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Our modern consumer expert, Jeff Fromm, has been selected as the keynote speaker for the 21st annual ICR conference in Orlando, FL on January 14.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Fromm as our keynote speaker for our 21st annual conference,” said Tom Ryan, chief executive officer of ICR. “Every generation has a unique set of behaviors and as we assess the value of Gen Z, brands need to better understand this demographic to drive long term growth and loyalty. We look forward to learning from Jeff’s expertise and valuable insight, particularly as we head into the New Year.”

In its 21st year, the conference targets management teams of premier public and private growth companies, institutional investors, sell-side research analysts, private equity professionals, sponsoring investment bankers and select media.

“It is a great privilege to be able to address so many companies’ CEOs and Presidents,” said Fromm, “so many of whom who have a great history of growth.”

A weekly columnist for Forbes and co-author of three books on generational marketing, Fromm will be presenting Marketing to Gen Z in the Age of Snackable Content to more than 2000 attendees representing more than 150 of the nation’s largest brands.

Read more here.

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By Josh Carlyle

What inspires millennials to buy and what drives their brand engagement? Well, it’s not enough that you have a presence on the digital channels. It also requires creating valuable content and publishing it on different channels in a way that engages your audience.

One of the main challenges is to gain consumers’ trust. People have a tendency to trust recommendations from friends and family more than any claims made by the brand. As many as 84 percent of millennials also report that user-generated content on a company’s website can influence what they buy. This creates an incentive for you as a marketer to engage your audience as much as possible. Millennials are often willing to promote products or services on social media in exchange for rewards.

Here is a list of things to consider when creating marketing content for millennials:

Let them experience your brand on their terms

Millennials want to choose how they’re spending time with your brand. You should, therefore, create new opportunities that allow them to experience your brand on their own terms. Millennials aren’t interested in receiving brand messages that they’re not seeking out themselves.

The traditional way is to think about marketing as a way of communicating a message to your target audience. But it means your messages are limited to one medium. Millennials are digital natives and want to experience brands in a fluid way. This has transformed the market, as it’s no longer limited to one medium.

Develop an agile content marketing strategy

To generate a positive response from millennials, you need to focus your marketing efforts on creating agile content. This type of content enables you to keep up to date with the latest marketing trends. Make sure to utilize data when you’re developing new content marketing strategies. You need to think fast and continually revise the content that you release for your customers.

Pay attention to social media marketing

There are an estimated 3.03 billion active social media users around the world. It’s thus not surprising that people share more content on social media than ever before. Despite recent claims about a decline in popularity, social media marketing still has immense potential. It makes sense to create brand awareness on a platform where people actually spend their time.

Once you have established your target audience and learned which social media platform they use, you can develop an effective strategy. Companies that have different target markets shouldn’t follow the exact same tactics. It’s all about finding out what works best for your specific business and demographics.

Focus on authentic, user-generated content

The times of hard selling are over. Marketing strategies that allow consumers to make their own decisions are more effective with millennials. Cooperation with influencers is one way to do it. When a product or service is being promoted by a person who is respected among consumers, it has a stronger impact.

Authentic, user-generated content is important because it makes users feel like they’re part of an online community. Consumers’ attitudes are influenced by people who are relatable and have earned a level of trust. Many purchasing decisions are determined by user feedback. Given this, you should create transparent campaigns to build strong relationships with millennials.

Make your content clear and well-structured

Another important requirement for your content is clarity. An audience that doesn’t understand your content isn’t going to convert. Consumers expect to find a recognizable structure that includes an intro, a body, and a conclusion. Structure matters as it helps your audience organize the content in their heads.

You should also ensure that your copy is always polished. If your content could use some enhancement, there are many tools and services available. For example, you can check Grammarly, Handmade Writing, or Hemingway App.

It’s possible to convert millennials by creating engaging content. In fact, 90 percent of search engine users haven’t made up their mind about a specific brand before they start their search. User-generated content, in particular, is a fast and cost-effective way to increase your conversion rates.

If you want to read more about the latest marketing trends and targeting millennials, you can check our earlier post about how to attract millennial consumers.

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By Alli Clark

It’s no secret that millennials live lifestyles that are vastly different from previous generations. They have access to technology that is far beyond anything that has ever been available before. They are also burdened with more college debt than any generation has ever had to deal with. These factors are shaping the world that millennials live in and creating a new lifestyle that older generations may not fully understand. Keep reading for just a few of the ways college debt is affecting the lives of millennials.

They’re delaying major milestones

One of the biggest differences between millennials and previous generations are their family lifestyles. While most baby boomers spent their twenties quickly building their families, many millennials are postponing getting married or having children and 31% cite the economy as the main reason. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 the birth rate in the U.S. dropped 3% from 2016 to a new record low.  As a result of their lack of spouses and children, young adults are living a “college style” lifestyle later into their twenties. Sharing apartments with roommates, living with parents or holding several part time jobs are not uncommon. As millennials age into their 30’s, become more secure in their financial situation, and tackle their debt, they finally begin to feel stable enough to commit to milestones like marriage and having children.

They’re spending their money differently

We’ve all read the articles about which new industry the millennials are supposedly “killing” but the reality is that this generation does spend their money very differently. They’d rather order a product or service through an app than interact face to face, but they also want lightning fast service. The result is that companies like Uber, Birchbox and Blue Apron, deliver services right to your front door, and have skyrocketed in popularity. Millennials are not only interested in the product, but if the product is delivered in a way that makes their lives easier.

They’re not saving for retirement

One characteristic millennials share with their older counterparts is that neither are adequately saving for retirement. 33% of baby boomers and 39% of millennials have less than $10,000 saved. While there are varying rules on what the right amount to save for retirement is, it’s safe to say that neither generation is well prepared. However, boomers are hindered from saving by their current bills, while millennials are focused on paying off student debt before they build up their savings.

They’re looking for solutions

Although they’re saddled with more debt than previous generations, millennials are proactive about finding creative solutions for their financial situations. Many run their own business, freelance or have a small side hustle using the internet to market their skills and make extra income. Millennials are also more trusting of online solutions for their finances, whether it’s getting started with investing or refinancing their student loans to get a more favorable rate. Student debt is a big roadblock to traditional financial achievements for millennials, but they are finding ways around it. Although this younger generation has not had much control over the rising student debt crisis, they are regaining control of their situation by innovating new solutions.

They’re more comfortable in the digital world

This millennial generation has grown up with the internet, so although they do remember the days when you had to use a landline to get in touch with someone, they’re perfectly comfortable in the digital world. When it comes to meeting new people and dating, many prefer to use apps over old fashioned methods. This generation also uses the tools of the internet to access information and educate themselves. After all, think about the last time you saw an encyclopedia compared to the last time you Googled a question. These technological advancements have made a wealth of information available at our fingertips and millennials are experts at accessing it.

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By Shaq Abboud 

Video marketing is an absolute essential in today’s digital-centric society. But what exactly is video marketing and how can you use it to attract a millennial audience?

What is video marketing?

Video marketing is exactly what the name suggests, the use of video to promote your brand of product. It can be used on your own website, via social media, on YouTube or in your own e-mail marketing.

But video marketing doesn’t just have to be video content directly promoting your products or services. It can be used in a variety of ways to engage your audience, interact with your customers and to build brand loyalty.

Why is video marketing important?

According to some research, mobile video usage has increased by almost 10 million daily views over the last two years and 54% of consumers said they wanted more video content from brands or businesses they support.

There is also evidence that video boosts information retention. When we hear something, on average we retain about 10% of the information by a later date. But seeing something accompanied by relevant imagery allows us to retain, on average, 65% of that information.

Video is also linked with making customers more likely to make a purchase. Apparently, customers are 64-85% more likely to buy products or invest in services after watching video content.

Millennials, in particular, respond well to video content. In the charity sector, there is research showing that 60% of millennials engage better with video than newsletters and adding video to your emails can generate a massive 200-300% increase in click-through rates. And according to statistics collated by Givergy in 2017, 57% of people who watch videos by non-profits will end up making a donation and are 7 times more likely to share a video on Facebook over a link.

All things considered, there’s simply no denying how powerful video is in today’s digital market.

How to get the best out of your video marketing

So now that we know why video should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy, let’s look at how you can get the most out of your content.

1)Plan your content

Like everything in your content marketing strategy, your video output should be carefully planned and well considered. Take some time to sit back and really think about what it is that you want to achieve.

Before creating video content, think about the audience you want to attract and what outcome you’d like from them viewing your videos. This will ensure that your content has the right message and urges your audience to react exactly how you want them to.

Then, you should think about when and where you will be posting the content. You should plan this out months in advance for a strategic approach that will get you the best return on investment. Yes, posting a lot of random content will drive some traffic to your website but a carefully considered approach with a steady stream of thoughtful content posted at strategic times will get you so much more.

2) Choose your channels carefully

Like we’ve already discussed, plastering your video content all over the place is one way to get views, but a carefully considered strategy will take you a lot further. Carefully deciding where to post your video content will be key to reaching and engaging with the right audience.

YouTube should be slap bang in the middle of your video campaigns. It’s owned by Google which means, if you use it properly, you can have a positive effect on your search engine rankings. To make the most out of your YouTube videos, make sure you have all the relevant keywords and phrases in place.

Social Media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook will also be invaluable. Don’t be afraid to make different content or even different versions of content for each of these as users tend to engage differently in different channels.

3) Keep it interactive

Millennials love to get involved so make your content as interactive as possible. For example, you can run campaigns on social media asking your customers to send in their own videos and compile these to great a promo video. Or ask for suggestions on what your audience and customers would like to see from you before creating your content. Always encourage comments and feedback. The more involved the audience feels, the more they are likely to engage with your content and share it with their friends.

4) Keep it simple

Millennials have spent the majority of their adult lives with endless content at their fingertips. As a result, they have low attention spans and expect to be able to access what they want with the minimal amount of clicks.

To capture a millennial audience you, therefore, need to make watching and engaging with your video content as easy as possible. Have captions or subtitles along the bottom for viewers who are watching the video at work, on public transport or whilst also watching TV (yes, millennials really do that). You should also make it really easy for viewers to share the video with friends via messaging apps or on social media.

5) Focus on quality

There is so much content available online these days, it’s tough to stand out. And whilst you need to produce a steady stream of content in order to keep up with your competition, you should definitely focus on quality over quantity.

Don’t be afraid to call in professional video producers if you don’t have the talent in-house. Spending the money on high-quality content that truly engages your audience will be far more cost-effective than wasting your company’s time on hours of video that doesn’t quite work.

But quality video content doesn’t always have to be your own. As long as you are not breaking any copyright laws, you can and should share quality videos from other sources too, particularly on your social media channels. Use your video content to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source in your industry by posting content by other relevant parties in your field.

Conclusion

Video marketing offers a world of opportunity and should be a staple part of any marketing campaign targeting millennials. By planning your content strategy ahead of time, you will make sure that your content is relevant and of high quality and truly engaging.

Author bio:

Shaq Abboud (Creative Producer of Scope Productions)

Experienced Creative Producer with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in Writing, directing, editing, live events, product launches, tv commercials. Over 18 years of industry experience working to help global brands build creative and thought-provoking productions.

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By Matt Cronin

Check out part 1 of Why CMOs Can’t Treat Subscription Marketing Like Everything Else

How to Boost Subscription Retention Rates

Beyond shifting customer service toward a consultant approach, how can businesses keep subscribers coming back for more?

  1. Diversify, diversify, diversify. Many first-time subscription efforts tackle subscriptions like traditional e-commerce, but they’re not the same. Though they may be receiving a standing order or a curated box, subscribers want choices. Companies have to offer a variety of products and pricing options to see growth.

This can take the form of tiers, with different numbers of products or selections offered for set price points. Other subscription-based businesses opt to provide “swap in, swap out” models that enable members to ditch the things they don’t want and add similarly priced items in their place. Many offer multiple pricing platforms, allowing subscribers to determine how often they receive shipments or to self-select out of particular shipments. Every choice develops affinity.

  1. Create subscriber feedback loops. Subscribers want a say in what’s marketed to them, and with reason: They’re providing ongoing revenue with their loyalty. One big drawback to traditional e-commerce data collection is that the data is transactional in nature, meaning marketers have to assign meaning to different actions and infer motivations.

Subscription marketing gives marketers a direct outlet for speaking to a captive and alert audience — subscribers want to provide feedback on what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what would make their lives easier. This can occur through surveys and individual phone calls, as well as ratings and reviews of received shipments. Members have an incentive to offer honest feedback — their next shipment — and marketers would be remiss to not keep that door open.

  1. Be open to evolving product lines. Subscription companies can sometimes go wrong at the very end by failing to implement subscriber feedback. While some of the changes subscribers request are easy to manage — shifting cadences, adding questions to personalize shipments — some, like new product offerings, are not.

That doesn’t mean subscription-based businesses can overlook requests for new products or capitalize on the requests only when they’ve peaked in the broader consumer market. Pivoting to test new products can reveal that an original offering — say, skincare products — sells better when paired with accessories or haircare products. These kinds of discoveries are worth evolving beyond a brand’s original vision.

Subscription marketing is making its mark on consumers, but to keep them, marketers have to go a step beyond. CMOs who embrace subscribers as members and treat them as partners will see much more growth than those who treat subscription marketing like everything else.

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By Matt Cronin

Subscription models have experienced explosive growth in recent years. McKinsey & Company found that subscriptions have managed to grow more than 100 percent per year for the past five years. VCs have jumped into the game, funding subscriptions for everything from wine to pet food, and big retailers like Walmart have staked their claim on the subscription market.

Leaders have seen the writing on the wall: The subscription e-commerce market has exceeded 100 percent growth each of the past five years, marking just shy of $3 billion in sales in 2016. Millennials are credited with fueling this trend, with 92 percent of them carrying active subscriptions.

It’s clear that the subscription model has gained traction with consumers, but marketing it is a little trickier. And CMOs can’t treat subscription marketing like everything else.

Where Subscriptions Differ

Perhaps the biggest difference — and most enticing aspect — regarding subscription marketing is the type of customer it serves. Whereas most forms of marketing are focused on attracting new sets of eyes and winning them over, subscription marketing serves new and existing customers in an effort to delight them enough to stay. Retention, not surface-level conversion, is the name of the game.

Matt Cronin, a founding partner of House of Kaizen, which helps grow subscriber revenue, says the economics of the subscription model justifies a more competitive investment in customers. “The model is based upon a well-known customer lifetime value — that means a company can go beyond the cost of acquisition and immediate ROI to consider how the cost settles across the duration of the subscription,” he says.

That longer-view and higher-value payoff allows for more customer-centric marketing tactics that pull customers through the subscriber journey effectively. The cost layout may be higher initially, but the subscriber campaign setup results in higher efficiency and ROI across the entire effort. That, in turn, allows CMOs to focus on the quality of the subscribers, not the number of subscribers or the cost of maintaining them.

“Subscription-focused strategies that bring in and keep the subscribers who are most valuable to a company doesn’t just help the bottom line; it also eliminates the need to deal with massive churn,” Cronin explains. “A lot of marketing efforts are designed to drive a high number of low-value acquisitions, who often never come back for another interaction. Subscription marketing expects a relationship with customers.”

Subscribers Are Members, Not Prospects

To find success, brands have to consider subscribers members of their roster. The “member” definition helps subscription marketing initiatives focus on ongoing communication, ensuring that a brand delivers on the expressed needs and wants of its subscriber base. We’ve long heard that existing customers are more affordable than new customers, but in terms of subscriptions, they’re also much more valuable.

While the subscription market more than doubled in a four-year span, Fluent found that subscriptions can be plagued by high churn rates — nearly 40 percent of online subscriptions are canceled. The meal kit category has been especially hit hard by this, but it’s a reminder for all subscription-based businesses to deliver impressive service and products to their members. Acquisition tactics have to give way, at some point, to retention tactics.

Karl Wells, general manager of The Wall Street Journal’s membership, subscription sales, and marketing, worked with House of Kaizen to conduct over 100 optimization tests last year aimed at boosting the publisher’s subscriptions. He said that the brand’s subscriptions had become memberships, leading to the creation of a customer-first mentality and a customer-led paywall. “It’s a very different approach — you have to think how you can best organize your resources to ensure you have someone worrying about each piece of the customer journey,” Wells explained. “You have to structure yourself to extract the maximum value possible from your customer lifetime value. How can you make transactions repeatable?”

Brad Birnbaum, the CEO and founder of Kustomer, a platform for customer experience, service, and support, explains, “For subscription businesses, the longer customers are with you, the happier they should become…[agents] have to become makeup stylists, fashion advisors, and pet experts. In other words, agents have to become consultants. Only with that level of deep engagement can they connect with customers and anticipate potential pain points while surprising and delighting them when it counts most.”

Check back next week for Part II.

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Switzerland is winning in terms of the experience economy that appeals to today’s modern consumers. When you take the train to the Bernese Mountains to the top of Europe, Jungfraujoch, you will see an ice palace, restaurants, classes on Swiss Chocolate, year round skiing and a hole-in-one golf course. In 2014, they even hosted a tennis match between Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn. So how did the million-plus people that visited Jungfraujoch last year hear about it? It’s a safe bet that Matthias Bütler, chief marketing officer of Jungfrau Railways, was probably behind it. Jeff Fromm, who recently travelled to Jungfraujoch, interviewed Bütler on how he has been successfully attracting modern consumers.

Everything adds to the experience: On top of being beautiful, everything that Jungraujoch offers plays into the adventure. Visitors can ride the trains to the highest train station in Europe, hike Aletsch Glacier, year round skiing or play golf. The travel industry needs to think about how every aspect adds to the visitors’ experience: Who would visit a place for a significant amount of time if there was nowhere to stay or nothing exciting to eat or drink? The more the experience is facilitated, the more the travel ecosystem will benefit.

Utilize partnerships: Jungfrau Railways funds most of the marketing that attracts tourists to the Bernese mountain region which helps generate traffic to Junfraujoch which then trickles down to the local tourism economy. They made a point to partner with local tour operators and influencers as seen with the Federer-Vonn tennis match. Simple ways like partnerships help improve the product and give the visitor the unique experience they are seeking.

Innovate: The modern consumer is constantly curating their identity with travel experiences but what they consider interesting is constantly changing. The travel industry must innovate to stay relevant. For example, Junfrau Railways is building a multimillion-dollar V-cableway project to decrease travel time. Not everyone can afford such a expensive way to innovate, however being open to letting the visitor’s experience evolve will keep them coming back.

See the full interview HERE.

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Millennials are getting married in fewer numbers and later in life than previous generations. They also have very different views of marriage than their parents, which lead to different expectations of the whole wedding planning process.  Beth Gerstein, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Earth, an ethically sourced jewelry company, shared some insights on Jeff Fromm’s column on Forbes that she has seen in the wedding industry.

  1. The wedding planner: On top of working with both the bride and the groom, who are often planning collaboratively in addition to paying for it themselves, wedding planners need to make the event a unique experience, worthy of the couple’s wedding hashtag. Millennials will have seen plenty of weddings on Instagram and Facebook, so it’s the wedding planner’s job to raise the bar, know the couple’s preferences and values and make their special day their own.
  2. The gift registry: Since Millennials are getting married later in life they are most likely set up in terms of homegoods. Gerstein found that many Millennials are ditching the traditional home good registry and opting for online stores like Amazon or stores that speak to their personal interest, often opting for a donation to a cause that is important to the couple rather than a physical gift. There is also a shift from traditional gift sets like expensive china to tech savvy gifts like wireless speakers or home gadgets.
  3. The venue: Millennials are ditching the traditional church and reception hall in favor or something more unique. Industrial spaces, picturesque landscapes and destination weddings are becoming the norm.
  4. The ring: Millennials have a strong sense of social responsibility and care about how and where their products are sourced. They are more likely than other generations to indicate that ethical sourcing is a key consideration when purchasing an engagement ring. Some Millennials are even ditching the traditional diamond ring for alternatives like silicon rings that are more comfortable and durable.
  5. The honeymoon: We know Millennials want to have a unique and meaningful experience and what better opportunity than on the honeymoon. They are utilizing sites like Honeyfund or Zola to address their desire for unique and meaningful experiences rather than “stuff.” These sites allow guests to contribute money to pay for experiences on their honeymoon.
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Written By: Caleb Ledbetter

No one likes Millennials. My father-in-law, knowing that I am technically a member of the generation, regularly informs me about Millennial shortcomings. It’s honestly impressive how consistently Boomers and Gen Xers use a disdainful tone when they speak about “those Millennials.” If a comedian wants a cheap laugh, they only need to mention avocado toast.

Millennials—such an easy mark.

It isn’t new for older people to complain about young people: Aristotle was doing it as early as 4th century BC. It is new for elders to attach the blame for economic trends on young adults. Compare these google suggestions for “Millennials killing” to “Gen X killing”.

Seeing this leaves the impression a bunch of homicidal Millennials are stabbing industries in the back, and if only this generation would put away their economic knives, these brands could survive.

Because obviously young people are to blame. They aren’t buying napkins anymore, clearly because they’re too selfish to be cleanly. They are refusing to buy diamonds, choosing alternative rings because they don’t care enough about tradition. They aren’t eating at chain restaurants, opting to order delivery or cook at home because they want a flavor experience that is worthy of their social media.

But hold on a minute. If you went to a restaurant, and you didn’t like the way the food tasted, would you blame yourself for not liking it? Would you hold yourself responsible to change your personal tastes for the restaurant’s benefit? Or would you tell the restaurant that they need to serve better food? It is never the responsibility of consumers to buy what brands are selling, but the responsibility of brands to sell what people are buying.

Millennials aren’t to blame. Napkin sales are falling because paper towels do everything napkins do and more. Diamonds are artificially overpriced, and Millennials are smart not to buy as many. Casual dining restaurants are struggling because it is more convenient to get delivery or to head to a fast-casual restaurant for a cheaper, healthy food option that is quick.

Napkin makers could shift their product focus to the more versatile paper towels. Jewelry makers could offer alternative rings, and lower diamond prices when possible. Casual dining restaurants could offer delivery options that don’t require using outside sources like Seamless or Grubhub.

Retail is an excellent case study for this point. In 2017, many heralded the “Retail Apocalypse”. With stores hiring less and closing more, some called out Millennials as responsible. After all, it’s Millennials who aren’t shopping at Macy’s anymore.

Whose job is it to align brand offerings with consumer expectations? The brand’s. And the brands which are struggling might do well to recognize the change and/or shift to accommodate it.

In an increasingly diverse market, many retailers refused to innovate. As it became more crucial to stand out from the pack, department stores of the world just felt blander. As the Millennial generation desired items which would add to their unique self identities, brands offered the same old cookie-cutter stuff. With digital presence becoming a necessity, they didn’t successfully transition online.

Millennials aren’t killing brands, brands are killing themselves.

Millennials are not killing retail. In fact, retail isn’t really dying. Some retailers are just failing to adjust their business models to a rapidly changing market. Even if Millennials just had it out for a brand like Sears, it would ultimately be Sears’ responsibility to change their situation.  

As marketers, we can’t put the blame for lagging sales on the consumer. If people don’t want what a brand is selling, the brand must adjust. Millennials constantly ask: What have you done for me lately? What will you do for me tomorrow? Millennials are making purchasing decisions based off of their needs and values. Serve their needs and align with their values, whatever they are, because complaining about “kids these days” won’t keep the doors open.

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Retail stores are hiring less and closing more. In 2017, retail sales dropped so much that many people called it the “Retail Apocalypse”. But have we really arrived at the death of retail? The American retail market is bloated, there are too many stores and brands for modern demand. Many brands will go away, but those that survive will be stronger than ever. Retail isn’t dying, it’s just losing weight.

Retail Is Shrinking Because:

America built too many stores.

For every person in the United States, there is 23.6 square feet of retail space. This is ridiculously large when compared to other countries. In the UK, there are only 4.6 sq feet per capita. This is partially due to U.S. citizens having a larger appetite for shopping, but also due to overreactions to positive trends. America simply has more stores than it can reasonably support. It stands to reason that as time passes, the system will self correct, and many of these stores will close.

Commerce is moving online

Physical stores still make up the larger percentage of sales, and offline success still has a huge impact on the bottom line. However, online sales are on the rise, and will only continue to grow over the coming years. As more sales move online, there will be less demand for brick and mortar sales points. Internet commerce also makes it easier for consumers to shop from brands which aren’t near them, lessening the importance of location.

People are considering less brands.

According to a 2017 study, there is a stark decline over the last decade in the number of retailers at which people shop, including online shopping.

The consideration set is getting smaller. This may be because consumers are more able than ever to shop with their favorite brands and not settle for substitutes, or perhaps considering fewer brands is a reaction to the plethora of options. Whatever the reason, it is increasingly more likely that your potential customers aren’t even considering your stores when deciding where to shop. The brands which consistently fall out of the running with individuals, will eventually fail large scale.

Your Brand Can Survive By:

Selling more than products

The best brands sell more than stuff. Nike sells tennis shoes, but they really sell the idea that everyone can be an athlete. People don’t become fans of a brand because it has cheap prices, they’ll leave once there is something cheaper. They don’t love a brand because it’s located near their house. When people commit to a brand long term, it’s because they identify with what the brand stands for. As retails shrinks, the surviving brands will be the ones that have made this vital emotional connection.

Prioritizing online platforms

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s this new thing called the internet. You’re probably on it now, and your brand should be too. A functional website, a respectable social media presence, and refined search engine optimization are absolute minimums for modern brands. But doing the minimum isn’t enough to survive in a competitive market. As more consumers look to make online purchases, it’s increasingly more important that your brand has easy and accessible online shopping available, for mobile devices as well as desktops.

Rethinking the store

The experience economy extends to retail too. People don’t want to just go inside, buy something, and leave. Millennials and Pivotals view shopping as an activity, and like to go with friends. They want their shopping experience to be something worth remembering, not just an errand. Ikea has had success elevating their shopping experience with their in-store restaurants. A trip to buy a cabinet suddenly becomes something to look forward to when meatballs are involved. Nike Soho is testing a new store complete with a basketball court, mini soccer field, and virtual treadmill. They want customers to interact with the brand, even if the interaction doesn’t immediately convert into a purchase. Find a way for your brand’s retail experience to become something worth doing, and customers will keep coming.

Conclusion

As long as people want to buy stuff, physical stores will be around to sell it to them. But no individual brand, even yours, is guaranteed to last. Retail is changing, just like everything else in the digital age. The brands that evolve, and continue to evolve, will last. The brands that don’t, won’t. Adapt your brand to the realities of a leaner retail market, and you can succeed through these transformative times.

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