Daniel Graham: Where are we with retail destination marketing?

Many independent retailers are wondering if a return to in-person experiences and a resurgence of customer experiences is viable in an industry with recruiting challenges, a lack of experience and training.

Also, we don’t know if the boom in e-commerce will continue after Covid.

As borrowing costs rise, to what extent and how much investment should and will be made in infrastructure, development, people and experiences?

There are still many uncertainties and unknowns in the industry that I want to shed some light on here to help give independent retailers advice based on my experience and research, as they seek to find a way forward.

Signs of digital fatigue?

The growing consensus is that consumers are tired of confinement, staying home and now feeling bolder and more adventurous and want to return to physical experiences. In other words, they experience digital fatigue.

If so, then creating a welcoming environment will be key to enticing this experience-hungry audience.

The trend away from digital is supported by some interesting research. For example, IDC analysts predicted that by next year, to counter digital fatigue, 60% of large enterprises will seek to differentiate themselves by delivering reliable and memorable engagements that recreate physical experiences.

Along with this, e-commerce as a competitor to in-store shopping is beginning to level off. Gartner analysts have estimated that e-commerce will total about 17% of retail sales in 2022, with the percentage growth of in-store purchases nearly leveling off over the next few years.

And we can also see proof of this in the business world with news that online delivery services like Deliveroo and JustEat are seeing a drop in consumer usage post COVID.

Hybrid distribution on the rise

In many cases, we now see the best and most convenient destination in a consumer’s online shopping journey as a physical store down the street. Moving away from the siled approach and “us versus them” mentality of “online versus offline” is a huge opportunity for retailers.

And there is evidence to back that up. Consumers are opting for hybrid shopping rather than strictly online, with 48% of people preferring hybrid shopping, up from 39% at the same time last year, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s Study of Shopping Habits.

And according to Andrew Goodacre, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), we are seeing more and more small retailers developing ‘hybrid’ retail models, taking better advantage of the opportunity offered by the internet to complement their store. physical.


This continues to be a significant issue in retail and a growing influencing factor in purchasing decisions. However, a genuine and demonstrable commitment to sustainability is required from the retailer.

Greenwashing is likely to damage your brand and damage your reputation. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, 63% of customers say they would like brands to speak out more about their sustainability plans, but remain skeptical of their authenticity.

Sustainability must be at the heart of any brand’s business today and this must be reflected across the entire supply chain. According to the British Retail Consortium, 41% of Britons agree that recyclable choices and sustainable packaging influence their purchasing decisions, and 70% are willing to pay a 5% premium for sustainable products.

Hyper local is a growing opportunity

Searches in local stores have increased more than 4 times their pre-pandemic levels and remain there, according to research from Near St. Shorter trips and local tourism are growing as travel risks persist.

The further you travel, the less safe you feel. Searches containing “getaways near me” increased by 100%, and searches containing “open now near me” increased by 40% between September 2019 and August 2021, Google reports. This is good news for local and independent traders.

The rise of data-driven retail marketing

Marketing is changing. Customer marketing had to change and COVID provided that catalyst.

Consumers are now much more digitally savvy. Mobile phones have allowed consumers to check prices, search and browse products in real time. Today’s destinations must not only easily accept digital, but embrace it to the same extent to join the clicks to the bricks.

This means that destinations should be more data-driven, not only for business decisions, but also in marketing to buyers, especially in managing buyer data and using information from the best of CRM technology. to personalize and add more relevance and reward to communications with buyers.

For some companies, tough times create problems, but for others, they create opportunities. For smart retailers, there are clear trends developing and opportunities to seize now.

Daniel Graham is Managing Director of OnBrand

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