It’s in The Bag: The Future of Shopping

By Janette Speyer and Katrina McNeill

There are many trends making it more and more challenging to sell and making bargains easier and easier to find. The competition is really heating up and it’s going to change shopping both online and off. What do you need to do to keep up with your competition?

For the online seller:

Our online shopping giants are Amazon and EBay. Consumers already trust them, they are extremely convenient and have a strong database of reviews that would be impossible to catch up with. If you are not going to sell your product on or EBay, you have a few choices; sell a unique product that only you can make or sell, try a niche market (like to feature local brands nobody has ever heard of), all your other options are just extensions of these ideas. So focus on being unique to have a hope of competing.

For the physical retailer:

There will be three growing trends for physical retailers in the coming years:

  1. Digital marketing: Physical retail will be diving into digital marketing, especially mobile. Mobile marketing is exploding. With such strong price competition online, the digital customer experience they use to draw you to the store will have to be easy to use and price competitive to encourage consumers going to physical stores over buying online.
  2. Local delivery: Some suggest local stores might have to start delivering their product in order to stay competitive.  This is very cost prohibitive, so retailers will have to be creative about it.
  3. Getting experiential: There will also be a shift in retail from physical to experiential, where the currency of value is the experience. If you can buy it online, why go to the store? Give your consumers a reason! One thought is to keep the inventory fresh. Take a hint from the fashion industry. Going from a world where consumers purchased clothes once every season, consumers now return regularly, anticipating new discoveries as part of the experience. A great leader in this trend is Zara. The stores secret to success come from encouraging frequent shopping through the excitement of a rapid turnover of merchandise. This is competitive with e-commerce as it still lacks browsing and discovery experiences that satisfy curiosity. The current standard for online shopping revolves around instant satisfaction which usually comes from a specific search.

Whether you want to compete online or off, every year, more work falls to the retailer to stay competitive. Follow these trends and try your hardest to be unique! Physical retailers need to get ready to market both online and off in the New Year with digital marketing becoming so mainstream that you can’t avoid it any longer.

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  1. Heather Stone
    December 9th, 2012 2:20  / 

    Great wrap up of where retail marketing is headed. So often, this kind analysis begins and ends with the conclusion that all retail is headed for the Web. This may be true, but it misses the nuances of what is happening right now with brick and mortar businesses, something still very important for small business leaders and entrepreneurs to understand too. Thanks for sharing this with the BizSugar community!


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