Marketers Shifting Budgets to Target Omnichannel Shoppers

BY Kathy Crosett
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The latest information from the National Retail Federation (NRF) points to retail sales growth of between 10.5% and 13.5% in 2021. This growth rate will drive consumer spending to more than $4.44 trillion and greatly surpasses the organization’s initial projection of a 6.5% growth rate for the year. General consumer euphoria about vaccination and the end of the pandemic, as well as fiscal stimulus, have spurred the spending, reports NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. After plummeting during the pandemic, consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan, was close to 90% in May 2021. To succeed in this new normal, researchers see marketers shifting budgets to target omnichannel shoppers.

The Power of Omnichannel Commerce

Last year, consumers spent $4.02 trillion. Of that amount. $920 billion, or 23%, was spent through non-​store and online channels. This year, NRF analysts believe that non-​store and online sales will increase by at least 18%. Put another way, non-​store and online sales could account for 24% of total retail spending by the end of the year. (These figures do not count automotive, gas stations or restaurants.)

These stats underscore a growing trend. Consumers are excited about shopping in person again, but they’ll also continue some of their online habits. For example, as inflation moves up prices, 57% consumers will “focus on value over brand,” say marketers who participated in the “Emerging omnichannel marketing strategies in the CPG industry” study published by Blis and WBR Insights. In addition, 51% of marketers believe consumers will split their spending equally between online and in-​store shopping. 

For grocery retailers, the long-​term trend toward more online shopping will continue. It’s not surprising that ecommerce for the grocery sector jumped from 10.4% in 2019 to 12% in 2020. Going forward, the growth rate will occur at a slower pace with online grocery purchases amounting to 12.9% of the total.

Marketers to Target Omnichannel Shoppers

To stay relevant in this booming economy, your clients will need to sharpen their marketing tactics. In general, retailers will take the following steps regarding their marketing:

  • Shift more budget to ecommerce 31%
  • Move budget to in-​store shopping 36%
  • Adjust budget to build brand awareness 25%
  • No changes 8%

One way to draw in-​store traffic is to use location-​based advertising with limited-​time offers. 56% of the retailers participating in the Blis survey already use this tactic. Another 26% will try it in the next 12 months. They’ll also promote the ways in which they’ve improved shopper safety. For example, consumers appreciate retailers that have deployed contactless payment technology. Around 58% of retailers have already installed this feature and 33% more will invest in this technology in the next year. As researchers note, consumers who become aware of a promotion may be tempted to drop into the store, especially when they know they can avoid touching keypads and other payment devices. At least 41% of retailers plan to deploy location-​based promotions, discounts and advertising on mobile devices this year.

Retailers know they can increase revenue from shoppers who order online and pick-​up in the store. 26% of retailers believe that making in-​store or curbside pickup permanent will lead to a deeper connection with their customers. Gil Larsen, managing director of Blis US, reports that “with a heightened focus on cost, value, and convenience, it's never been more important to reach customers with value-​add services, competitive prices, promotions and discounts.” You can help your clients reach Online First Shoppers by studying their AudienceSCAN profile, available at AdMall by SalesFuel.

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