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Casper Reportedly Planning Brick-And-Mortar Stores
The mattress retail industry is abuzz with the news that online start-up Casper is planning to expand into brick-and-mortar retail spaces in the near future. As one of the big online-only success stories, Casper’s move into physical retail spaces could be proof of the limits to an exclusively e-retail strategy.
According to a series of ads in the New York Post, Casper is currently looking to hire new executives including a director of retail, a director of wholesale and a hospitality partnership manager—among others that indicate a major shift towards brick-and-mortar. This news comes after Casper has run a series of physical pop-up stores over the past year, and signed a limited partnership with West Elm this past summer. This shift in strategy may indicate that, while consumers do like the convenience of online shopping, many of them still want to test the product before they buy. Given the company’s history of creative industry disruption, Casper will surely be one to watch when it comes to the marketing, design and promotion of physical stores.
Select Comfort Looks To The Future As Stock Slides
Despite reports of positive cash flows earlier this year, Select Comfort has hit a bumpy financial road this fall. Last Tuesday, the company saw its stock slide 5.1%—adding to a three-month decline of 17%. While the meager sales numbers seem disheartening, the company has high hopes for a shift in strategy that includes an increased focus on its digital capabilities.
The dip in Select Comfort’s stock came at the tail-end of a heavy promotional cycle that saw the retailer extending major Black Friday promotions through the following weeks. But the uncertainty surrounding the company may have more to do with an across-the-industry drop in consumer confidence during the October month. While the market appears to have regained its footing in the weeks post-election, Select Comfort still has plans to adapt its business model to better connect with today’s consumers. Along with an increased investment in its digital capabilities and tech-based innovation, the retailer has hinted at plans to shift its marketing strategy to tap into the growing consumer interest in wellness. If successful, Select Comfort will serve as a good example of the steps all retailers can take to stay relevant in today's changing marketplace.
Spotlight: How Brick-and-Mortars Compete with Online Retailers
By Andrea Woroch
The results from Cyber Monday's record-breaking sales shouldn't come as much of a surprise -- Cyber Monday has dominated online holiday shopping events for the last few years. What is surprising is how close Black Friday came to being the biggest-ever online sales day, and how relatively quiet the stores were during the purported heaviest shopping day of the year.
An estimated 108.5 million consumers shopped online during Black Friday, spending a total of $3.34 billion, according to Adobe Insights. That's compared to just over 99 million shoppers who went hunting for deals in stores, down three million from 2015. While these numbers are discouraging, brick-and-mortar retailers aren't giving up on the race for sales; here are six ways they're competing with online rivals.
Despite declining foot traffic during Black Friday, in-store only deals, doorbusters and giveaways still tempted millions to cross retail thresholds. This included JCPenney's giveaway of coupons good for $10, $100 or $500 off purchases and Cabela's offer of a rifle, scope and gift cards to the first 600 shoppers through store doors, for example. Expect similar in-store-only deals and promotions throughout the season from an array of retailers designed to draw crowds through their doors.
Four years ago, Best Buy was losing customers to Amazon thanks to showrooming, or the practice of browsing and sampling products in person at local stores and ultimately purchasing from an online retailer for less. However, since Best Buy started price-matching Amazon during the 2012 holiday season (and made the policy permanent in 2013), sales went up and they are once again a competitive player in the electronics industry. Target, Walmart and other big-box stores also price-match Amazon and other online competitors to encourage shoppers to buy products from their stores. Consumers can use apps like ShopSavvy to get instant price comparison when shopping in store.
Shoppers with retail and shopping apps often receive push notifications about deals and sales in their area. These messages are designed to nudge consumers into stores they may not have otherwise visited were it not for the deal alert. For example, the popular Coupon Sherpa app sends notifications to users with available coupons in their area, like 25% off with a JCPenney coupon. The Flipp app pings users when new weekly ads for an array of retailers are posted, and store apps like Target's Cartwheel alerts shoppers to the latest offers.
Enhanced customer service.
A recent survey found that 76% of customers purchase more products based on merchant recommendations and an assisted sale sales gives traditional retailers a huge advantage in certain situations over an online self-service sale. This is why brick and mortar stores have placed emphasis on enhancing their customer service with well-informed sales associates. What's more, consumers appreciate the ability to touch, try and see products in person and more stores are engaging shoppers with product displays. For instance, the "Sony Experience at Best Buy" provides a home theater experience so customers can test, try and see how all the products work together, from entry level HDTVs to premium 4K Ultra HD TVs, sound systems and more.
Easy check out.
One of the most appealing aspects of shopping online is the ease of which you order and pay without having to wait in long lines. Traditional retailers are trying to replicate this experience by introducing new technology that allows shoppers to pay instantly away from the counter. Apple, Home Depot and Nordstrom all use point-of-sale (POS) mobile devices to check out customers from anywhere in the store, eliminating the dreaded check-out line.
It's all about the experience.
Creating an experience for customers -- especially millennials -- is a key focus of retail strategists. Barnes & Noble has had cafes in its stores for year, but in 2017 will expand four stores' eateries and start serving beer and wine to shoppers. Ulta and Sephora host beauty classes to introduce customers to beauty products and techniques (and drive sales). Athletic companies like Lululemon and Athleta provide free classes within their retail shops so students can browse and buy before or after class.
For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com