Retail Predictions: The Need For Brick and Mortar Remains

From AD Club Members Abbie Baehr, SVP, Group Director of Strategy, NA & Global Brands, Momentum Worldwide and Carly Johnson, Director of Strategy, NA, Momentum Worldwide

How do you think stores/brands will entice consumers on Black Friday this year?

Obviously, we anticipate mass discounts and deals, but for the brands and retailers who choose this approach, we wonder if it’s the right message to send to consumers. We’ve found through our own proprietary research that 72% of people globally have found that their buying behavior has changed, and that they are really enjoying an uncoupling from constant consumption, leaning into being able to do more with less, and focusing on quality over quantity—which includes quality time over the quantity of “stuff” purchased.

To that end, we believe the brands and retailers who take a culturally astute stance on leading with purpose during these traditionally frenzied periods will fair best in terms of preference in the long term, for instance, Walmart closing on Thanksgiving this year, ending a long tradition of starting Black Friday early and allowing their associates to spend quality time with their families during the holiday. They might lose a few dollars from one day, but these brands will more than make up for it through shopping preference throughout the year.

How can stores/brands put more emphasis on Cyber Monday this year given the COVID-19 restrictions? 

The nearly universal adoption of online shopping is a clear indication that Cyber Monday will play a huge role in shoppers’ holiday shopping. There frankly won’t need to be as much of an emphasis from retailers because shopper behavior has already shifted toward the online environment, especially when it comes to shopping and researching deals.

It’s important to recognize that shoppers are extending this holiday season to spread out the financial burden as well as mitigate any risk of not receiving orders on time. Our research indicates that the vast majority took advantage of Prime Day in mid-October, and nearly 60% of shoppers stated that they started their holiday shopping even prior to that. 

The brands and retailers that can offer guaranteed delivery or alternative order fulfillment through BOPIS will be the winners this holiday season.

How can stores/brands make shopping online more easy, accessible and user friendly for holiday shopping this year?

As the world adapts to this ever-changing landscape one thing will be clear, and it’s that the brands and retailers who remain agile will come out the other side successful. Seamlessly translating in-store behaviors to the online environment and replicating that experience for shoppers will meet their needs and wants before they can even articulate them. This is especially true for both mobile and social where we’ve seen a dramatic uptick in both purchases and usage as shoppers have happily adapted to their new ways of shopping.

This year, more than ever, shoppers want the holidays to be special. And while the majority are investing more time and effort into their holiday plans, they’re also expecting more out of brands in return. Personalization and convenience will become significantly more valuable this season as shoppers look for ways to elevate the season and check things off their lists.

What kind of deals/offerings do you imagine larger corporations like Amazon and Walmart will have in store for this year?

We don’t foresee much change in terms of major retailer programming, but we are seeing a significant adoption of deal-finder browser plugins, and we would imagine that a more organized collaboration between the likes of Amazon or Walmart with companies like Honey, Rakuten or RetailMeNot is very much in the cards, not just for the existing user base, but the extensive user data these companies collect. 

We see a much larger shift coming next year between shoppers and retail corporations. From our global shopper survey, we saw a massive demand (71% of all respondents) from shoppers for more human interaction in-store. But, more fundamentally, people are craving human interaction at-large after months of being isolated. Stores have always played a role as a communing space, and people still expect this of them. 

If retailers can start to deliver on ways to fulfil this desire for community and connection beyond that of the transactional experience, there is much to be gained.

Walmart has done a phenomenal job of recognizing its role in the community through this pandemic, most notably in the delivery of the Walmart Drive-Thru program, which turned parking lots in to communal drive-in movie theatres. We believe this shift is just the beginning of how major corporations recognize and react to their broader role in the community, and will have a significant impact on how their businesses fare post-pandemic.

Co-authored by

Abbie Baehr, SVP, Group Director of Strategy, NA & Global Brands, Momentum Worldwide. Abbie oversees strategic development globally and across North America. Working with clients like Verizon, American Express, SAP, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Samsung and Bacardi, she drives brands to create successful and effective omnichannel experiences through multiple strategic disciplines.  

Carly Johnson, Director of Strategy, NA, Momentum Worldwide. Carly leads the strategy team for a number of Momentum’s Shopper Marketing clients. Throughout her seven-year tenure with Momentum, she has built a reputation for developing thoughtful, insight-based strategies for brands like P&G, Coca-Cola, Chobani, Energizer, Bacardi, Constellation brands, Walmart and Samsung.