The US retail market is the largest and most influential market, accounting for about 20% of a global retail market forecasted to reach over US $30 trillion. However, the US retail market has its own set of challenges, including, changing consumer behavior, technological advancements, and social and environmental issues.
There is a need for US retailers to embrace innovation and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their customers to survive and thrive in this dynamic market. Retailers have to keep up with the latest trends and innovations. Those who can, will stand out from the crowd, win and keep customers, boost sales, and grow their businesses. As Jeff Bezos said, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” But what are these trends in global retail marketing? And how can US retailers use them to get ahead of their competitors?
Digital Transformation in Retail Marketing
Digital transformation creates new or modifies existing business processes, products, and customer experiences. It can help retailers improve their operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage.
Retail Digital Platforms Are Expanding
The pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping, but consumers are not just buying from traditional websites anymore. They are also shopping on social media platforms, messaging apps, video streaming services, and online marketplaces. All major social platforms today have buy buttons, enabling direct purchases without leaving the app.
Mobile commerce will account for 43.4% of total e-commerce sales in 2023. Retailers need to optimize their presence and performance across these channels and offer seamless and consistent experiences to their customers.
Retailers Are Investing More in Automation
As consumers demand more convenience, speed, and personalization, retailers are turning to automation technologies such as chatbots, voice assistants, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to improve their customer service and marketing.
Automation can help retailers provide faster and more accurate responses, offer personalized recommendations and offers, streamline the checkout process, and collect valuable customer data and feedback.
Personalization and Customer Engagement
Personalization is the process of using data and technology to create unique and relevant experiences for individual customers. Retailers can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, as well as boost sales and conversions, with personalization.
Retailers Are Getting More Creative with their Brand Building
Retailers are now serious about personalization as a means of carving out a unique brand identity. One area where personalization works well is in branded uniforms. It gives all the benefits of branded uniforms, e.g. cohesion, brand building, and building trust, while offering individuals a unique identity. There are companies that specialize in creating clothing and accessories for different industries based on the wearer’s style profile, feedback, and occasion.
Customers Want More Brand Engagement
Consumers today are not just looking for products or services, they are looking for experiences and relationships with the brands they buy from. They want to feel valued, understood, and appreciated by the brands they trust. They also want to have a say in how the brands operate and what they stand for.
Consumers would be more loyal to a brand that demonstrates care and concern for them. Retailers need to leverage data and analytics, social media, loyalty programs, and customer feedback to create personalized and engaging interactions with their customers across all touchpoints.
Branding and Storytelling
Branding and storytelling are essential in retail marketing because they help retailers create a distinctive identity and a memorable impression on their customers. Branding is the visual and verbal expression of a retailer’s values, personality, and promise. On the other hand, storytelling is the narrative that conveys a retailer’s purpose, mission, and vision. Good brand storytelling uses a creative narrative to connect a brand to its customers.
Customers Are Willing To Support Local Ventures and Causes
Today’s shoppers are more conscious and mindful of the social and environmental impact of their purchases. They want to buy from brands that share their values, beliefs, and passions, especially sustainable practices. They also want to support local businesses that contribute to their communities and create a sense of belonging.
A Shopify poll showed 41% of consumers would be more likely to buy from a brand that supports a social cause they care about. Retailers need to communicate their brand purpose, mission, and values clearly and authentically, and show how they are making a positive difference in the world. They also need to roll out meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.
Retailers Are Using Immersive Experiences
Consumers today are also looking for experiences that entertain, educate, and inspire them. They want to feel connected and engaged with the brands they buy from. Retailers need to leverage storytelling techniques to create immersive experiences that capture the attention and imagination of their customers. This can include using interactive displays, virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification, live events, and content marketing.
Localization and Hyper-Local Marketing
Localization is the process of adapting to the local language, culture, customs, and trends of a region or market. Hyper-local marketing targets customers within a very small geographic area, such as a neighborhood or a street. Retailers can tailor their products, services, and communication to the specific needs and preferences of their local customers with these strategies:
Customers Prioritize Convenience and Flexibility
Today’s shopper is looking for options that suit their preferences, needs, and lifestyles. They want to shop anytime, anywhere, and however they want. They also want to receive their orders as quickly and easily as possible.
70% of consumers said convenience is a top factor in their purchase decisions. Retailers need to offer multiple channels and modes of shopping and delivery, such as online, in-store, curbside pickup, home delivery, and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS).
Retailers Are Using Deploy Localized Content
Localized content and offers resonate with customers’ emotions and interests. For example, Airbnb uses its website, app, and social media to showcase local experiences and stories that inspire travelers to explore new destinations and cultures.
Using geo-targeting and geo-fencing technologies to deliver relevant and timely messages and promotions to customers based on their location. For example, Starbucks uses its mobile app to send push notifications to customers when they are near a store, offering them personalized rewards and discounts.
There is no doubt that the global retail market is undergoing a rapid transformation. The American customer is demanding personalized, convenient, and sustainable retail shopping. Retailers have little choice but to stay on top of the latest trends and innovations to attract and retain customers, increase sales, and grow their businesses. The competition is stiff, and customers have plenty of choices because of the global nature of the online retail market. But those who exploit the opportunities offered by these trends will no doubt survive and thrive in this lucrative market.