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4 trends that are disrupting consumer behavior

BY CSA STAFF

Every brand wants to meet the needs, desires and expectations of today’s consumers. With the explosion of new technologies in the retail space, shoppers have instant access to vast amounts of information dictating every purchasing decision. For retailers to adapt, it’s important for them to first identify the behavioral trends that are gaining momentum in the industry.

Consumer expectations are never-ending

It’s time for brands to understand that consumers are more demanding than ever. Because of this, today’s shoppers long for an elevated experience that warrants and rewards their engagement. There are many effective ways to accommodate these heightened demands, but the try-before-you-buy method is one that’s making waves. Successful companies like Netflix and Warby Parker were some of the first to offer true test runs of their products and services. Google also took a stab at this approach by launching its at-home try-one kits for Google Glass. This allowed tech enthusiasts to take the product for a spin before committing to the steep price tag. This methodology is gaining popularity and becoming the expected new norm. Now it’s up to traditional and new-age retailers alike to find ways to implement feasible, try-before-you-buy elements that generate trust and portray transparency.

The rise of omnichannel and mobile purchasing

How one shops today is incomparable to the relevant engagements that took place even a few years ago. In fact, comScore Inc. recently reported that American online shoppers are making more purchases on tablets than any other market. Today, mobile devices account for 30 percent of global retail e-commerce. This is why industry leaders must learn to perfect their omni-channel experience to ensure it’s both consistent and channel agnostic. A retail landscape that offers uniform engagements and service across all channels will be the answer to customer loyalty. With that said, retailers must also make mobile-optimized sites a priority. Many are still lagging in the realization that mobile design is vital to the customer experience. Only 40 percent of surveyed retailers in the aforementioned SDL study described their relevant systems as unified and cross-functional, revealing a significant gap between where the industry is today and where it needs to be.

Personalization is key to a consumer’s wallet

Consumers understand that activity and purchases equate to a collection of information and preferences by the retailer. That means it’s no longer acceptable to be a general product marketer. To find success, retail marketers will need to engage on a more personal level and market to the specific individual needs and interests. Many early adopters are already experimenting with the latest innovations capable of personalizing the in-store and online shopping experiences. One innovation includes the implementation of cloud-based, point-of-sale systems that replaces outdated in-store checkout processes and brings forth a more personal transaction. Switching over to the digital side, it’s all about discovering the personalization tools that align with your business’ product offering and customer lifecycle. Whether it’s showcasing tailored home pages, recommending related products or providing the means for consumers to request desired content, personalization will be the driving force impacting ROI.

Real-time customer service is pivotal

The process of connecting and interacting with retailers is altering, as consumers demand more responsive and authentic customer service tools. Not only do these tools solve customer issues in real-time, but they allow retailers to efficiently allocate their internal customer specialists. It’s vital to offer self-service platforms filled with relevant, easy-to-navigate links for customers. This allows them to connect with a representative at all times, request when and how they want to be contacted, or watch relevant tutorials tailored to common issues. Now is also the time to look into visualization components that help potential customers conceptualize how products will look in the home and on the body. The eruption of social media has forever altered the way retailers interact with new and potential customers. Today, social networks must be viewed as the ideal forum to engage with those who are familiar with your brand and seeking assistance. The immediate and personal touch social media provides is unrivaled to other customer service platforms. When done right, it broadcasts a brand’s customer-focused demeanor and quick ability to resolve customer issues.

Curt Hilliard is the Chief Marketing Officer at DirectBuy, the membership-based buying club that enables consumers to purchase from manufacturers and suppliers without hidden retail markup. Known as a progressive marketing and sales leader, his background includes brand management, lead development, web-based marketing as well as extensive experience in all aspects of the sales process and engagement.

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HSN launches multiplatform Sigrid Olsen campaign

BY CSA STAFF

HSN is leveraging the 30-year career of designer Sigrid Olsen to launch a multi-platform marketing campaign.

The retailer is producing a show on HSN with Olsen that premieres this month to coincide with the debut of the Spring 2015 collection of her first women's fashion line since 2008. The show is just one facet of a campaign on social media, mobile and online.

Sigrid's HSN label, Sigrid Olsen Studio, will promote an artisan chic, "beach to bistro" vibe highlighted by signature touches, a nuanced color palette, quality fabrications, and handcrafted textile prints. Price points will range from $29 to $109. Sigrid's label will represent her way of life, an increasing trend among her target demographic.

"I practice yoga, meditate, stay attuned to nature and strive for a work-life balance which inspires creativity in daily life. Most of my customers, and many women the world over, seek these same values today," Olsen said.

Working from her Siesta Key studio in Florida, Sigrid continues to create original artwork, while generating designs for three HSN collections this year. She and her team seek to expand into home decor, women's accessories, jewelry, paperie, eyewear, and publishing as well as explore new partnerships for her own Creative Well-Being Retreats around the world. Sigrid foresees engaging with customers on a personal level through her partnership with HSN.

With their impressive reach into 96 million U.S. households and increasing reputation for success, HSN has transformed retail, especially in recent years, led by CEO Mindy Grossman.

"I admire what Mindy and her team have achieved. HSN offers a unique opportunity to create a relationship with the customer," Sigrid said. "I can speak to my creative well-being philosophy, relate my story, my artistic process, my ideas on how wardrobe — this is relevant! This is what brings fashion to life."

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Ugg goes surfer chic with new Hawaiian line

BY CSA STAFF

When consumers think of Uggs, they may not imagine Hawaiian floral patterns. But now the retailer is trying to take advantage of the hot fashion trend of prints and patterns with a new line of Polynesian-inspired footwear and accessories.

Ugg, a division of Deckers Brand, announced the debut of its limited edition collection of Hawaiian footwear and accessories. Inspired by native Polynesian floral patterns mixed with bright, effervescent colors, this collection is available at the brand's Honolulu store, Nordstrom's Honolulu location and online atwww.uggaustralia.com starting this week. Customers at these locations will be able to take a piece of paradise with them wherever they go while supplies last.

"We are excited to showcase the beautiful Hawaiian limited edition collection," said Ugg brand president Connie Rishwain. "This playful addition to our spring/summer collection further highlights our brand's versatility and commitment to being a premium lifestyle brand that feels like nothing else for all seasons. The Hawaii inspired collection is sure to reach a wide range of customers looking for exclusive products they can continue to enjoy long after returning from their vacation."

The Hawaiian infused collection for men and women consists of seven styles that are comprised of footwear and accessories, including:

Magnolia Hawaii thong sandal for women and the Bennison II Hawaii thong sandal for men: These thong sandals feature leather details and a Polynesian floral print – ideal for a day on the beach.

Classic Mini Hawaii Boot for women: This fresh take on the classic Ugg brand silhouette is perfect for a full day of adventure, keeping sightseers comfortable in the luxurious boot no matter what terrain they tackle.

Fierce Hawaii Sneakers for women: A slip-on sidewalk shoe comprised of lightweight brightly colored canvas in floral print.

Hawaii Tote Bag and Hawaii Travel Cosmetic Case: Featuring Hawaiian inspired patterns, this tote and coordinating cosmetic bag fit everything needed for a day of fun in the sun. "Hawaii continues to be a strong market for the Ugg brand," said President of Deckers Brands Dave Powers. "We look forward to continuing to grow our presence among consumers residing in and visiting Honolulu by creating a collection that highlights the natural beauty of the islands." The Hawaiian inspired collection will be offered at the Ugg Honolulu store, located at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. In addition, the products will also be available atwww.uggaustralia.com and Nordstrom's Honolulu location. Ugg has 130-plus locations worldwide, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing.

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