Insight from consumers, marketing professionals and industry leaders finds brands are reinventing traditional strategies to be effective for the modern consumer
Alliance Data’s card services business, a premier provider of branded private label, co-brand, and commercial card programs, in conjunction with its Analytics and Insights Institute, released its fifth annual “Now, New, Next” report, which details 10 trends for retailers to watch in 2020 and beyond. Among the report’s key findings are the growing number of mobile apps serving as brand hubs, direct-to-consumer brands leveraging a brick-and-mortar presence in order to achieve scale, and brands crafting an audio identity by using sound-based tactics to reach customers in new ways.
“As we enter a new decade, the stakes are higher than ever for brands to remain competitive and relevant,” said Mary O’Donnell, Chief Marketing Officer for Alliance Data’s card services business. “Consumers expect seamless experiences across all channels, and brands are recognizing the need to cultivate stronger, more personalized relationships with customers.”
The “Now, New, Next” report format examines trends that have achieved widespread use (Now); new strategies that bold brands have implemented as others closely observe and evaluate (New); and concepts being tested by a select few trendsetters that have the potential to influence the industry over the next few years (Next).
The following trends are among those highlighted in the 2020 report:
- NOW: Mobile Apps as the New Brand Hub. At a growing rate, consumers are shifting shopping and spending activities to their mobile devices. In response, brands are strategically building deeper bonds with customers by creating content-rich, “one-stop” mobile apps.
- Yet, many brands are lagging behind as only 41% of surveyed marketers said their brand offers a mobile app and uses it to communicate with customers.
- Of the 18 retailer app features tested by Alliance Data, 16 were rated as “somewhat to very important,” indicating consumers’ high expectation for app functionality.
- NEW: Disrupters Scaling for Growth. To achieve their growth goals, many direct-to-consumer brands that have disrupted traditional retail are now finding ways to “disrupt themselves.” They’re taking a page out of traditional retail’s playbook by creating brick-and-mortar presences in order to test, learn and gain insights through in-person customer engagement. At the same time, some legacy retailers are launching their own direct-to-consumer brands.
- More than one-third of surveyed consumers (38%) would shop a brand more frequently if the brand had a physical store, despite the growing popularity of online-only retailers.
- NEXT: Crafting an Audio Identity. Trendsetters are exploring and testing innovations in audio engagement to reach customers in new ways, including experimentation in sonic logos, branded podcasts, audio augmented reality, and innovation in audio advertising and content — all with the goal of establishing what their brand “sounds like.”
- Seven percent of brands offer voice-based engagement through Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
“As consumer expectations change, retailers must be prepared to implement new models and concepts to maintain relevancy and deepen engagement with customers,” added O’Donnell. “Alliance Data’s report offers actionable ways for retailers to make that happen.”