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The Future of Retail: Consumer Attitudes, Brick-and-Mortar Strategies—and TV

February 8th, 2018   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Is there a unified channel strategy to drive the future of retail? According to Piers Fawkes, founder and president of media company PSFK, the retail space is transitioning from an online-versus-offline competition into an omnichannel landscape where the two competing channels are blended and synergistic.

“Retail is going from a place of transaction to a place of experience,” said Fawkes. In January 2018, PSFK released the latest results of a trend study that tracks the evolution of retail in all its forms.

What were the results? The future of brick and mortar looks very different from the antiquated stores of the past. And perhaps more surprising? The fact that TV has a central role in the future.

Transitions in Retail

Retail will always be a social event, stressed Fawkes, but will be bolstered less by computer and more by mobile, while also offering an experiential focus in stores. This trend provides brands the opportunity to strengthen their connections with individual consumers at all points throughout their days, when they’re in various locations and, ideally, more susceptible to messaging.

As brands and marketers gather more placed-based data points, the relationships between retailers and consumers can become more personal—feeding the brand enthusiasts and creating a sense of urgency and excitement closer to points of purchase.

How does this omni-universe play out? An example: Youth brands like Nike can tap into their hardcore enthusiasts—called “Sneakerheads”—with apps and online “Easter egg” discoveries that result in real-world treasure hunts for limited-edition products and in-store events. Brick-and-mortar stores work in tandem with sites and apps.

Television’s Role

Local TV promises to play a huge role in this new retail universe. Local TV’s deep connection to the community through local personalities and its focus on local news drives consumer engagement and loyalty.

And as retail transitions from “brick and mortar” to “brick and data,” local TV’s copious datasets can become an additive capability for consumer targeting and engagement. The future of retail lies in audience discovery and customer relations, which are local TV’s sweet spots.

The Future of Retail in Brick-and-Mortar Stores

In the old days, stores were more static in their offerings, leading consumers to safe, predictable shopping experiences. In other words, they knew exactly what to expect.

“Millennials have commitment issues, and pop-up stores serve that inclination,” said Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here, an online marketplace for short-term retail space bookings. So, the more successful brick-and-mortar stores will transition to playgrounds of discovery where offerings can change repeatedly.

In fact, while offline sales have tried to compete with online, offline has an opportunity to connect with consumers in ways e-retailers cannot. In-store can partner with e-commerce in sharing data and logistics.

This new paradigm is called “blended retail,” where “it’s not offline versus online,” said Fawkes. “Offline can work more to its strengths and use online channels to fulfill certain needs.”

TV will play an important synergistic role in the future of retail by continuing—and deepening—a community’s connection with local programming and personalities. Further, with the increasing amount of local granular data from devices and boxes, TV will help retail become more informed about trigger points along the consumer’s path to purchase. This means the future is bright for both retail and TV . . . in partnership.

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