Just Keeping Up In 2015
posted by Stuart Cumming ~ 03/02/15
Category: Marketing

This is NOT one of those articles full of predictions for the coming year. Frankly, with so much happening in the world of retail, marketing and catalogue design (our area), we find trying to stay on top of all the trends such articles suggest we should be on top of, all a bit daunting. If not downright intimidating.

We thought we'd take a crack at simplifying the mountain of material we have been reading so we can all just get back to work.

For those who like detail and context, there's a list of sources below.


Now, where to begin...?

 Facebook and Twitter "Waste of money".

So says researcher of all things internet, Forrester Research. Those "relationships", those "conversations" your Social Media marketing is meant to be having with your customers may not be achieving their objective. Their recommendation? It's time to start looking atsites that are delivering results. And it just so happens they have a report titled "Social Relationship Strategies That Work." which you can buy for $499. Hmmm. Pinterest anyone?

What little retailers can learn from big retailers. 

At the risk of jumping in with "I told you so", we would humbly direct your attention to the very recent announcement that major US retailer, JC Penney has, like a prodigal son, returned to the fold: the "we believe in catalogues because they produce sales" fold. 

a print catalog can help customers cut through the clutter of the Internet
J. Crew Group, Williams-Sonoma, Bloomingdale's, and Saks are also among the retailers that still invest heavily in print. JC Penney eventually learned that a lot of what they thought were online sales were actually catalog(ue) shoppers using the website to place their orders.

Trish Hagood of MediaFinder,com, the largest online collection of  catalogues on the internet observed: "The Internet has gotten so big that you can't find anything on it," Hagood says, "even on the J.C. Penney website." According to Hagood, a print catalog can help customers cut through the clutter of the Internet.                                                                                                               

Admittedly, US catalogs are different in more ways than just spelling (theirs are always addressed and usually have substantially more pages) but the principles apply.                                                                                                 


Keeping things in perspective.                                                                            

Yes, online sales are increasing, but they still only account for 6% of the total world retail sales. And with the likes of Amazon and Zappo's opening real live stores, we can safely predict there is a lot more life in the retail store. Bricks and mortar still rule, ok.


The content evolution.

You really don't have a choice. If you're in retail, you'd better be exploring ways to bring video, quality photography and brand story telling into both your online and offline offering. 
Catalogues these days can be brand-building magalogues. Or online versions can feature videos embedded showing customers how to use or how to wear your product. Testimonials are now captured on video. Do it right, publish it right and viral riches can ensue.

The bad news for 2015.

7 of the world's largest retailers (top 250) entered the Australian market in 2014
7 of the world's largest retailers (top 250) entered the Australian market in 2014. Many more, such as Marks and Spencer and the US giant Ashley Furniture are said to be on their way. So, increased competition for many will be the order of the day. Experts are saying such entrants often come back to the field after the initial launch burst. "Once the excitement of the new brand wears down, they then need to compete on a like for like basis, and that is not as simple as it seems" said David Gordon, retail expert at Lowe Lippman. But if the likes of Zara and Top Shop are anything to go on, that could be a bit of wishful thinking.

Fact is, the retail business will be as competitive as it ever was. We are, though, armed with new tools to woo the fickle customer and a changed environment in which to do battle. 

Forward. Into the fray.


Wall St Journal -  "Brands Are Wasting Money on Twitter & Facebook, says Forrester"

The Two Way - "J.C. Penny Brings Back Its Catalog After 5 Year Hiatus"

Official Open Bravo Blog - "Online to Offline: Trend or Reality for 2015"

Smart Company - "Global Retail Invasion Set To Continue in 2015"

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