How can retailers best connect with shoppers in 2019? Some familiar themes—like investing in mobile and making deals easier to access—will keep evolving and gaining momentum. But new trends are also emerging, including excitement over voice shopping and "try before you buy" offers.
That's what RetailMeNot discovered when it surveyed 200 senior retail marketers and more than 5,000 consumers about what's important to them in 2019. The findings are collected in the 2019 Retailer Playbook. The Playbook highlights these 10 key trends that will shape business this year:
No. 1: Consumer Marketers Are Not Interested in Gen Z—Yet. The young adults of tech-savvy, diverse Generation Z are starting to enter the workforce. But retailers haven't shifted the spotlight to them. Only 5% said they'll focus their marketing and advertising on Gen Z in 2019, compared with 60% who'll target Millennials.
No. 2: Taking a Stand Is Worth the Risk for Retailers. Being vocal about social issues might seem risky, but 87% of retailers said it's worth it. Perhaps even more striking, 83% believe not taking a stand is bad for business.
No. 3: Offers and Discounts Top the List of Growth Strategies. Mobile shoppers are savvy about seeking deals and discounts, and retailers are paying attention. Fifty-five percent say they'll use exclusive deals for mobile app users to grow sales this year.
No. 4: Retailers Will Be Bullish on Laying Voice Shopping Groundwork. Only 16% of Americans have bought something using a smart speaker. But retailers are preparing for that number to explode. Ninety-six percent of retailers are investing in this technology, and nearly three-quarters of senior retail marketers believe voice orders will become one of the main ways of shopping within just three years.
No. 5: Selection and Free Shipping Drive Consumer Purchases on Amazon. Those are the factors that around two-thirds of consumers cite. Retailers are responding to Amazon in a variety of ways, from using exclusive products to compete to working with Amazon to customize offers.
No. 6: Try-Before-You-Buy Will Replace BOPIS. Consumers like being able to buy a product online and pick it up in store. But 63% retailers are predicting that try-before-you-buy will become more popular than BOPIS over the next couple of years and that it will encourage shoppers to try new products they would not have otherwise considered.
No. 7: Mobile Is the Biggest Investment Priority for Retailers. Marketers continue to shift their budgets to mobile, where 88% plan to increase marketing investments, and social (81%). The number planning to increase their investments in non-mobile (digital) and offline has fallen off dramatically since 2017.
No. 8: Subscription Services Are Growing Among Consumers Looking for Lower Costs. Right now, only 16% of shoppers are buying items through subscription services, but an additional 34% plan to start.
No. 9: Millennials Slow to Make Purchases on Social Media. Only one-third of Millennials have bought through social media ads, but there's potential for growth. Four in 10 would consider such a purchase in the future.
No. 10: Automation of Savings Provides Time, Boosts Confidence. Consumers like browser extensions that automatically find deals and add them to their shopping carts. Why? They feel more confident they're getting the best deals (63%), but, even more importantly, such extensions save them time (72%).
To go deeper into these insights, explore the full 2019 Retailer Playbook by RetailMeNot.