoppers do not trust internet-only brands. At the same time, e-commerce only companies continue to struggle to turn a profit. Many companies who bet on an e-commerce only future are now paying the price.
Brick and mortar retail stores are continuing to grow
Even after all of the COVID-19 lockdowns, brick & mortar retail stores are thriving. In fact, for every brick and mortar business that shut down, two more businesses opened up. On top of that, sales in physical retail have actually gone up post-pandemic. In-store shopping has seen a 13.7% boost compared to pre-pandemic levels. This growth doesn’t just apply to big names like Walmart, but to small independently owned businesses as well! In fact, over 60% of small businesses are expected to grow their revenue over the next year. This is a trend that can be seen from pre-pandemic statistics as well. Reports show that between 2016 – 2021, the revenue of smaller retailers grew at an average of 51.33%.
And certain consumers actually prefer in-store shopping. The majority of Boomers and Gen X customers say that they shop in-store “all the time”. In fact, younger people such as Gen Z (along with Gen X) are two generations that actually shop more in-person than online. For them, their entire lives are already digital and physical retail appeals to them as experiential shopping
The shopping experience is too important
Another key reason why brick & mortar stores still appeal to shoppers is because it is still by far a better shopping experience. At the beginning we mentioned how e-commerce provides a certain level of convenience that physical retail can’t. Yet when it comes to immediate consumption, this is something that only physical shopping can offer. There is a level of satisfaction one can feel shopping in-store and taking something home right away. This is why the term retail therapy exists.
But beyond immediate satisfaction, shopping at brick and mortar stores allows customers to get an engaged shopping experience that they simply can’t find online. Being able to physically hold a product and sometimes try it out before purchase is a big factor in deciding to buy something. 59% of consumers say that the ability to try, touch and feel a product is key for in-store shopping over online.
And when shopping in-store, one of the top priorities for shoppers is convenience, especially at checkout. After all, 97% of consumers have backed out of a purchase due to inconvenience. So if you are in or planning to enter the physical retail industry, be sure to offer easy checkout options. Things like self-checkout enhance the shopping experience for customers greatly.
The future is omnichannel
Throughout this post, it may have felt like we are saying that e-commerce is worse than physical retail. However, the future of the retail today is really a combination of physical and digital shopping. As we mentioned before, consumers want convenience. Omnichannel offers the most convenience to consumers as it allows them to shop from anywhere, 24/7. There’s a reason why 58.6% of retailers are heavily investing in omnichannel fulfillment and 70% of small businesses have adopted digital tools over the past year.
The benefits of omnichannel aren’t just for customers either. Retailers are able to have more control over their business and sell more when they offer omnichannel shopping. After all, retailers who don’t sell on multiple channels end up missing out on ~30% of sales.
Being able to serve your customers in a variety of channels will soon be the standard in retail. For e-commerce, store pickup or fulfillment of online orders from local stores support main streets, is better for the environment and get products to customers faster as delivery costs increase. In order to keep up with the future, your retail business needs to be an omnichannel one.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to invest in omnichannel! Make sure your business is future-proof by implementing software that can support your business over time. Check out TAKU Retail and ensure your business is resilient and able to serve customers the way they expect to shop today.
Invented in 1994, the QR code was originally made so that Toyota could track car parts in their manufacturing process. 28 years later, QR codes have become so much more. In particular, the COVID pandemic helped popularize the use of QR codes in businesses everywhere. Whether you’ve seen it being used by shoppers adding social media accounts or to view a digital menu, it’s an increasingly common tool that retailers can use to speed up service and improve customer experience. Here are 4 different ways QR codes can help retailers.
1. Attract more shoppers to your website
QR codes can look like a complicated barcode but they are actually an image of information. For example, you can store everything from phone numbers and documents to website addresses. But sharing websites and social media accounts is definitely the most common use for QR codes. By adding a QR code to any marketing materials or signage, you are giving shoppers the fastest way for them to access your website or social media accounts. Instead of typing addresses or searching for accounts, shoppers can simply scan the QR code with the camera on their phones and access your information in 1-click.
By making it easier for shoppers to get access to your online storefront and social feeds, you will attract more shoppers to your business. After all, being found online or having an online storefront will not only increase your online sales, it helps drive foot traffic back to your physical store as shoppers have an easy way to stay up-to-date on new product launches, special offers, etc.
2. Sell from your shopfront window
Another way QR codes help retailers sell is to make it easier for stores to sell things from their physical shopfront window. For example, adding QR codes next to products that are displayed in your shopfront window that link to each specific product in your online catalog. This gives shoppers an easy way to scan a product to find out more or even buy online, even when your store is closed. Doing this makes your storefront window more engaging and informative – both of which are important for good customer experience.
3. Get more social media followers
Many retailers today use QR codes to make it easier for shoppers to follow their social media accounts. Since QR codes are scanned as website links, shoppers can easily open your social media accounts with 1 click. Making it easier for people to find your accounts will increase the likelihood that they will follow you. Place these QR codes anywhere customers and business partners can see them (email signatures, profile pictures, in-store signs, counter stickers, etc.).
4. Give fast access to free WiFi
One of the best uses of QR codes is to give shoppers 1-click access to guest WiFi in the store. You can create a QR code that store visitors can scan to be automatically connected to your guest WiFi. This is a special type of QR code that automatically enters the network name and password into an iPhone or Android mobile phone. Shoppers love it as it means no more entering network names or long passwords. It is also better for your network security as you don’t need to disclosing the actual password.
If you want to encourage shoppers to browse, offering free guest WiFi is a great way to get shoppers to stay for a longer time in your store. It doesn’t cost you anything and it’s been shown that shoppers that stay longer in a store buy more things and spend more money.
Scroll down to learn how to create your own WiFi QR code.
How to create QR codes
QR codes are very simple to create. All you need is online QR code generator to make them. When using these platforms, creating your QR code is as simple as pasting the website address you would like customers to open. Then press the generate button, and congratulations you will have just made your first QR code!
A. Standard QR codes
For standard QR codes, we have three recommendations: QR Code Monkey, QR Code Generator and Canva. QR Code Monkey is a great free option. QR Code Generator offers a few more features and even has a premium membership. Canva is our favorite option of the three. Canva is already a very versatile and easy-to-use application for creating designs. Their QR code generator paired with their design tools can allow for some really creative uses of QR codes.
B. WiFi QR codes
The main difference when creating QR codes for WiFi sharing is that the code generator needs to support WiFi information. A good tool for this is QiFi.org which was built specifically for this.
All you need to do is enter the SSID (network name) and password for your guest WiFi network. You may also need to enter the Encryption type, so check your Wi-Fi settings if you don’t already know this. Once all of the information is entered, click Generate to produce the code.
Now you know some ways QR codes can help retailers. Time to start implementing this popular technology to your business. You can follow one of the tactics we mentioned, or get creative and try your own tactic. If you end up coming up with your own QR tactic, please feel free to share it below in the comments!
In the current world of retail, having an online catalog is essential. Customers are spending so much of their time on the internet, being able to reach them online is now crucial. Yet many merchants still rely on physical print catalogs. While this is still a great strategy, there’s no reason not to add a digital catalog on top of that.
Times are different now, physical marketing materials should be an add-on, not your main strategy. After all, online ones are much easier for consumers to access since most people always have their phones on them, and they can provide a lot more information. Not to mention, they are much easier and cheaper to keep up-to-date.
5 reasons you should have an online catalog
We understand that many brick & mortar stores may not have the resources or technical skills to set up an e-commerce store. However, it’s very important for all physical stores to at least start an online catalog for shoppers.
Here are 5 main reasons why you should:
1 – Shoppers buy more when they know what products you carry
Google’s research indicates that shoppers avoid stores when they do not know what’s available inside the store. After all, the majority of shoppers do research online today before heading out and stock availability helps shoppers decide which store to go to. Making it easy for shoppers to see what you have available on your shelves today drives more foot traffic to your physical store, which then increases your sales since impulse buys and upselling increase basket size.
2 – New customers can see what you offer
You’ll be able to attract more new customers if your products are showcased online. People who are learning about your business for the first time will be able to better understand what you offer, even before they step foot in your store. If you use a modern system such as TAKU, your POS will automatically update your product showcase on Google so that nearby shoppers see real-time stock levels that adjust in real-time even as you sell.
Having stock levels update automatically is a key difference with a digital product showcase vs. traditional print catalogs as shoppers today expect stock information to be accurate whether they buy in-store or online.
3 – Digital catalogs are easier to share
Digital catalogs are great since they are so easy to share. In the age of social media people are always sharing things with others. Where a physical catalog requires someone to actually hand their friend the catalog (which may be out-of-date), a digital one can be shared around the world in a few clicks. It’s easy to see why this is a good thing, the more people that see your catalog – the more potential sales you could get. Similarly, shoppers are more likely to consider retailers recommended by their friends or contacts.
4 – Digital catalogs offer 24/7 customer assistance
Having a digital catalog reduces the amount of time spent answering general questions. If you have a product showcase, your shoppers will have 24/7 access to photos and product descriptions. This eliminates the need to have employees repeatedly answering the same questions. This also relieves some of the burden on your sales team as they will spend less time answering explaining product details and more time selling. This will in turn improve your overall customer service.
It’s best to think of an online catalog as a marketing investment. There is a cost to set it up in the beginning, but once it’s up and running, it provides free sales assistance and will quickly pay itself off.
5 – It will help you understand your customers better
Since an online catalog will be on your digital channels, you will be able to collect data that will be useful for digital marketing. The collected data will help you gain better insights into your customers and even answer a few questions along the way. Analyzing data collected from your digital catalog could help you answer questions such as:
Which of my products have the most views online?
Are people aware of my business? Are they interested?
How many people are making purchases based off of my catalog?
Do I need to change the products I am carrying?
How can I get more people to sign up for my email list?
Do my customers research products before purchasing?
Overall, a digital catalog helps to enhance your customer service. It allows shoppers to conveniently check what is available, find out information regarding products, and even share with other potential customers.
With an online catalog you will be able to reach more shoppers with less effort. It will also allow you to save money over time compared to physical catalogs. It is an investment which will quickly pay for itself. As a retailer you should consider adding or improving the digital catalog for your store. Happy retailing!
Want to start displaying your products online? TAKU’s Google SWIS integration allows your to showcase your inventory on Google in real time! To learn more click on the banner below.
You may have heard of the retail term “guideshop” in the last several years. Brands such as Bonobos have had great success with guideshop stores. This retail strategy is a throwback to the idea of “showrooms” and works particularly well for retailers in the age of ecommerce. In fact, running a guideshop is also known as “showrooming”. But what exactly is a guideshop and why should retailers consider it for their physical stores?
A physical store where customers can experience the products before purchasing it. The physical store only showcases the product for customer experience but do not sell any physical items. Customers place orders in the physical store [that] will be delivered to their homes.
It’s easy to understand why guideshops are also known as showrooming. After all, showrooms are traditionally physical locations where businesses display merchandise so that consumers can engage with products before ordering. One of the best modern examples is Dyson’s demo shop. Showrooms and guideshops typically carry little to no inventory for immediate purchase.
Who should consider this store strategy?
Showrooming and guideshops are traditionally best for retailers who sell products which customers prefer to take a look at, try on, or test out before purchase. Typically these products don’t sell as well if only sold online. In particular, showrooms are great when the retailer’s products physically take up a lot of space or are of high-value, both of which makes it hard to stock inventory in-store. Think of things such as appliances, furniture, jewelry, etc. With furniture for example, retailers have limited warehousing space since their stores need a lot of display space. But their shoppers often want to physically see how big a piece of furniture is, how comfortable it is, and how it feels in person before purchasing.
The change today is that non-traditional showroom products are also able to use guideshops to offer better customer service with smaller, more cost-effective shops. This is exactly how Bonobos guideshops work. They are smaller stores where customers can go in and try on the entire product line for delivery at home. But Bonobos has made an effort to provide above-average customer service by training employees to help customers find the right fit and size.
Not only are guideshop stores easier and cheaper to operate without the cost of carrying stock, better trained sales associates encourage higher sales per shopper. And naturally, because customers will have a profile setup for their pickup or delivery, all of the shopping data in-store and online is stored for better customer service and personalized digital marketing.
Another key market for guideshops are retailers that manufacture or sell their own private-label brands. When you sell a brand that cannot be found anywhere else, there isn’t a risk that shoppers will try on merchandise in-store and buy the products elsewhere. In this case, guideshops offer a cost-effective way to run more smaller physical stores without the carrying costs of traditional brick & mortar stores.
What kind of customers does this appeal to?
Guideshops tend to attract shoppers that enjoy touching, seeing or interacting with products before buying them. The slower, discovery process involved with customer service-driven guideshops and the inconvenience of carrying products around while shopping makes guideshops more attractive to shoppers in urban centers or walkable main streets. The strategy generally works even better for high value items where shoppers expect superior service and delivery may be considered more secure than walking around with a bag from an expensive store. For example, people often visit the Apple Store to test out new devices since they are expensive. But oftentimes during checkout, Apple shoppers will have their purchase shipped home to avoid carrying a bag around with the Apple logo on it.
The benefits of retail showrooms and guideshops
Hopefully this article has helped you get a good idea on why showrooming is great. To recap, here are the benefits of using a guideshop store strategy:
Lower costs: Carrying less inventory is the easiest way to lower the overhead costs of your business. Keep in mind, you can also offer store pick up options to keep costs lower!
Better experience for customers: Employees focus on helping customers find the perfect product for them and even upsell additional ones.
Sell more things: With less space required to stock products, showrooming allows stores to showcase more products. Retailers can sell products without having to stock anything and can simply order for delivery after taking payment.
Now that you understand what guideshops are, consider whether this could be a good strategy for your retail business. It is definitely a retail trend which will continue to change the way people shop.
Learning the ins and outs of retail is a journey. But it doesn’t have to be scary. TAKU is here for you. Check out our retailer’s glossary to read up on the 100 most essential terms in the world of retail! Click on the image below to learn more.
If you’ve been keeping up with TAKU blogs we assume you are already offering Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS). If you aren’t, check out how TAKU can help you to easily offer BOPIS with 0 headaches! 85% of shoppers interviewed in this study have admitted to making extra in-store purchases when visiting to pick up their orders. It’s essential to be thinking about how retailers can get shoppers to add more to their store pick up orders since this is the best way to get the most out of your BOPIS offerings.
Let’s go over some strategies YOU can start using today to get more impulse purchases through in-store pick ups.
Start on the online front
Your first opportunity at getting customers to add more to their purchase during a BOPIS order is on the online front. Your customers are already ready to make a purchase when they go onto your website to make an order – this is the perfect time to strike! CNBC mentions that “once you’ve mentally committed to buying an item online, you know you’ll have to go through the required steps such as entering your information… so you may be more open to tossing additional stuff into your cart.” Here are two tactics you can use to upsell online.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real thing. Finder.com reported that more than half of consumers said they made an impulse purchase because of FOMO. Timed discounts are a perfect way to use this attitude to make more sales. When a consumer is making a pick up order on your website, you can upsell another item to them at a discount. Make sure this discount has a timer on it, so they have to make the decision quick or miss out on the offer forever.
You can upsell products on the checkout screen of your website with ease. You can recommend products that pair well with whatever the customer is buying and have them be easy to add to the customer’s cart right from the checkout screen.
Real-time stock quantities
Showing real-time stock levels for items on your website is a great way to get shoppers to add more to their store pick up order. Shoppers whose purchases are driven by stock availability would be excited to add more to their cart if they know those items are available and can be picked up all at once, in one visit.
On top of that, you can still appeal to a customer’s FOMO with this tactic. If the customer sees that an additional item only has 1 unit left in stock, they will be more likely to reserve the item online so that they do not miss out. Adding a tool such as TAKU’s built-in integration to Google to your own online store makes it easy for you to effortlessly showcase your available store products online.
In-store strategy to upsell
Another opportunity to increase additional sales of a pick up order is within the store itself. As BOPIS’ name suggests, your customers will have to come in-store to pick up their products. This provides another avenue to promote extra purchases. Here are some tactics that will get shoppers to add more to their pick up orders.
Transaction building with expert employees
A transaction building strategy will motivate consumers to add more to orders. For example let’s pretend you are an hardware store. If a customer comes into buy a bath tub for a washroom renovation they may realize there are some other products they will need. These can include things like caulking, shower heads, and maybe even a shower curtain rod. You can train your employees to bring these subjects up when the customer comes into pick up their order, this will ideally lead to more additions to their purchase. Having well-informed employees is a huge advantage for this strategy. Think about a time where an employee’s expertise in a store has helped you make the right purchase.
Price threshold discounts
Another simple way to get shoppers to add more to their store pick up order is to offer discounts based on their transaction price. Let’s say a customer is coming in to pick up a $180.00 order. You could tell them that if they make a $200.00 purchase they will get an additional 10% off. This will get them to look around your store for a $20 item so that they can get the discount. The urgency of the in-store offer is often enough to get them to purchase an extra item or two.
Promotions on receipts
If the customer has already made the pick up without adding anything to their purchase, you can make a last ditch effort through receipt marketing. You can leave messages on the receipts of transactions which communicate in-store promotions and discounts. This way the customer knows that next time they can take advantage of in-store promotions and add to their basket. Companies like Fobi offer products which can help you make the most out of receipt marketing.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good game? Using the reward system that games use can help your customers feel more enticed to make additional purchases. At the pick up center of your store you could add a spin-to-win wheel that will give customers special promotions with the purchase of an additional item. You could also try to upsell a specific item which will enter the customer into a raffle to win something exciting.
Don’t sleep on food
Have you ever been to a hardware store and saw their displays near the cash registers and wondered why? You know, those displays showcasing snacks like chips, candy and nuts. Well there’s a reason to include those items there. Even if you are not in an industry usually related to food, you can easily offer food items as small last minute purchases. When someone is coming in quickly to pick up an item, sometimes the convenience of having a drink or snack be easily grabbable is just what they need. Why would the customer drive to a gas station to buy a water bottle when they can easily grab one right at your store as they are picking up their order?
Make it easy to add more
In order to get the best results with any of these tips, you go to make it easy for the customer and employee. No one is going to want to add to their order if it is made a hassle. Your employees should be easily able to add additional items to the customer’s order with quickness. POS systems like TAKU make this as easy as possible.
TAKU can help your store manage BOPIS and curbside fulfillments efficiently. In addition to running all your in-store and online sales in one system, TAKU’s built-in free Google listings allow you to easily advertise your real stock availability to current customers. Want to get started? Click the button below for a free demo.