While rising inflation has put increasing pressure on consumers’ budgets, there are still ways in which retailers and brands can make use of various opportunities the upcoming peak shopping period presents.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has merged its own research with Google and Trinity McQueen’s annual ‘Path to Peak’ 2022 report to define ways of appealing to consumers and understanding their current shopping behaviour.
To simplify the organisations’ findings, FashionUnited has highlighted five encompassing methods to reach consumers as the festive shopping season approaches.
While omnichannel shopping is not necessarily a new trend, BRC said many advertisers and retailers “don’t appreciate” the strategy to its full extent. To highlight this, Google noted that a third of retail consumers decide what they are going to buy in store by browsing online prior to an in-store visit.
BRC also suggested that those who have been improving their digital presence are reaping the benefits, with the organisation reporting “significant improvements” of the online retail experience in the last two years.
According to the three companies, retailers need to make sure their online and in-store teams are set up to collaborate and service channel agnostic customers, as well as ensure that store sales data is connected to online marketing.
Window shopping spotlight
The types of searches shoppers are doing online have become more generic, with a shift that has seen searches go from the likes of “charlotte tilbury foundation” to “natural foundation”.
This behavioural shift suggests that shoppers are no longer coming online with a brand in mind, but are using the internet to gain inspiration and discover.
According to Google, this can be seen in the increase of reliance for visual touchpoints, with many consumers making more use of Google Images and the engine’s shopping tab (62 percent) to guide their decision-making. Video has also seen an increased importance, with 88 percent of shoppers agreeing that YouTube makes purchasing decisions easier.
Driving new brands
This falls into the report’s next point, which centres around the trend of retail consumers becoming more experimental, and therefore showing an openness towards trying new brands.
In the fashion sector, the number of shoppers who have tried new brands has jumped from 24 percent in 2020 to 34 percent in 2021, and now sits at 51 percent, as found by Google.
It comes as consumers move towards “increasingly promiscuous” shopping habits, the BRC noted, with the organisation stating that it had seen a similar trend play out across other retail categories it had studied.
Broaden audience communication
BRC emphasised the need to communicate with a broader audience as consumers begin to increasingly favour shopping online.
The organisation firstly suggested the use of Google’s Broadmatch solution, which allows retailers to cover every possible angle an individual could use to search for products online. It noted that by casting this net wider, advertisers would be able to deliver 25 percent more conversions on average for the same efficiency.
Additionally, BRC also highlighted expanding shop windows by utilising more upper-funnel marketing online prior to the peak season, as well as the need to focus on developing a strong visual presence.
Automate for personalisation
In order to achieve more flexibility in the coming season, BRC said that maxing out on automated tools will help retailers to remain agile.
Furthermore, utilising first-part data to drive automated campaigns can further enable more reliability and predictability in light of the current macroeconomic uncertainty for retail.