As more consumers embrace multichannel shopping, retailers are diversifying their investments online and offline to meet customers’ needs, according to the annual State of Retailing Online study released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester.
“Retailers are evolving with customers’ shopping behaviors by creating a seamless shopping experience online and in store,” says Mark Mathews, NRF’s vice-president of research development and industry analysis. “From pop-up stores to social marketing, retailers are finding innovative ways to engage and acquire new customers.”
Retailers see the value of physical stores, particularly as e-commerce costs are increasing. More than half of surveyed retailers confirm they will open stores in 2019, and 36 percent will have a higher store count than in 2018. Only seven percent of respondents said their net store count would decrease.
To bolster their customers’ store and digital experiences, increasingly customer-centric retailers are investing in omnichannel fulfillment services, personalization tactics and mobile marketing. They are also making strides in better measurement and refined omnichannel programs.
The digital marketing landscape is also shifting. To reach their customers more effectively, retailers are prioritizing spending on social marketing and engaging with consumers on mobile devices. For the first time this year, social surpassed search marketing in terms of where retailers are increasing their marketing investments: 55 percent of surveyed retailers are planning to increase spending on social marketing compared with 51 percent on paid search.
“The marketing mix is palpably changing,” says Sucharita Kodali, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester. “Not only has social knocked search marketing from its spot as the top-growing digital marketing tactic, but retailers are also tapping into video marketing and online marketplaces as increasingly important tools for product discovery and research.”