Retail


Retailers are well aware of consumers' desire to shop in the most effortless ways possible, but several in-store pain points continue to hinder such experiences, according to an October 2019 survey from Capgemini.

Consumers in the US are planning to spend roughly $196 on Valentine’s Day this year, an increase of 21% over 2019, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Consumer adoption of online grocery—led primarily by Amazon and Walmart—saw hockey-stick growth last year. As these two Goliaths vie for market control, conflicting reports have made it difficult to determine who has the momentum, and where consumers prefer to shop.

While some consumers are warming up to retail tech, others aren’t as charmed by it—even if it results in more personalized experiences.

eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman and executive editor of the eMarketer Retail Newsletter Rimma Kats share firsthand accounts of the National Retail Federation’s annual trade show, focusing on retail personalization, returns, sustainability and more.

The US has been relatively late in introducing contactless cards, which are credit or debit cards that include a near field communication (NFC) chip that can complete a transaction simply by tapping on a reader. But those cards are starting to arrive in the US now that most point-of-sale (POS) systems have the NFC capabilities to accept them.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm around retail and tech, particularly visual search. While not mainstream yet, more than half of US internet users said they were most excited about using the technology as part of their shopping experience, according to a survey conducted by ViSenze.

A lot has happened in the retail space in the past 12 months. Nordstrom opened up its flagship store in New York City around the same time that brick and mortar veterans like Barney’s are closing up shop. More consumers got comfortable with buy online, pick up in-store (BOPUS)—especially as more brands adopted the service—and retailers such as Banana Republic and Bloomingdale's rolled out their own clothing rental services hoping to gain mass market appeal.

Though social commerce conversions will remain a challenge, the mid-funnel opportunity is growing. Instagram’s continued rollout of shoppable content features is helping brands and influencers spotlight product content and forge a better path to purchase. Pinterest has also introduced features to make it easier for retailers to upload and promote product content. And video-first platforms Snapchat and TikTok are both testing shoppable content features.

For Alexandra Waldman, launching Universal Standard was a no-brainer. She struggled to find clothes that fit her size-20 frame—even something as simple as a T-shirt that didn’t have a puppy or a "live, laugh, love" affirmation on it.

UK consumers continue to spend. However, as the realities of Brexit finally hit in 2020, the purse strings will tighten. And with ecommerce becoming an ever-greater portion of total UK retail sales, the effect on the high street will be marked. A hard delineation between the online and offline worlds isn’t necessarily helpful, though, as those lines between “clicks and bricks” continue to blur.

In June 2019, former Snapchat chief strategy officer Imran Khan set out to shake up the marketplace landscape, including Amazon, when he launched ecommerce platform Verishop. We recently spoke with Khan about how Verishop is helping direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands scale, as well as its ongoing efforts to give consumers a new way to discover products.

Consumers have become more socially conscious in the ways they shop. At the same time, the notoriously unsustainable practice of fast fashion is thriving.

With a robust cache of data in tow and proven success with social, direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have shifted their focus to more traditional mediums with the hopes of attaining a broader customer base.

eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg and principal analysts Jillian Ryan and Yory Wurmser discuss what the digital world will look like in 2020. They then talk about Instagram's user growth deceleration and what shoppers want from in-store associates.

Amid all the handwringing about screen time—plus the demise of Toys "R" Us—one could easily imagine that kids have lost interest in toys. But they haven’t.

Aptly named D2C brand Brandless, an online purveyor of minimalist grocery, wellness and home goods, has oriented its brand around the rise of digital-first shoppers who prefer products that include fewer, more natural ingredients. These shoppers have an evolving view of brands and don’t harbor any particular affinity for household names they grew up with.

This past year, we sat down with several retailers to learn more about their marketing efforts, the channels they rely on most, and how they’re adapting to the continuous change in consumer behavior.

While our 2019 prediction of digital’s influence on the reinvention of brick-and-mortar has materialized, it may have also undersold Amazon’s omnipresence in the space. The 800-pound gorilla of retail will continue to cast a wide shadow.