- Eighty-seven percent of retailers say taking a stand on social issues is worth the risk, and 83% believe not taking a stand can negatively affect their bottom line. Also, 61% of consumers will recommend brands that align with their social values, according to RetailMeNot’s 2019 Retailer Playbook, which is based on a survey of 200 senior retail marketers and 5,000 consumers.
- Most retailers, or 96%, are investing in voice technology in 2019 to help consumers shop their brand from smart speakers at home. Mobile is another key area for retailers, with 88% planning to increase mobile marketing investments. The top mobile tactic that marketers plan to implement in 2019 is providing offers and discounts exclusive for mobile users to boost sales.
- About half of the marketers surveyed said they are budgeting for try-before-you-buy programs, which incentivize 35% of consumers to try new products. The tactic will be more popular than buy online, pick up in store this year, according to the report.
The RetailMeNot report is the latest signal that brands are interested in taking a stand on values and cultural issues that matter most to their customers. While taking a stand can be a risky move, with the potential to produce a backlash if a brand's message is viewed as lacking in authenticity, retailers say the risk is worth it. A separate report from Forrester similarly found that, in the current divisive political and social environment, marketers can capitalize on societal divisions when they disrupt the market by exploiting weaknesses and unresolved problems to create value. Additionally, brand purpose will drive companywide visions and energize consumers, according to Forrester’s Predictions 2019: CMO.
Focusing on offering mobile-exclusive discounts and deals will help marketers continue to drive mobile sales, a key strategy for retailers. Mobile is the fastest-growing paid search segment, with 75% of shopping impressions occurring on mobile phones, according to a recent Kenshoo report. Beefing up investments in voice to encourage shopping using the technology is another important strategy, as customer interest and ownership of voice-enabled devices keeps growing. So far, most marketers have used the technology to answer questions and provide customer service, as 60% of consumers who own devices with voice assistants never use them for shopping, according to Episerver research.
The new report also underscores how marketers continue to court millennial consumers and are showing little interest in Gen Zers, with 60% of retailers saying they will focus their marketing on millennial shoppers and 5% focusing on Gen Z. The younger demographic wields more than $140 billion in purchasing power, larger than millennials, and show differing shopping habits that retailers should take note of. Most Gen Z shoppers, or 80%, say they look forward to shopping in stores when they have time, but 75% shop online out of convenience, according to Criteo research. Sixty-five percent of Gen Zers prefer being able to touch and feel products before purchasing, and 67% enjoy using their phones in stores to research items they plan to purchase.