August 19 - 22, 2019
The Sheraton, Boston
Holiday Retail 2019: Customer Insights Will Drive a Fundamental Transformation in Retailers' Product Presentation Strategies
As retailers continue to refine their service, delivery, and data-driven personalization efforts, product presentation has become a new competitive landscape in 2019—and it will never be more critical than during the holiday retail surge.
Retailers are exploring new digital technologies to curate and service customers in direct and tailored ways, ensuring frictionless commerce experiences. But how are those experiences building excitement and enhancing how customers identify with their products? In 2019, retailers will transform customer engagement into a holistic user experience, implementing not just the latest technologies but adopting new and novel ways to showcase their products and individualize their brands.
In eTail's upcoming holiday retail report—available July 2019—we'll uncover what are the most adopted and effective product presentation and content tools that will drive this year's holiday sales.
WBR Insights conducted a survey of retail professionals, asking key questions about their brand and product presentation goals for the 2019 holiday shopping season. Respondents in the survey represented apparel, hardware, electronics, specialty, and dozens of retail verticals. 60% of which receive 26% or more of their sales revenue from digital sales. We've leveraged a portion of the survey results for the purpose of this brief.
Product Presentation is Critical to Building Excitement and Differentiating Brands
Retailers have learned valuable lessons from the 2018 holidays and are employing both new digital strategies and new methods for leveraging industry data to jumpstart their product presentation and branding initiatives. Researchers identified the three most-cited reasons product presentation is an important factor in their marketing and merchandising efforts. The findings indicate retailers' product presentation strategies directly align with other digital initiatives, driving competitive value and improving the customer experience.
Over one-third of respondents (36%) say they consider the way they present their products to be critical to the customer experience. Similarly, 36% claim their product presentation strategies are methods to build excitement and enhance how customers identify with their products. Over one-quarter of respondents (26%) believe there are competitive advantages to be had in their product presentation strategies. (Four additional metrics will appear in the final report.)
As retailers acknowledge these advantages, nearly half are taking steps to invest in new product presentation strategies or completely transform how they will present their products altogether.
Over one-third of retailers in the study (36%) will introduce new presentation methods for their products. Meanwhile, 12% will fundamentally transform the way they present their products—a significant data point given the extent to which this will change how they approach the market.
Customer Intelligence is Driving the Change
What's the driving force behind these fundamental changes? The answer is retailers' deeper understanding of their customers. In fact, retailers cite notable advantages in how they are leveraging customer data to improve how they present their products versus 2018.
Nearly half (43%) claim they have a better understanding of their customers, and nearly half (43%) claim they have better, more actionable customer data than they did last year—both of which will help shape their product presentation and merchandising strategies. Their data is even more actionable based on a more detailed understanding of how product presentation and content drive customers to purchase—about one-third of respondents (33%) claim this to be the case. (Three additional metrics will appear in the final report.)
Digital Channels Are Central to This Transformation
Retailers prioritizing new digital product presentation strategies see digital as an opportunity to integrate product presentation with other sophisticated tools and capabilities. Among those companies, several cite an opportunity to leverage online payment options in congruence with their product presentation strategies as a contributing factor to their transformation. (The final report will expand upon these integration strategies.)
In a competitive digital environment, digital product presentation means better results in terms of applying customer data and shortening lead times as well. They see opportunities for greater flexibility in their use of seasonal offerings; to modify promotions or presentation characteristics more easily; and to make content updates more manageable. Digital channels also open doors to more user-generated content and positive customer reviews—critical to captivating customers as they decide between multiple gift options.
Respondents note dozens of other reasons presenting products in digital environments is a key part of their presentation and branding strategies, all of which will be available in our upcoming report, Showcasing Your Brand and Products in New And Novel Ways to Drive Holiday Sales. Visit the eTail East website in July 2019 for more data, insights, and direct commentary from 100 retail professionals.
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