Retail Relevance: No Longer A Matter of Bricks vs. Clicks
Mar 19, 2014
New research from Clear USA reveals strategic imperatives for retailers.
As consumer behavior and expectations continue to blur the line between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers, the distinction between the two models is no longer simple. New research suggests that tomorrow’s successful brands will be defined by how proactively and nimbly they capitalize on change – not by the degree to which they depend on physical or online experiences.
Unsurprisingly, e-commerce brands are outperforming traditional retail brands. The annual Brand Desire study conducted by Clear, a global marketing strategy consultancy, shows e-commerce brands have increased their desirability by 23% since 2011, overtaking traditional brick-and-mortar retail brands, which have remained fairly steady over the same period with a 2% rise in desirability.
However, the future will be characterized less as a battle between clicks and bricks, and more by the evolution from fulfilling transactional needs to service and experiential qualities. The Brand Desire data revealed that retail brands providing experiential value by providing the opportunity to sample products and socialize outperform purely transactional brands on critical metrics, including:
· A brand I would love to use in the future
· A brand I like to talk about
· I wouldn’t consider an alternative to this brand
Peter Askew, Executive Director of Clear New York, described how retailers can capitalize. “With the challenges presented by the rise of e-commerce, traditional retailers now have considerable opportunities,” he said. “If retailers are ready and able, they can turn that change into an advantage. Shoppers’ expectations have shifted. It is no longer about being good just in e-commerce or just in-store, it is now about combining the best of both worlds into one seamless experience. The focus is on how agile traditional retailers can become, so they are as responsive to real-time needs as their online counterparts, and as experiential as only they can be in shoppers’ real worlds.”
Today, Clear released results and analysis from its Cost of Change study. The study, conducted among retail leaders, produced some surprising findings: 51% believe they are managing change proactively, while 49% consider their organizations reactive to change. The two types of organizations differ on seemingly basic metrics that are ultimately quite crucial distinctions in behavior:· Stimulating the organization with insight: 37% of proactive businesses (and only 14% of reactive businesses) state that insights are being communicated effectively throughout the organization
· Projecting the direction of the business: Among proactive businesses, 35% say their insights/marketing intelligence team is ahead of the trends that matter most to the business, while only 10% of reactive businesses say the same
· Energizing the shopping experience: 48% of employees at proactive companies and only 27% of employees at reactive companies are empowered to make their own decisions
As the e-commerce landscape shifts, Clear is applying its unique Stimulate-Project-Energize approach to traditional and online retailers to ensure they are managing change proactively, both internally and externally. Doing so will enable retailers to stimulate their organizations with real-time shopper insights, project the future direction of their category and energize their retail experience to ultimately deliver relevance to consumers moving forward.
Clear USA, LLC has developed the white paper, ‘Deliverance: Strategies for retail success in the early 21st century’ based on two proprietary studies – ‘Brand Desire,’ which measures consumer perceptions of brands (http://www.brand-desire.com/), and ‘Cost of Change,’ which analyzes how the marketing organizations manage change – as well as extensive experience working with retailers across North America, Europe and Asia. The white paper can be downloaded at http://weareclear.co/.
Clear is a marketing strategy consultancy with offices in New York, London, Singapore and Sydney. Clear specializes in insight-led strategy and innovation and has delivered projects for retail clients such as Walgreens, Asda-Walmart, John Lewis and Boots.