2 minute read

New Forrester report shows retail growth, but stagnant Customer Experience

In April 2017, The Atlantic wrote an inclusive article on retail’s imminent death citing nine large brands that filed for bankruptcy, which nearly surpassed the total of retail bankruptcies for all of 2016. In the wake of an economic depression, it didn’t seem retail could recover. The future looked grim.

Forrester released new details about retail revenue for 2017, smashing the misconception that retail — especially brick-and-mortar retail — are falling fast. The August 2017 report, “Surprise – Retail Is Growing! Here's What It Means For Digital Businesses,” found that US retail sales grew 2.4 percent in 2016, but and have since grown 3.8% in the first half of this year. That’s great news for brands who were getting nervous - but don’t stop reading quite yet!

Analysts also found that while brick-and-mortar locations are still closing, it isn’t because they aren’t selling. Forrester uncovered five fronts in which retail executives are failing; three of those areas all centered on customer experiences.

Inability to address customer pain points and lack of “surprise” or “delight”

Only half of surveyed retail and wholesale firms have adopted journey maps within their marketing departments. As a result, it’s impossible to either anticipate need or address pain points. Sometimes brands don’t even know what those pain points are!

Brick-and-mortar haven’t adapted to a digital shopping world

Today, everyone has a computer in their pockets. But the process of shopping in-store hasn’t changed much at all. We still use cash registers, stockrooms, tired high-schoolers working in uniform, and yet Amazon is delivering packages by drone. Check out how Simon Malls advanced their in-store solutions using offline and online data.

Data is hard to obtain and analyze

Less than 50 percent of brands were happy with the level of accessible analytics. CEO and Chairman of J.Crew Michael Drexler noted that his brand minimized the speed of how quickly technology was changing retail.

Shoppers return because of positive experiences

Consumers first value a good price — 56 percent — but secondarily consumers return because they value the experience they had with a specific brand. If the experience is stellar, your shoppers are much more likely to come back for additional purchases.

Competitor obsession versus addressing worker experience

Too many brand executives feel hiring digital managers to report to them will create change. However, this report also showed that executives are obsessed with what the competition is doing, instead of what customers need and what workers can do with technology, analytics, and tools to help them. Therefore, talented digital business professionals will run for the hills instead of working for branding and retail. 

To tap into recent retail growth for your own brand, it’s critical to understand shoppers on a deeper level. Brands have consistently struggled to make sense of customer data in a way that enables them to efficiently personalize touchpoints, and as a result marketing initiatives can feel cold and distant. Using a behavioral marketing platform like SmarterHQ not only automates these touchpoints, but analyzes the data in a way that’s easily digestible and actionable to get a full picture of your brand’s consumer behavior. 

Interested to know how behavioral marketing can address customer wants and needs? Schedule a demo with our team today!