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3 Keys to Unlock Your Retail Potential This Holiday Season

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Surely you’ve heard radio ads from Amazon seeking seasonal staff.  That coupled with Credit Suisse’s assertion that more than 8,000 retail stores are projected to close this year really makes you wonder, are we destined for a world where we all live in large containers and have 99 percent of our food, products and other goods delivered to our door in small containers?  How does this feel from an experience standpoint, and are notions of brand affinity/loyalty at risk if this trend continues?

The fact is 65 percent of online shoppers actually prefer buying from physical outlets if given a choice.   This puts the onus on retailers to craft richer engagements and a feeling of community that transcends mere transactions. 

Now is your opportunity to make an impression not just for the holiday season, but as you create your strategic blueprint for 2018.  

According to the US Commerce Department, 89 percent of grocery shoppers still choose to visit a traditional store. Nevertheless, traditional grocers are starting to feel the pain as well.  Similarly, the Commerce Department cites that sales at US department stores in April 2017 fell 3.7 percent year-on-year, marking a two-year run of annual declines.

What motivates customers to visit your store?  How do you build your business into the daily habits or daily rituals of your customer base?  Sure, this is easy if you are a Starbucks positioned near a commuter train station, but there is ample opportunity to provide education, special events, or simply a level of customer care that may seem resonant of a bygone era.  

Brand and Customer Experience

According to the 2017 Global Online Consumer Report published by KPMG International, 52 percent of consumers saw the product in an online channel before purchasing it. To research a product of interest, 32 percent of consumers visited physical stores to see or try the product. By 2022, we expect the internet to influence 41 percent of in-store sales during customers’ purchase journey. 

Personalization

It’s dehumanizing to be or feel anonymous.  Transitions should not make you feel like you are being processed.  Yet with the exception of luxury retail environments, it is rare that I feel known, not to mention appreciated by a retail brand.  According to a 2016 Accenture report, 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. 

Loyalty

Many consumers experience what I call “loyalty fatigue” or overload, because they are members of a slew of programs and juggling a plethora of memberships cards, numbers or other credentials.  It is important to reward and incentivize both loyalty memberships and frequent shoppers and companies like Exchange Solutions can help you do just that. They can grow sales 10-15 percent.  Start 2018 with a healthy bottom line and embrace all digital channels with a focus around continuing to drive that physical foot traffic through your door.

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