Annual Trends Survey 2013
A move away from online channels and toward physical spaces — e.g., pop-up, outlet and brick-and-mortar stores — to market products is trending for Retail Online integration readers, at least according to this year's Annual Trends Survey. They'll also rely more on television, digital catalogs and social media this year to increase consumer engagement and ultimately grow sales. Their biggest challenge? For the third year in a row, customer acquisition.
For this year's survey, which as in years past focused on cross-channel marketing and promotional integration, we polled all of the Retail Online Integration and ROI Reportsubscribers in January. A total of 224 readers responded.
All About Our Readers
In terms of primary business classification, the majority of our readers identify themselves as brick-and-mortar retailers (33 percent), followed by online merchants (23 percent) and "other" (14 percent), which primarily included retail service providers and consultants.
Much like the findings from last year's survey, Retail Online Integration readers fall into two main types of retail executives: CEOs and high-level marketing professionals. In fact, 40 percent of the respondents are company CEOs and 25 percent are in a marketing position.
The annual revenues for our respondents' companies generally fall into the "less than $1 million" and "$1 million to $4.9 million" range, with 28 percent in the former category, 22 percent in the latter. Nineteen percent of respondents hailed from companies that generated more than $100 million in revenue last year.
Online Channels Decline in Usage
Despite all the talk of today's digitally connected consumers, online marketing channels such as search engine optimization and search engine marketing, display ads, and affiliate programs saw decreases in usage by survey respondents compared to last year. SEO/SEM saw the biggest decline in usage, down from 47.5 percent of respondents in 2012 to just 33.3 percent of respondents in this year's survey; online display ads dropped from 39.2 percent of retailers using them in 2012 to 33.3 percent using them in 2013; and only 22.8 percent of respondents indicated they market via an affiliate program, compared to 27.7 percent who did so last year.
On the flip side — and somewhat surprisingly — physical storefronts appear to be in the midst of a resurgence. Nearly 54 percent of respondents said they market via retail stores, up from 46.7 percent in 2012. Furthermore, the use of pop-up and outlet stores increased this year as well.
Another interesting finding in regards to what marketing channels retailers will be using in 2013 is that television figures to see a more prominent role, with 20.5 percent opting for the medium compared to 16 percent last year. Yet not all visual marketing channels seem to be growing. Retailers use of online video has plateaued for the moment, with 16.8 percent of respondents saying they used it in 2012 compared to just 12.8 percent this year.