Retailers Are Trying to Cope With Online Threat: Report


Retailers Are Trying to Cope With Online Threat: Report


by Ray Schultz , January 16, 2018


Retailers are testing email as part of an effort to fend off online competition. But that’s only one of many things they are trying, according to a study by Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), released at NRF 18.


The report shows that email marketing was tested in the past year by 52% of retailers, compared to direct or shared mail (55%) and in-store signage (55%).


Also tested were paid-search ads (21%), mobile marketing (18%), social media (18%), display ads (18%), ads on music streaming services (15%), ads on video streaming services (!5%) and new mobile apps (9%).


Retailers clearly have to improve their game. Of those polled, 63% cite the growth of online competition as their biggest threat this year. Overall, firms estimate they have lost 14% in market share to online platforms.


Even worse is changing consumer preferences, listed as a threat by 68%.


According to the study, 39% predict that competitive pressures will grow over the next five years, and that the e-commerce threat will grow by 39%.


How are they responding to the growing online threat?




  • Increased focus on in-store experience
  • Placing greater emphasis on associate expertise
  • Matching prices and pricing competitively
  • Refining fulfillment strategies and services
  • Enhancing mobile capabilities and online stores
  • Leveraging marketing channels
  • Offering click-and-collect order options
  • Offering larger online assortments
  • Offering promotions such as flash sales

Personalization is being tested but not by everyone. The report found that 67% are trying out non-personalized promotions, 30% are doing personalized promos, and 27% are making credit-card linked offers.


Also being used to a lesser extent are shipping offers (15%), loyalty program introductions (15%) and gift cards or cash cards (12%).


Of the retailers polled, 59% specify personalizing offers and promotions is a top strategic priority. And 46% say the same thing about increasing their digital presence.


Here are some other strategic priorities:



  • Introducing new products — 39% 
  • Focusing on ‘shoppability’ — 37%
  • Launching a new mobile app — 10% 
  • Personalizing web ages — 7% 
  • Offering digital payments — 5%

Despite reports of retail apocalypse, 39% of those polled are adding to their staffs, suggesting that they are focusing more on customer service. But 30% are reducing staff. In addition, 30% are making compensation and incentive changes.


APT concludes: As brick-and-mortar retailers are confronted with uncertainty as the industry continues to change, testing new ideas will ensure they make the right investments to maintain market share, ultimately driving loyalty, satisfaction and profits.”


MediaPost.com: Search Marketing Daily

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