The holiday season is the time for nostalgia and tradition, and that is the case here at PYMNTS, where even amid our coverage of the newest retail trends, we sometimes get the warm-and-fuzzies. It led us to wonder, going into the heart of the fourth quarter and then into 2020, about the status of that old standby, the retail catalog. Those old-fashioned methods of selling might have more life in the eCommerce age than many assume – thanks in large part, according to experts, to younger consumers’ desire for non-digital shopping experiences and the need for retailers to stand out from the pack. Whatever the reasons, catalogs have seen renewed life in this digital age, and will probably be a source of some innovation going forward into the new decade.
E-commerce has expanded the retail sector’s battlefield to beyond the physical store. While e-commerce has been at the center of retailers’ growth plans, expanding physical shelf space is still crucial to marketers. As someone who used to work in the retail sector, I know that just three feet of additional shelf space can result in 10 percent revenue growth for a marketer.
The war for shelf space is now inextricably linked to the war for digital space. The impact of endcaps in store aisles critically influences and is in turn impacted by the growing range of virtual message extensions outside stores on every consumer’s mobile screen. These messages on screens as well as in store aisles are informed by consumer signals amassed and dissected from parking lots, train stations, airports, gyms and malls. These signals have become invaluable to target an audience at the right place, at the right time, honing in on people’s specific interests and distinct shopping behaviors.
If the key to 21st century marketing success is via the conquest of online-offline integration, then location-based data technology and targeting is the fuel to fight competitively in this expanded retail arena. We will look back in another 10 years and look at the 2020s as the decade when brands primarily bid on location to engage audiences and expand their market shares. It will feel similar to how Google transformed marketing, with the search engine forcing brands to compete on keywords to mark their own brand name territories.