High Street Adapting too Slowly; September Start for Campaigns Results in Higher Sales

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: High Street Adapting too Slowly; September Start for Campaigns Results in Higher Sales; and Grocery App Usage Taking Off.

High Street Adapting too Slowly

High street retailers are failing to offer consumers the same level of convenience and after-sales service as their online competitors, according to research by ParcelLab and YouGov. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of UK adults agree that high street retailers are adapting too slowly.

Among the respondents, the primary frustrations when shopping on the high street included a limited product selection (60%), poor customer service (51%), and having to queue when paying for or returning items (50%). Second only to price, over half of millennials (56% of 18-24-year olds) favoured online-only retailers, due to convenient delivery options.

When asked what high street retailers could do more of, in order to compete with online-only retailers, 60% sought cheaper prices, 40% wanted the ability to trial products in-store; and just under one-third (31%) of consumers expressed interest in exclusive in-store promotional events.

The study shows that post-purchase communication plays an integral part in the customer journey, as consumers demand to be kept up to date once they’ve clicked the ‘buy’ button. Almost three-quarters (67%) say they wanted retailers to send real-time status updates following a purchase, even if it’s news of a delayed delivery. Meanwhile, 16% of consumers wanted to receive follow-up multimedia content such as tutorials and how to make the best use of their product. A further 13% were keen to receive personalised recommendations for add-on or complementary purchases.

September Start for Campaigns Results in Higher Sales

When consumers receive promotional messages in September, they are three-times more likely to buy products and services during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a study by Conversant. The study shows that marketers and advertisers who start their campaigns earlier treble their sales conversion rates compared to those who leave it until November.

According to the research, a planned approach from September also results in more website visits. The number of consumers visiting websites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017 was four-times higher for those messaged consistently from September, resulting in over half (56%) visiting the brand’s websites, compared with just 13% of those consumers who were first messaged in November.

Getting started early has an even greater effect on certain industries. For those marketers working with fashion brands, commencing creative consumer campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in September led to a six-times increase of sales conversion rates and eight-times more website visits in 2017.

The research further revealed that in 2017 there was an increase in the number of consumers seeing adverts on one device and completing their purchase on a second device. Cross-device conversions increased during the Peak Week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday from 29% in 2016 to more than half (57%) in 2017.

Grocery App Usage Taking Off

Grocery apps are some of the fastest-growing apps in the U.S., according to eMarketer’s latest app usage forecast.

This year, 18 million U.S. adults will use a grocery app at least once a month, up 49.6% over last year. By next year, more than one-in-five adult smartphone m-commerce buyers will use a grocery app to order food. 

Robust growth for grocery apps is being fueled by the Amazon/Whole Foods merger and Walmart, which is expanding its grocery delivery from six cities to 100 by the end of the year.

The general food and beverage category (which includes non-perishables) is one of the most under-penetrated within the U.S. e-commerce market. At USD$15bn (£11.65bn), food and beverage retail e-commerce sales will represent just 2.8% of all U.S. e-commerce sales this year.