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How to Survive in the Rapidly Evolving Outdoor Retail World.

Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Toys”R”Us…It seems like physical retailers are disappearing at an alarming rate. While online sales are projected to continue growing in market share, 91% of US retail sales are still taking place in-store.

So what is going on?

The retail industry is evolving, not dying. According to ConsumerVue, “Outdoor consumers shop with a purpose. 75% shop with intent and educate themselves prior to making a purchase.” Therefore, you can no longer just assume that just because your product is in stores, it will sell. More than ever, brands in today’s market have to engage consumers both online and in-store to be successful.

DIGITAL STRATEGY

While most purchases happen in-store, the majority of shoppers visit a brand’s website before visiting a physical location. In fact, according to Google, 78% of all local searches on mobile result in a purchase in-store within 24 hours. To make it in today’s environment, you have to have a strong online presence which starts with your website.

The best retail websites prioritize functionality over flashiness. Consumers want to find what they are looking for quickly, so your website design should start with that idea in mind. Make it easy for consumers to discover products that fit their needs and make the purchasing experience, either online or in-store, as simple as possible. A great example of this is the SISU website:

 

IN-STORE STRATEGY.

Believe it or not, the focus of your in-store strategy should not be that different from your digital strategy. Shoppers likely have an idea of what they are looking for and want a quick and easy shopping experience. Your job is to anticipate this need. With hundreds of products in crowded retail spaces, visual cues are vital to help customers navigate.

According to Salesforce’s 2017 “State of Marketing” report, 50% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs. You’ve worked hard to get customers interested in buying your products, but if they can’t find it in-store, they are likely to buy what they can find quickly.

This isn’t anything new. Many brands know the value of visually marketing their brand in stores and have invested valuable marketing dollars in it. For many of these brands, there seems to be two extremes in terms of their POP marketing tactics:

1. Large, costly build-outs and store-within-a-stores.
2. Cheap, promotional posters/flyers.

While build-outs are great at capturing attention, most brands cannot affording them and those who can, only place them in a few key accounts. Posters and other temporary items are the most affordable option for small brands on a budget, but with so much going on in retail stores, they do little to grab attention and have a limited shelf life before they are replaced with something else.

For most brands, a middle-of-the-road solution makes the most sense. Instead of a full build-out, a creative, branded sign or display can be just as effective at capturing shoppers’ attention and converting them into buyers.

Types of POP marketing:

Signs: Products like illuminated or dimensional signs give your brand the attention it needs to convert browsers into buyers. Examples include these signs for Mossberg and Arc’teryx:

 

Product Displays: Unique, branded displays bring attention to your brand while displaying your products conveniently for shoppers to grab and go. This display for Alaskan Brewing is a great example:


Anticipating the needs of your customers is crucial. Consumers now expect brands to do this. Through the strategic use of a well-designed website and brand-visibility in-stores, your customers will thank you with their purchases for years to come.

 

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