Branding Feature: Branding Beyond the Products You Sell
To look at this in more human terms, of the 69 percent of U.S. adults that say they regularly shop online, about 16 percent of their purchases occur online. And these numbers will only grow as "digital natives" — i.e., young consumers who have never known a world without computers and mobile devices — hit their prime spending years.
This puts tremendous pressure on marketers trying to remain competitive and relevant. How do retailers build their brand in a post-mall/internet-driven world? How do today's marketers engage and retain their customers when most any consumer can sit on his or her couch at any time of day or night and with a few keystrokes access an almost infinite selection of brands and products at a variety of competitive price points?
Looking at this another way, when once it was considered fashionable to say, "I bought this at Saks or Nordstrom, or that exclusive boutique," it's now more common, and no less fashionable to hear a consumer say, "I found this on Wayfair.com or Amazon.com for next to nothing!" Even the vaunted 1 percent takes a measure of pride in scoring the best deals.
Retailers are fighting back. You'd be hard-pressed today to find one that hasn't established at least a reasonably effective online presence. Sophisticated data mining practices and aggressive discounting have helped slow erosion of their customer bases and improve their customer retention efforts. However, a robust web presence is just the price of entry for the majority of today's retailers.
Creative retail marketers have found new and compelling ways to engage with customers and prospects to create and deepen the brand relationship. In-store events, brand partnerships and relevant content are just a few of the many ways savvy retailers are fighting to stay relevant in the post-mall world.