July is Independent Retailer Month. Celebrating their positive impact on local communities is now more important — and, thankfully, more appreciated — than ever. Read on to discover important trends that ensure engagement, connection, and impact for years to come.
According to a new study released by IBM and the National Retail Federation, almost all members of Generation Z prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores despite expectations that the first “digitally native” generation would want to shop online.
In fact, despite being digitally-obsessed, 98% of Gen Zers still shop in-store.
First off, who is Generation Z?
- 14-19-year-olds born after 1995 — this is a big buying group
- Gen-Z is constantly browsing online, and they make unplanned store visits
- Product selection and access is key*
- Visibility on sales floor is also key, but make sure displays aren’t clinical
- They’re price-conscious, so don’t hide tags
- Content: information on what you’re selling is important
*source – Fitch Research
Digital platforms have transformed how consumers shop, but the real-life shopping experience is still essential to closing the deal. This bodes well for all retailers, especially the independents with a unique point of view and curated product mix.
Read the Insider’s Crossover Buying Guide and find out why it’s the key to retail success.
How T.J. Maxx and Marshalls Ignored the Internet and Won
According to Bloomberg News and The Seattle Times, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls “don’t care about online sales because their businesses are based on the real-life retail experience. Inventory shifts regularly, so no visit is the same — the promise of discovering great items on the cheap is what draws shoppers inside.”
Mickey Chadha, an analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, also speaks to the importance of their product and pricing, “the product is right at the right price. Online is only as good as the product.”
GlobalShop’s Path to Purchase research found that 90% of retail journeys still end in a retail store, even those that begin online. People like to shop; they enjoy the convenience of shopping online, but nothing beats being on a sales floor surrounded by great product.
“Shopping is a social experience, with an emphasis on the word, ‘experience.’ No one does that better than independent retailers who scout the marketplace to find just the right merchandise they know their customers will love. People have been predicting the demise of brick and mortar stores for as long as we can remember. Stores may change over the years but they will never go away.” – Georganne Bender & Rich Kizer, Retail Consultants
The Limited, American Apparel, and Macy’s Close Hundreds of Stores
In January, The Limited began closing all 250 of its stores, while American Apparel started closing all of its 110 locations; Macy’s also set about closing 68 of its stores nationwide.
Wait, so if brick-and-mortar stores are closing, how does this help my shop? Read on.
Last December, Bloomberg News reported The Limited was likely headed for liquidation. Liz Dunn, chief executive of retail consulting firm Talmage Advisors, says The Limited has suffered from its inability to keep up with trends.
“Shoppers are looking for things that are hyper-relevant to what’s going on in fashion right now — and as inexpensive as possible,” explains Dunn.
What This Means for You: An Abundance of Retail Talent Available for You to Hire
Did American Apparel and The Limited get too big, too fast with not enough focus on trending product? Most analysts say The Limited’s closing was due to a lack of product focus and investment in the store and customer experience. By contrast, eyeglass brand Warby Parker plans to open another new 25 retail stores this year in the U.S.
And don’t forget Amazon’s quiet expansion into brick-and-mortar bookstores.
This means that there is a whole lot of experienced retail talent now available for hire. This would be a great time to place those want ads.
Make Every Customer Visit Count
It’s key to pay close attention to your offline experience and how it integrates with your online and social media presence. Get the most out of each customer visit and focus on your product margins (higher the better).
Focus on affordable, high-margin product and the customer experience. Take care of and nurture your best customers and drive foot traffic to your shop via offline events and social media. Take advantage of the brick-and-mortar resurgence.