2017 Will Test Retail’s Resilience
Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor ;
This will be a year of increased intangibles, experiential engagement, an emphasis on origins, and a continued deal dilemma. The consumer is changing, demanding something different, and retail must answer this call in 2017 or accept the loss.
Get in touch with the intangibles
Consumers don’t want to acquire more stuff – they want to do more stuff. Capturing and sharing memories and moments trump traditional tangible purchases. In 2017, consumers will be very aggressive about spending on experiences at the expense of product. In order to compete with travel, adventure, spa-days, and the like, product marketers are all going to have to step up their game. Manufacturers need to come up with product that excites consumers, and retailers need to enhance the shopping experience and bring the excitement of the product to the consumer.
Interact and engage, regardless of channel
Truly getting engaged with the consumer will be the key to retail success in 2017. The idea of an omnichannel approach is dead – the answer is much more focused, more personal. It goes back to the idea of intangibles, and experiences. The most powerful marketing is when a brand or store can create a feeling of connection with a consumer, and there will be a handful of companies that jump on this idea and jump ahead this year.
Local roots will take hold…in marketing
The ‘Made in the USA’ movement, while steadily increasing its volume, has mostly remained in the background when it came to retail product marketing. But, 2017 will be the year that country of origin will take a significant step forward in terms of both consumer responsiveness and becoming part of the marketing DNA of the product, right there with the nameplate of a brand. Now, that’s not to say ‘Made in the USA’ products are going to be the new sales leaders (we aren’t there yet), but the products that have domestic production are going to shout it from the rooftops and consumers will be listening.
The price war will continue as consumers consider it first
Price entered into the equation in a big way during the 2016 holiday season, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. While consumers will be looking for convenience, ease, and timeliness when shopping, the purchase decision will be dominated by the price component. Deals and sales are going to be a prominent retail player in 2017, but retailers will need more ammunition than that. More than ever, retailers need to provide unique product and a unique experience in order to appeal to consumers and truly compete.