Categories
Audience Direct-To-Consumer Insights

A couple of years ago, marketers assumed innovation within the digital landscape had started to mature and slow. Cue the disruption of the global pandemic and the way retailers needed to pivot to adapt to rapidly changing behavior. Vaccines now offer some relief, and most economic sectors appear to have started healing. At the same time, innovative tech keeps surprising the market, plus some changes to consumer preferences seem permanent.

As always, marketers need to make plans. As a top Florida marketing agency, we’ve based our plans upon these likely forecasts for 2022 marketing trends. 

1. A resurgence of Out-of-home and direct mail advertising

Social media platforms may not retain their place as the hottest topics in marketing as some renovated versions of traditional advertising begin to enjoy more attention. For instance: 

  • Outdoor signs might exist as one of the oldest forms of advertising in the entire world, but new digital signs have emerged to give new life to this effective form of outdoor advertising. 
  • As marketers respond to pandemic-related mail slowdowns, they’re not giving up on direct mail. Instead, businesses have turned to technology for automation and optimization as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy. 

2. Changing viewer preferences

More people now subscribe to various streaming services than subscribe to cable packages. Marketers also enjoy connected TV because the advertising platforms offer them better analytics and more precision when targeting audiences.

3. A greater focus on packaging design 

Packaging design will gain importance as businesses strive to gain attention from consumers on retail shelves and in eCommerce photos. Marketers understand that their packaging often offers a consumer’s first exposure to a product, so they will continue to create bolder designs that evoke emotion and tell a story. Also, expect more companies to turn to eco-friendly packaging to attract customers and meet sustainability goals. 

Both packaging and product designers will court customers with trending colors. For instance, Benjamin Moore Paints declared October Mist, a silver-gray color, their Color of the Year for 2022. Behr and Sherwin Williams offer very similar colors, supposedly evoking nature and peace. As a complementary color, they suggested a green-gray color, sometimes called Sage. 

5. An overall focus on nature and sustainability 

As part of continuing marketing trends for 2022, products will emphasize nature for relaxation, health, and sustainability. As a consumer insights agency, we worked with a DTC brand called Luma & Leaf to raise awareness of their plant-powered, gentle, and effective beauty products. Our Luma & Leaf case study describes our continuing work with this brand. 

6. An appeal to the next generation of pet parents 

The ASPCA reported a record of 25 million pet adoptions during the coronavirus pandemic. Even better, the ASPCA said that 90 percent of dogs and 85 percent of cats still live in these adopted homes. More than that, most of these new pet parents strive to incorporate their pets into their lifestyles, and they’re treating their furry new family members a lot more like family than people used to consider normal. 

As an example, PetCo has operated a national chain of pet stores since 1965. The company recently rebranded itself as “Petco: A Heath + Wellness Co.” As part of this effort, the company announced that it would no longer sell shock collars. The company’s CEO, Ron Coughlin, said that studies have demonstrated that these collars increase stress in pets, and training with positive reinforcement works better. 

7. Awareness of intelligent, thoughtful consumers 

Websites, social networks, and other internet platforms offer consumers the tools to learn more about brands and how they conduct business. In turn, these savvy consumers want to give money to companies that support goals in alignment with their values. Today’s consumers don’t care to hear typical sales talk and want facts to back up assertions.

Almost everybody has endured experiences that made them more aware of ways the environment will impact their health, well-being, and pocketbooks, so they expect businesses to minimize or even eliminate their product’s negative environmental impacts. 

8. Exploration of socially distanced brand experiences

First, the pandemic closed retail stores. After they reopened, many consumers still felt reluctant to mingle in crowds. Others grew used to the convenience of online shopping experiences. In turn, marketers have explored creating connections and meaningful brand experiences with low- and high-tech methods. 

For instance: 

  • For a low-tech experience, restaurants and grocery stores have held take-out parties and drive-up demos in their parking lots. 
  • For medium-tech, eCommerce sites have doubled down on the quality and quality of images and videos on product pages. 
  • Emerging technology introduced both augmented reality and virtual reality to let customers better imagine their experiences. For example, some businesses have employed AR in their apps to allow customers to upload a photo of their living room to see how a new sofa might look in real life. According to The Verge, companies have also started testing ads in VR apps for devices like the Oculus Quest. 

Work with us to navigate marketing in 2022 

As a Florida marketing agency, we make it our business to stay on top of the latest marketing trends. Contact us at Bigeye by phone or email to tell us about your business ideas, and we’ll explain how we will help.

Categories
Direct-To-Consumer Insights

Most retailers rely on the holiday season to bring in peak sales numbers. This year, supply chain problems, invigorated consumer demand, and new shopping behaviors have already impacted holiday shopping. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, online and offline retail outlets will experience a challenging holiday sales season this year. Find out what to expect for 2021 holiday shopping and how to turn this gift-buying period into the merriest holiday sales season yet. 

Naturally, each retailer’s experience with holiday sales may depend upon their market niche or location. Still, these overall consumer trends should impact most local and online sellers. 

Pent-up demand from consumers 

On the plus side, the National Retail Foundation predicted a record sales season in 2021. The NRF’s Retail trend forecast takes into account an enormous pent-up demand from consumers. Many people budgeted carefully during the pandemic because of uncertainty about the future. 

Today, vaccines, labor demand, and stimulus checks should reinvigorate shopping. The NRF expects holiday sales to total between $843 and $859 billion, and these figures represent growth between 8.5 and 10.5 percent since the holiday season of 2020. 

Start sales early

Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday, marked the start of holiday deals in physical stores. Cyber Monday would fall after Thanksgiving weekend, and it gave online retailers a chance to gain more attention. Lately, the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday have begun to blur as more large retailers aligned online and offline sales to pursue an omnichannel marketing approach. 

This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday may mean even less. Just about every large retailer started their sales early. For instance, Target has a Holiday Savings Event that runs through Thanksgiving, Amazon will have Epic Daily Deals, Walmart calls their sale Black Friday Deals for Days, and so on. 

Why do stores want to encourage early shopping? These retailers expect a significantly increased demand but fear that they may experience supply chain issues that keep them from satisfying all customers. Thus, offline and online stores want to hold early sales to help encourage shoppers to get a head start. Also, the post office has posted warnings about delivery delays, so consumers should order early to make sure gifts arrive on time. 

Expect more conscious consumers

Even though many consumers have their balance sheets in good order, they will still exercise more caution about the way they spend money. To support this observation, Forbes reporting on the PwC’s 2021 Consumer Insights survey uncovered that today’s consumers base buying decisions on more than convenience and price. 

For some examples: 

  • Plant-based food sales increased 27 percent, organic food sales by 12 percent, and nutritional supplements by 35 percent in 2020. 
  • Two-thirds of Americans say they will pay more for sustainable products. Over three-quarters say they will feel more inclined to purchase eco-friendly products if they’re clearly labeled. 

On the theme of increased sustainability, more people find regifting acceptable, just so the re-giver follows some commonsense rules. For instance, a crafty friend might consider a regifted craft store gift card thoughtful so long as the card still retains the original balance and not some odd amount. Similarly, unless they’re sentimental treasures or antiques, only offer new, packaged products as gifts.

Anyway, retailers should not mind this thrifty practice so long as it reduces the number of cumbersome returns. Some businesses even promote services that make regifting gift cards easy. 

How can retailers make the most of holiday marketing this year?

Increased demand can help retailers thrive and may look like a great problem to have. On the other hand, supply chain issues can generate issues because even the biggest retail sites and stores fear they can’t satisfy all of their potential customers. Maybe even worse, shipping delays will probably result in plenty of late gift deliveries. 

Leaving customers dissatisfied or disgruntled can detract from hard-won brand images and encourage people to shop elsewhere the next time. Few customers will feel satisfied if their Christmas gifts don’t arrive by December 25 if the store had promised an earlier delivery. More than a few of them will probably vent their dissatisfaction on social media or review sites. 

Communicate honestly and promote early holiday shopping. 

Stores need to confront this common issue by letting customers know about possible shortages and encouraging them to shop early. For example: 

  • Communicate transparently: By now, almost all consumers have already experienced some supply chain issues. As an example, few people have entirely forgotten last year’s panic over toilet paper shortages. Retailers should encourage customers to shop early and, more than that, tell customers about the possibility of delays or low inventories. 
  • Promote early shopping: Heavily promote special sales and create a genuine sense of urgency by telling people about a limited stock. To better encourage quicker purchases of big-ticket items, consider buy-now-pay-later options. For example, Shopify offers a product called Shop Pay that can allow customers to split the bill into four payments without impacting credit scores. Shopify says that this alternative has increased store conversions by as much as 50 percent. 

Work with a retail marketing agency to maximize your holiday profits.

As a retail marketing agency, Bigeye merges genuine consumer insights with creativity to reach more customers right when they’re ready to hear your business story. Contact Bigeye for a chance to view your marketplace in a new light. 

Categories
Insights Real Estate

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes The Mile High City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Denver Research Report to review all of the details.

Denver: Fast Facts

Denver is the 18th most-populous city in the US, the second largest city by area and the largest city in Colorado, followed by Colorado Springs and Aurora. It is also the nineteenth-largest metropolitan area in the nation and is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver is currently growing at a rate of 1.5% annually and reached its highest population of 749,103 in 2021. The current metro area population of Denver in 2021 is 2,862,000, a 1.2% increase from 2020. The cosmopolitan city of Denver serves as both the state capital and the state’s biggest city.  Nearly 30 people move to the Denver area every day.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of around 295,000, the median age in Denver is 37 years. In the Denver metro area, 49% of people over 25 have at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

The local government has been committed to investing in transforming the city into a tech hub, and it shows. There’s an entire ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs, and the business scene also feels more diverse because tech isn’t the only booming industry. In fact, Colorado has the sixth-highest concentration of creatives in the US, giving startups and major companies access to a diverse talent pool. 

Denver’s tech-talent labor pool is the 12th largest nationally at 113,270 workers, which amounts to 6.7% of the overall Denver workforce, significantly higher than the national average of 3.7%. The city has the fifth fastest-growing tech labor pool in North America. Over the past five years, Denver added 28,230 tech jobs.

There’s a lot of ethnic diversity. It really depends where you live. Denver tends to be less socially stratified than other cities that have distinctly black neighborhoods or distinctly hispanic neighborhoods. You’ll find a lot of Black people in areas like Five Points, Clayton, Montbello, and Aurora. There’s a lot of Hispanic people in my neighborhood (Baker) and extending further west into Lakewood. Also: Aurora.

Baker M

Denver Neighborhoods

Downtown Denver – This area has Denver’s most metropolitan feel — bustling streets, lots of pedestrians, mostly high-rise buildings — and is outlined by North Broadway, Park Ave West, Speer Boulevard, Colfax Ave, and the South Platte River. Depending on the vibe you’re looking for, you’ll have to choose between downtown’s Central Business District (CBD) or Lower Downtown aka LoDo. The CBD is more of a business hub, bustling during business hours but not as hip and happening as LoDo in the evening.LoDo is where to go to experience the action of Denver’s best: bars, restaurants, nightlife, and sites like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Coors Field, and Commons Park. This area is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want a car, has an active social life, and wants the bulk of what the city has to offer right at their doorstep.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood, or Cap Hill if you’re a local, is downtown adjacent and picks up at the Colorado Capitol Building where the CBD stops. Cap Hill is full of life with its vibrant arts and culture scene. In this ‘hood you’ll get six museums (including the Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum), tons of galleries, and the Curious Theater Company as your performing arts space. You’ll also find a range of global cuisine restaurants from casual to fine dining, breweries, cocktail bars, and clubs. This is a neighborhood for people and personalities who like to brunch. 

Cherry Creek is one of Denver’s more upscale neighborhoods. Apartment buildings are elegant and new. Most are within walking distance to high-end shopping and dining. Construction has been a constant in this neighborhood for the past few years as interest in the area continues to grow. There’s plenty of access to public transportation. Whole Foods and the Cherry Creek Mall are within walking distance of most housing.

One of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, Five Points, boasts a diverse history, it’s roots dating back to pre-Capitol Hill era. Five Points is known to locals for its vast, multicultural history, marks of which can still be seen in the neighborhood’s businesses. Previously known for a short time as “Harlem of the West”, Five Points played host to many famous African-American jazz musicians. Efforts to renew and revitalize the area are well underway, making Five Points one of Denver’s most treasured neighborhoods.

Platt Park: this quaint, historic neighborhood feels like a small town with its summertime farmer’s markets and charming main drag, Old South Pearl Street. Trolley tracks from days gone peek their way through the asphalt. Homes are quiet bungalows popular with first-time home buyers, the neighborhood bridges the gap between historical and modern. Is its own cozy district that will feel like home immediately. At the turn of the 20th century, this neighborhood was its own city, separate from Denver. This gives Platt Park its vintage feel, as most establishments choose to carefully renovate rather than tear down and rebuild.

While smaller than a typical ‘college town’, University Park’s proximity to the University of Denver drives much of its unique energy. Weekend nights are busy and there are plenty of dive bars to quench your thirst at. Sometimes referred to as The DU neighborhood, this area offers a wide variety of rentals— and doesn’t fit any one stereotype. University Park is a fun, lively place to call home. This quaint neighborhood in Denver is full of eager students and historical architecture. While DU campus is close by, all walks of life live in this charming area. With plenty of green space to roam around in and watering holes to try trendy cocktails at, there is never a shortage of fun things to do.

Famous for its namesake, the neighborhood of Washington Park is a gorgeous and pricey spot to call home. The 155-acre park serves as the neighborhood’s epicenter and is lined by beautiful historic and modern homes. People from all walks of life call Wash Park home and you’re sure to make friends at any of the pick up games this summer. With its namesake park and Cherry Creek Trail a short walk away, the Wash Park neighborhood provides an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. Local restaurants line the streets of this energetic neighborhood and provide a welcoming introduction into one of the most popular areas in Denver. You’ll find residents and their dogs taking a morning stroll down tree-lined streets or grabbing a warm coffee at any of the locally owned cafes that are sprinkled throughout this neighborhood.

This little slice of heaven has everything one could wish for. Situated near Baker’s burgeoning arts district and just north of a myriad of vintage shops, South Broadway is a great place for music lovers and foodies. South Broadway is home to many of Denver’s greatest dive bars and some of the best music venues in the city. The residential streets remain relatively quiet and provide ample space for after work strolls with the pooch. This vibrant area is widely recognized for its colorful storefronts, hip restaurants, and music venues that line Broadway street. No matter where you draw the line, this eccentric collection of dive bars, galleries, hole-in-the-wall pizza joints, and vintage stores gives Denver a healthy dose of cool.

Uptown offers residents a break from the 16th Street Mall and the city’s bustle, while still situated on major bus routes only a stone’s throw from downtown. Professionals and commuters alike spend their time on 17th dining at Uptown’s unique, moderately priced restaurants. Beautiful churches, historic brick row houses, and modern apartment buildings form the amalgam that is Uptown. Uptown is an extremely eclectic neighborhood. Walk through the tree-lined streets and you’ll see a mix of Victorian homes and modern loft apartments. This area shares many qualities with Cap Hill and City Park West, but is located closer to the bustle of Downtown. If you’re looking for a community feel, but still want to be near urban conveniences, Uptown is for you.

Harvey Park is located in Southwest Denver and is bounded by South Sheridan, Hampden, Lowell, and Jewell. Built in the 1950’s, it’s known for its selection of some of Denver’s best mid-century modern architecture. Cliff May-style California Contemporary homes fill the neighborhoods’ quiet, suburban-like streets.

Sunnyside is located in Northwest Denver, Sunnyside is bounded by I70, 38th, Federal, and I25. It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood near trendy Tennyson and is already pretty well discovered, yet still in transition. It’s easy to take a bike ride or a walk downtown, and there is easy access to get out of town. Trendy coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and home goods stores are starting to pop up everywhere.

Best part about living in Denver is living close to the center of town. There are a lot of neighborhoods to accommodate different income levels, but each is safe (police-wise) and welcoming. The suburbs are not the same. The city is pretty safe. A lot of people here like the city for its proximity to the mountains and a plethora of outdoor physical activities. It’s also a city of a predominately high percentage of educated population. So, you won’t find a lot of conservatives, overall.

Logan F

Doing Business in Denver

Denver, Colorado was named sixth on Forbes Magazine’s “Best Places for Business and Careers”.  Due to its proximity to the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains, Denver has long been a home for mining and energy companies. 

Key Industries: Aerospace and Aviation, Broadcast and Telecommunications, Healthcare and Wellness, Financial Services, Bioscience, Energy, and IT-Software

Major Employers: Denver Health, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo Bank, Children’s Hospital Colorado, CenturyLink, Ball Corporation

Major Tech Companies with Offices in Seattle: HomeAdvisor, Vantiv, Zayo Group, CA Technologies, BiggerPockets, TrackVia, Convercent, Havenly

Major Financial Services and Insurance Companies with Offices in Denver: Janus Capital Group, JD Edwards, Western Union, Charles Schwab, First Data Corp., Lockton Companies, IMA Inc., Hub International Insurance Services Inc., IMA, Denver West Insurance Brokers

Denver offers a chance to build sustainably successful businesses outside the confines of Silicon Valley or New York City. In fact, analytics company Palantir is one of the latest tech firms to leave Silicon Valley for a new headquarters in Denver, citing the Denver area as a better cultural fit.

Cost of Living in Denver

Cost of living in Denver is 12% higher than the national average

  • Denver’s housing expenses are 34% higher than the national average 
  • Utility prices are 6% lower than the national average
  • Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 6% higher than the national average. 
  • Denver has grocery prices that are 2% lower than the national average.
  • Healthcare in Denver is 5% higher than the national average.

Median Household Income of $68,377

Denver Apartment Living

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending the US’s rental market, with prices dropping in large, expensive cities but rising in typically more affordable locations, a report from Apartment List found. This trend can be seen in Colorado where Denver’s rental market is dipping while the markets in nearby cities such as Aurora and Colorado Springs are on the up. The city’s rent prices have decreased even more consistently. Denver’s average apartment rent has lowered each month since March 2020, going from a 1.3% increase compared to January to a 4.4% decrease by November.

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment decreased by -2% to $1,390 and for a 2-bedroom apartment in Denver decreased by -3% to $1,940.

The March 2021 Rent Report from Apartment List reveals that in February, the most recent period for which data is available, the average rent in Denver increased 0.9 percent over the previous month.

Renters will find more reasonable prices in Denver than most large cities. For example, Los Angeles has a median 2BR rent of $4,596, which is nearly twice the price in Denver.

A Denver start-up is trying to make the home rental market work better for both landlords and tenants. With Nomad, property owners sign up for a one-, two-, or three-year contract, and Nomad guarantees rent every month for the duration of the contract. Nomad charges a fee to cover their own risk. Nomad also hopes to provide a smoother transition for tenants. Nomad renters can move between Nomad properties with no penalty for breaking a lease. 

What Denver Renters Want

Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property:

  • Work from home spaces
  • High-speed internet 
  • Walk-in closet  
  • Soundproof walls
  • Private parking
  • Fitness Center
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Roof decks and gardens

Most of the good work is going to come from The Denver Tech Center in the Englewood and Centennial area; South of Denver. That’s where I live now. While I work from home for a company based in the D.C. area, I still like to keep close to this part of town in case my situation changes. There’s some good companies down here with (almost) fair salaries. The other big one would be downtown, but I try to steer clear of that area. Most of the jobs I’ve seen downtown are for law firms and financial institutes… Really not my thing, but that’s just me.

Amy G

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Denver

Denver and the neighboring Rocky Mountains are overflowing with outdoor activities like cycling, running, white water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and more. From spring through summer, weekends in Denver are filled with great festivals featuring arts, entertainment, food and more.

From fun fall festivals to holiday weekend celebrations, Denver’s calendar is always packed with great events and activities. Whether you are planning a long romantic weekend for Valentine’s Day or looking for free fall activities, Denver has something for you.

The Denver Chalk Art Festival features more than 200 professional and amateur artists who will spend hours on their hands and knees over the course of two days every summer. Their efforts transform Larimer Square into a bright and colorful street museum, adorned in vivid pastel chalks.

The River North Art District “where art is made” goes by the nickname of “RiNo” and has even adopted a rhino design for its official logo, so look for creative rhinos in art and signage all around the neighborhood! The district’s interesting blend of urban charm and unique industrial revival makes it a great destination for visitors. Historic warehouses and factories now house jazz bars, restaurants, brewpubs, art galleries and working studios. 

Colorado has one of the most colorful railroad histories in the world. Following the discovery of gold and silver in the Rockies, railroad lines were pushed up nearly every canyon and high pass, making them the lifeline of every mining camp and community in the state. The Colorado Railroad Museum is housed in a replica of an 1880-style masonry depot, filled with 50,000 rare old photographs and artifacts. Outside on 12 acres of sprawling grounds are more than 50 narrow- and standard-gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock. The Denver Trolley  is a replica of an open-air “Seeing Denver” streetcar operated by the Denver Tramway Company in the pre-World War I era. The Georgetown Loop Railroad  is a reconstruction of one of Colorado’s most famous railroads.

Denver is home to six professional sports teams 

  • Colorado Rockies (MLB)
  • Denver Broncos (NFL)
  • Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
  • Colorado Rapids (MLS)
  • Colorado Mammoth (NLL)
  • Denver Nuggets (NBA)

Sports fans have plenty of attractions to visit in Denver. “Behind the Seams” tours of Coors Field provide a behind-the-scenes look at one of the premier ballparks in Major League Baseball. Fans can also visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, a free museum honoring Colorado sports legends. Ball Arena is where the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoth call home. Tours of this arena show how the venue converts from hockey ice to basketball court, and gives backstage access to where the big names in music have performed. The National Ballpark Museum is recognized as one of the finest baseball collections in the world. Personalized tours include a tribute to Colorado baseball history, seats from the classic ballparks, one-of-a-kind baseball artifacts, and autographed jerseys, baseballs, uniforms and bats.

Read the full research report: Denver, CO. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.


Categories
Audience Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Market Intelligence Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

As a leading consumer insights agency, we conducted research about what consumers look for when shopping in our latest study: Retail Disrupted: What US Shoppers Want From Brands Today. We’ve uncovered timely retail trends that can help you provide unforgettable shopping experiences for customers that will entice them back into physical stores.

As we noted before in previous articles, the coronavirus pandemic spiked growth in an already-existing trend towards the rise of digital sales. Consumers discovered the convenience and savings they could enjoy by ordering online and getting deliveries at their front doors. 

For example, digitally native DTC brands often replace traditional retailers by attracting and engaging customers with emerging technologies. Even as life slowly returns to a more normal state, digital sales keep increasing. Consider five retail trends that retailers can use to benefit their businesses. 

1. Social shopping 

Retailers encourage customers and influencers to share their experiences with products on social networking sites. These sellers engage new customers by creating a shared experience online. According to Bigeye’s research report Retail Disrupted, almost nine out of ten consumers admit to making purchases because of an introduction to the product by an influencer on social media. Even more, social commerce has emerged as a primary source of leads for DTC brands. 

Popular social networks for social shopping include Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok. At the same time, almost all sites with a social aspect, like YouTube and Reddit, support this kind of social sharing for products. 

2. Augmented Reality shopping apps 

AR shopping apps from Home Depot, Target, and IKEA can show consumers how a sofa will look in their living room. The Sephora and Amazon apps let customers see how various lipstick shades and eyeshadow colors will complement their skin tones. Customers can use these apps to make better at-home or in-store shopping choices. Most consumers believe that within 10 years, shopping will involve more interfacing with technology than human salespeople. 

3. DTC subscriptions 

Digital marketing opened up a direct pathway to consumers. By bypassing retailers and other intermediaries, DTC businesses can improve profits while keeping prices competitive. Retail Disrupted revealed that 72% of hispanic shoppers have purchased from a DTC brand in the past six months.

Subscriptions offer customers convenience and savings, and they help drive retention for brands. Also, brands don’t have to sacrifice other distribution modes to benefit from DTC sales. Some brands originated as digital natives and expanded to retailers. In contrast, legacy companies began focusing on direct selling after only working through distributors and retailers for years. 

4. Socially conscious consumerism 

Almost forty percent of shoppers engage in conscious consumerism. Socially conscious consumerism refers to purchase decisions with positive impacts upon the environment, society, or economy. Some common examples of conscious consumerism might include buying clothes and accessories at thrift stores, donating items to charities, and purchasing products from stores specializing in pre-owned and vintage clothing. 

In these cases, people choose sustainable purchases that may also offer a chance to save money. In other cases, shoppers might choose new products with more eco-friendly packaging and eco-safe ingredients. 

5. Physical retail stores of the future 

Digital technology will not just impact online shopping but also in-store experiences. Improvements in retail tech can help attract shoppers back to stores and make physical shops more efficient to run. For example: 

  • Over 30 percent of shoppers feel that entertainment or other in-store experiences would entice them to visit a local store. 
  • Almost as many people sit at the other end of the scale and prefer stores like Amazon Go or Apple store that let them choose items, pay with an app, and leave without needing to visit a checkout line at all. 

Many discount, drug, and grocery stores already rely on self-checkout lines that can speed up checkout time and reduce the number of cashiers needed. Some shoppers prefer these, but others find them awkward to use when they have bulky, awkward, or unusual purchases. Perhaps this represents a transitional phase with better solutions for automated checkout on the horizon. 

How a retail marketing agency benefits retail clients and consumers 

Now more than ever, retailers need to adopt a customer-focused marketing plan. Retailers can’t only focus on delivering the best products, but they also must provide these products in a way that customers prefer. The solutions involve adding effective enticements to get shoppers to visit their offline or online stores. 

Technology may help make purchases socially conscious, cheaper, convenient, or even more fun. At the same time, innovation can help businesses operate more efficiently. A consumer insights agency will spot the retail trends that help their customers achieve these goals for their unique businesses.

Download Retail Disrupted: What Shoppers Want from Brands Today for more insights.

Categories
Audience Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Market Intelligence Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

As a consumer insights agency, we employ a number of quantitative and qualitative research methods to help our clients make data-driven decisions. We find that DTC and CPG brands often fail to spend much time researching product pricing. These businesses generally fall into two camps: 

  • Some companies want to set prices very low to beat the competition. This strategy often backfires because consumers may think a too-low-to-be-true price signals poor quality. Sometimes, low prices may encourage lots of sales, but they might not generate enough revenue to offset costs and sustain business growth. 
  • Prices set too high may discourage consumers who don’t believe the product’s value justifies the cost. That’s particularly true if consumers can easily find the same or similar products elsewhere. 

How to use the Van Westendorp Index to find the right price 

For our work as a quantitative marketing research agency, we often organize surveys or focus groups to gather useful data for setting prices. One of the marketing research techniques we rely on, the Van Westendorp Index, narrows down the price customers would willingly pay to a range. 

Also called the Price Sensitivity Model, the Van Westendorp Index starts with a set of four survey questions

  • Which low price might make you question the product’s quality?
  • Which price would make you consider the product a bargain?
  • Which higher price might make it begin to appear expensive?
  • Which higher price would discourage you from buying because of the cost?

Conjoint.ly develops analysis tools for marketing research. According to the Conjoint.ly blog, samples should include a minimum of 200 survey takers. That helps ensure statistically significant results. Ideally, marketers should either survey current customers or members of the likely target market. Consumers who would actually consider buying the product can offer better answers than random people. 

To analyze the data: 

  • Plot the answers for each question on a graph. 
  • Marketing research analysts refer to the intersection of the “question quality” and “too expensive” lines as the optimum price point, or OPP. 
  • Test the OPP and values around it to derive the real-world optimum price. 

Example of employing the Van Westendorp Model for Luma & Leaf 

luma and leaf products

We served as a consumer marketing agency for Luma & Leaf, a DTC natural skincare brand. We employed qualitative and quantitative research techniques to find answers to a range of questions, including packaging, brand messaging, and introductory price points. 

Luma & Leaf manufactures products with high-quality, clean, and sustainably sourced ingredients. After completing the surveys and analysis, the company successfully positioned itself as a mid-level skincare brand. Their product’s quality and prices appeal to consumers who would pay somewhat more for quality but still would not budget for the most expensive brands. 

The company could differentiate its products from cheap drugstore brands because of the sustainability, purity, and quality of ingredients, so consumers would pay somewhat more. At the same time, they set prices much lower than luxury brands to ensure they didn’t price themselves out of their target market. 

Benefits of the Van Westendorp Pricing Model

Rebecca Sadwick works as a consultant for businesses about growth strategies. According to Ms. Sadwick, marketers used to introduce a product and ask customers how much they would pay for it. This method never worked well because: 

  • Studies found that survey takers tended to offer low-ball answers as if they wanted to bargain with the business for a better deal. 
  • Also, many people taking surveys can’t answer the question well because they don’t actually have skin in the game—emotion factors into most buying decisions. 

The indirect series of questions about prices tend to produce better answers. Nobody can say exactly how much they will pay for a product at some point in the future. In fact, most shoppers would probably have a range of prices in mind and not one specific price. Survey takers can do a better job of estimating which price points they would find too-good-to-be-true, great deals, and prohibitively expensive.

How should companies use the Van Westendorp Model to set prices?

Even when a consumer insights agency offers a better way to estimate optimum price points by using the Van Westendorp Model, businesses should still test prices to find the real-world optimum. As with the example of Luma & Leaf, marketers should also understand the reasons for specific prices, such as the advantages the product offers over cheaper competitors. 

Mostly, eCommerce businesses need to set prices high enough to earn revenues that will cover costs and return a decent profit but not so high that they discourage their target market. Marketers can use this kind of quantitative analysis when it’s time to set prices. Ideally, they will also conduct surveys while they’re still planning the product to ensure their sales will support business goals.

Categories
Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Website Development

As a Shopify development agency, we develop and enhance Shopify eCommerce stores for our DTC clients. Plugins give us an efficient way to customize our clients’ experiences and those of their customers. This customization translates into increased revenue and efficiency, equaling greater profits.

Shopify plugins make it easy for us to fully customize eCommerce websites for our clients, depending on their specific needs. They also give us the tools we need to easily implement new features that keep customers engaged with the brands. No matter what solution we’re searching for, we can typically find an app that does exactly what we need it to, which in turn cuts down the development time.”

Jenna Radomsky, Bigeye Digital Project Manager

Five essential Shopify plugins for eCommerce stores

Thousands of plugins can integrate with Shopify. That offers store owners plenty of choices. On the other hand, new eCommerce store builders may feel somewhat overwhelmed by all of the options.

Our eCommerce marketing agency gained experience with dozens of Shopify plugins to serve the unique needs of an array of clients. While our clients offer a variety of products and business models, they all have common goals of increasing profits, improving efficiency, and earning more profit.

We find ourselves frequently returning to many of the same trusted plugins to help clients meet their goals. That’s why we commonly suggest a handful of plugins to almost everybody.

Enjoy a brief introduction to our top five eCommerce plugins for DTC Shopify sites:

Klayvio

This email-collection plugin helps build subscription lists. In turn, eCommerce sites can send messages with order updates, upcoming sales, and new product announcements.

Klayvio allows audience segmentation and works with text messaging and email. For instance, it could send out a message through text or email about a sale on end tables to customers who have recently purchased a sofa.

Sales Motivator

What shopper doesn’t love free gifts? What marketing manager wouldn’t appreciate increasing customer order value?

With this plugin, eCommerce sites can encourage larger sales by offering free gifts based upon the total value of purchases in a shopping cart. Users can also select free gifts to enhance specific product purchases. For example, a shoe store might offer a free package of socks or upgraded shoelaces with the purchase of new running shoes.

Yotpo

Today’s customers look for user reviews to help with purchasing decisions. Yotpo can collect and display user reviews with images. Shopify recommends adding reviews to product pages because almost 95 percent of their own customers read them before buying.

Both buyers and search engines appreciate this kind of high-quality content. Plus, Yotpo lets website managers organize the reviews into attractive galleries that can add a social media experience to an eCommerce site.

PayWhirl

Paywhirl gives eCommerce sites the ability to offer more purchasing options. Some examples include payment plans, subscriptions, and pre-orders. Offering customers more flexibility provides a competitive edge over competitors that neglect to give customers options.

For instance, BusinessWire recently reported that subscription revenues have increased over 400 percent in the past decade. According to surveys, customers like subscriptions that help them save money and provide them with convenience.

ShipStation

If customers only sell on Shopify or also accept orders from other channels, ShipStation keeps shipping organized and ensures customers and customer service can view their tracking codes. Some highlights of ShipStation features include:

  • The plugin can import orders from multiple channels, like Shopify, Amazon, or even a CRM.
  • Automation and scan-based workflows manage orders to ensure timely fulfillment.
  • The software can compare rates from various carriers and then print labels one at a time or in batches.
  • After the order ships, ShipStation sends tracking info to sales channels and customers.

Why consider these five Shopify plugins for a DTC eCommerce site?

As a DTC marketing agency, we do more than consult with our clients about external advertising and marketing. While site promotion matters, it can only bring people to the eCommerce site. The experience an eCommerce site offers visitors will close sales.

Besides making business sites more useful for customers, these plugins also make sales management more efficient. As sales increase, a more efficient website will help widen profit margins even more.

As a Shopify development agency, we work hard to design eCommerce sites that generate more revenue and lower operating costs. That’s how we bring value to clients and why they return to us as often as we return to these trusted plugins.

Categories
Creative & Production Insights

Even as an experienced brand marketing agency, we still suffer from nightmares of designing a logo so scary that it frightens away customers. Still, we make it a habit to study both wizards and trolls in order to benefit from experience and broaden our perspective.

In the spirit of the Halloween season, we like to have a little fun looking at some gruesome logo mistakes. At the same time, we’re engaged in the very serious business of helping our clients build their brands. 

Frightful logo mistakes

Learn from these horror stories of bad logos to avoid summoning any monstrous creations.

Pre-2015 Verizon

John McWade of Design Talk commented on Verizon’s 2010 logo by saying it contained one checkmark too many.

Less generous designers called it the “all-time worst logo” because of that same oversized checkmark that Mr. McWade commented on. The checkmark distracted attention from the brand and gave it an unwieldy shape.

In 2015, Verizon made the wise decision to release a new logo, developed by Pentagram, a design powerhouse. The redesign reduced the size of the checkmark and moved it to the right of the company name, making the overall graphic less awkward.

In October of 2010, Gap replaced the well-known blue square with their brand inside with a logo that emphasized the brand name and had a small, blue spare intersecting GAP’s P. Customers hated it so much that the brand rapidly reverted to the original version within two weeks.

Gap learned that customers cared more about the brand’s image than even the company imagined. It’s a scary lesson, but at least the company learned that their customers felt invested. In 2016, they kept the brand in the logo, but they took away the blue square without facing backlash. This story emphasizes the importance of crowdsourcing opinions about a brand redesign for an established company.

Some reviewers of the NYC Taxi logo’s redesign called it a “Frankenstein,” so it certainly fits in well with a list of monstrous redesigns. The MTA isolated the T in TAXI and enclosed it in a black circle, surrounded by NYC on the left and “AXI” on the right.

They actually based the redesign upon a logical desire to avoid confusing the taxis with a subway route designated by a T. The problem centers on people’s first question when they see the new logo: “What is an AXI?”

In 2016, Uber’s new logo replaced the “U” for Uber with a character that looks like the mirror image of a C. The company called it a bit, and maybe they meant to represent the digital nature of their business. In time, they prudently reanimated their logo by using their brand’s wordmark.

2012 London Olympic Games

Host countries create logos to help represent their game’s unique brand identity. In the best cases, the logo represents both the games and the host city. The jarring image from London in 2012 looked more like a psychedelic trip to Berkeley in 1968.

They meant to produce a hip, modern image, but it simply looks jarring and out of place. The design appears chaotic, it doesn’t represent London well, and apparently, almost 50,000 London residents signed a petition to have it changed.

Design rules to keep logo redesigns from turning into slasher movies

As an experienced brand identity agency, we follow some simple rules to develop logos that offer our clients treats and no tricks. We know businesses seek us out to enforce a positive brand identity and not to frighten off customers or generate poor press. In particular, no company wants to invest in a new logo only to have to reanimate their old logo after several days, as Gap did in 2010.

With these rules in mind, avoid generating frightful logos:

  • People should see the logo and immediately understand what it represents.
  • Simple designs avoid distractions and help clarify the message.
  • Avoid awkward designs that make it difficult to place the logo on various media, like banners, packages, and business cards.
  • Use relevant and instantly recognizable symbols.
  • Look at other company’s logos to understand why they work or why they failed, but don’t copy them. Businesses need to build a strong brand identity and never have their logo confused with the branding of another company.

Established companies might also consider passing design ideas by a crowdsourced group of loyal customers. New brands can set up survey groups in their target market to find out how their future customers will react. As an Orlando marketing agency, we know that customers might not always be right, but what they think always matters.

Categories
Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

According to a recent BigCommerce analysis, product description pages stand out as the most critical parts of an eCommerce website. They emphasized the fact that designers need to consider their product pages from multiple perspectives: 

  • Potential customers visit product pages to make buying decisions. Most importantly, the page’s content and design should offer visitors the information they need to click the “Buy” button. 
  • Many visitors might arrive at these pages directly from search engines, advertisements, and social posts. These prospects might not have ever seen the site’s homepage. In that case, the page needs to function as a landing page and an introduction to the seller. 
  • The page must also communicate its purpose to the search engine, ad platform, and social media algorithms to increase traffic. SEO represents a critical element of the product page. 

Thus, crafting a good eCommerce, Amazon, or Shopify product page design takes some skill. To get started or improve conversions on existing product pages, consider some eCommerce marketing agency do’s and don’ts for product page design. 

eCommerce Marketing Agency Tips for Product Page Design

Craft product pages well to increase website traffic and sales. Develop these important pages poorly, and conversions and even search engine traffic will suffer. 

The Do’s of Product Description Pages for DTC Marketing 

These tips should provide rapid improvement in traffic and conversions: 

1.Include customization options with descriptions 

Don’t force customers to navigate away from the page to find the color or size product they want to buy. Fewer clicks almost always translate into higher conversions. Use selection boxes or checkboxes to save space. Ideally, design the so choosing different options will also display images to match the selection. 

2. Display customer reviews 

Online customers almost automatically check for reviews before they risk their money with a new brand. Shoppers want to know how other customers felt about their purchase. Make reviews easy to find.

For one example, FigLeaves sells women’s clothing. According to Neil Patel, adding reviews to product pages increased conversions by 35 percent. 

3. Showcase competitive differentiators 

Searching online makes it easy for customers to find competing brands. Emphasize features for the product or site that make it a better choice than competitors. 

As an example, Neil Patel highlighted a product called a SuperSnorkel. This new type of snorkel retails for considerably more than typical snorkels. The product description lets customers know that the improved product allows breathing through their nose or mouth. Also, the lens doesn’t fog up and offers a 180-degree view. Shoppers can easily see the benefits of buying this product over cheaper alternatives.

Some products might not offer marketers the luxury of providing so many benefits over competitors. As an example, one set of cotton pillowcases might closely resemble another. In that case, high-quality images, various color and size options, and the store’s return and shipping policies may need to work harder to stand out. This also offers marketers a chance to highlight better or more eco-friendly packaging as an advantage.

4. Spell out and update return and shipping policies 

Shopify published a study by the Baymard Institute that found extra fees at checkout, including shipping costs, account for over half of abandoned shopping carts. Besides shipping costs, spell out shipping and return policies on the page to reduce customer support issues. 

Remember that customer-friendly shipping and return policies can help improve conversions, but surprising customers later with unfavorable policies won’t help. A European eCommerce site for watches called Harloges improved conversions by 41 percent and average sales by six percent when they added their return guarantee to a banner above each product description. 

5. Add Multiple Product Images For Various Angles and Options 

For example, customers will want to see what a futon or sleeper sofa looks like when it’s folded up or folded out. Some may want to see the back of the sofa as well as the front. If the clothes, furniture, or decor come in different colors, provide high-quality photos of those too. Include other objects or people in the image to help improve visitors’ perspective of size, fit, and what the product might look like when they use it. 

The Don’ts of Product Pages for Effective D2C Marketing 

Just as an Amazon or Shopify marketing agency should ensure they include all the right things, they will also strive to avoid common mistakes. 

1.Focus on too many CTAs

Product pages should help build trust, provide an introduction to a company, and help with search engine optimization. Still, the product page must center around its primary job of selling the product. 

Just as product pages stand out as the most crucial part of an eCommerce site, nobody should underestimate the importance of the “Buy” or “Add to Cart” button on the product page. 

For instance, Nature Air increased conversions by almost 600 percent after they made the CTA stand out more and added it right next to relevant content. 

While page designers should emphasize the product’s CTA, they should resist adding additional calls to action on the page. Keep the customer focused on the sale and worry about enticing them to join a subscription list or anything else after committing to the sale. 

2. Don’t compose wordy or hard-to-read descriptions 

Crafting product descriptions takes some skill. The text descriptions should include information to satisfy shoppers but not appear wordy or as an unreadable wall of text.

The Shopify blog even mentioned that their customers frequently struggle to find the perfect balance between wordiness and completeness on description pages. An eCommerce strategy professional provided these suggestions for a Shopify product page design: 

  • Include essential details but otherwise, keep descriptions as short as possible. 
  • Use headings, bullet points, and paragraph breaks to keep the text readable. 
  • Supply photos, videos, or other media that can provide more information and appeal to more people. 

3. Never forget to optimize product pages for search engines 

Perform keyword research and brainstorming to gather the sorts of queries that customers might use to find products. Include the most important and popular keywords and phrases in titles, headings, text, and image captions. 

Gather Data and Test for the Best Results 

Great product pages start with a good understanding of customers. An eCommerce marketing agency might use surveys, marketing research, and A/B tests to determine how to tweak product pages for the best results. As demonstrated by the examples, some seemingly minor changes can yield significant increases in traffic and conversions.

Categories
Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

Pew Research classified people born between 1997 and 2012 as members of Generation Z. Some definitions of this generation vary by a year or two, but this one appears common. Mostly, marketers have only begun to consider the distinct values and buying habits of these young people, and some still lump them in with Millennials.

Of course, it also seems like marketers only clarified the retail marketing differences needed to satisfy Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer shopping habits fairly recently. Perhaps that’s not surprising because just five years ago, Millennials surpassed Boomers as the largest population in the workforce.

Still, many members of Gen Z already have jobs, credit cards, influence, and their own strong preferences as consumers. In order for a DTC marketing agency to attract the attention, good will, and business of these 67 million young Americans, they need to study what these teens and young adults care about and how they like to shop.

Retail marketing must communicate shared values with Gen Z

Experiences formed common attitudes that members of the younger generation share. For instance:

  • Gen Z was born and raised in the shadow of 9/11, The Great Recession, the exponential increase in billionaire wealth vs. worker pay, climate change, the student loan crisis, and most recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
  • They’re digital natives, ethnically diverse, and understandably somewhat mistrustful of big business and authority.

Perhaps because of these experiences and outlooks, they try to use their pocketbooks and influence to support companies they approve of.

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, observed his own Baby Boomer generation could satisfy their social responsibility commitments by making a few charitable donations each year. He added that Gen Z wants to do business with companies that incorporate social responsibility into every aspect of their business. Younger people want to buy from companies that take good care of their communities, customers, suppliers, and employees, besides contribute to the greater good. 

Gen Z appreciates pre-worn fashion

Just as Gen Z prefers companies that build social responsibility into their business model, they envision entire economies operating the same way. As an example, the idea of a circular economy inspires young people.

This means focusing upon reusing and recycling products to reduce waste and reduce costs. They care about sustainability to help the environment but also hope to maximize value.

Some examples of online apps that help people participate in this kind of circular economy include Poshmark and Depop. The apps allow users to buy and sell pre-owned items. This gives participants a chance to save or earn money, plus prioritize reuse over discarding products.

Gen Z members enjoy in-store shopping experiences

Sure, most people grew up as digital natives. At the same time, they’re not immune to great in-store shopping experiences. According to survey results published by Marketing Dive:

  • About 80 percent enjoy shopping at stores when they have time.
  • At the same time, 75 percent admit to mostly shopping online for convenience.

Like members of older generations, they may research important shopping choices online. They will still visit a store for an in-person examination of products and a chance to connect with people behind the brand before making a final purchase.

Very often, marketers mention Lush as a brand that works hard to create an engaging onsite experience while integrating digital experiences with physical stores.

Customers get a chance to try out products and speak with helpful salespeople inside the store. As another example, customers can use Lush Lens to take photos of products in order to retrieve a list of ingredients.

This suggests that sellers with physical items for sale should work to make the experience worth the extra time to attract more foot traffic from Gen Z. Retailers should also strive to integrate in-store and online shopping as much as possible. Sellers without physical locations may need to work harder to maintain trust with actions like great customer service and a generous return policy.

Retail packaging for Gen Z

According to research from the National Retail Foundation, brands that demonstrate authenticity, sustainability, and a bit of fun attract members of Gen Z. While these values matter a lot to younger shoppers, they also say that their brand perceptions begin with packaging.

An obvious example includes sustainable retail packaging that’s also distinctive enough to stand out on store shelves or social media posts. Go People highlighted compostable paper bottles for personal care products.

They stand up to showers with a thin lining made up of recycled plastic. Even so, they use 95-percent less plastic than typical bottles. Even better, the containers collapse as they empty, so it’s easy for people to get the last drop of product out of them. At first glance, they look like traditional bottles for high-quality boutique personal care products.

eco-friendly paper bottles

The Importance of Social Media for Connecting With Gen Z

Any retail marketing agency should emphasise the importance of using social media to connect with Gen Z. As one example, the National Retail Foundation found that almost three out of four Gen Z college students purchased products they first found on social media.

Even more than typical ads and posts, social media will help leverage input from brand devotees and influencers, who will share posts from companies and their own experiences on their feeds. In fact, almost 30 percent of the Gen Z respondents to the NRF survey admitted high enthusiasm over certain brands.

This kind of word-of-mouth advertising from true brand admirers provides an authentic recommendation that attracts other members of their social circle.

Why retail marketing should focus on Gen Z

According to McKinsey Research, Gen Z hasn’t peaked in buying power yet. That might not occur for ten to 15 more years. Smart retailer marketing should not ignore this group, just because they haven’t entirely blossomed yet.

More than making their own direct purchases, adolescents, teens, and young adults influence the buying choices of their Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer elders. Of course, younger members of this generation still rely on their families for most purchases, so they express opinions to satisfy their own preferences. They’re also active on social media and can influence a diverse social circle online.

A focus on Gen Z can help improve current sales and future-proof marketing strategies for the next several decades.

Download Bigeye’s research report Retail Disrupted: What Shoppers Want From Brands Today to discover how consumers make purchase decisions.

Categories
Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

This article is part of #TheBigeyeLens series exploring the future of consumer behavior, purchasing decisions, and marketing trends. We’ll be talking about DTC Design Trends that are taking over.

Since eCommerce sales exploded in the past several months, online brands have enjoyed a lot more opportunities to prosper. At the same time, increased sales attracted more competition. New and established businesses began competing for attention on retail sites, search engines, and social media.

To stand out from the crowd, successful sellers looked for ways to improve DTC product design to better satisfy consumers, improve their brand image, and get found both online and offline.

In a crowded online or offline market, brands first need to uncover CPG marketing trends to learn what their potential consumers seek, besides just another jar of face cream, bottle of vitamins, or piece of home decor. With that in mind, consider these five design trends that can offer distinct competitive advantages and more effective online marketing for CPG products.

1. Sustainability

Beyond high-quality products, sustainability can also attract today’s eco-conscious consumers, as discussed in this Bigeye article about sustainable DTC packaging design. Almost everybody expresses at least some environmental concerns, and a majority of people say they’re willing to take steps to live more sustainably. When brands demonstrate that they offer the more sustainable choice, they can differentiate themselves from competitors.

Look at a couple of examples of companies that use sustainability to compete with major grocery retailers:

  • Grove Collaborative: Grove Collaborative makes it easy for consumers to conveniently and affordably buy high-quality, sustainable consumer products online. These benefits make this company a hit with growing families and other eco-conscious consumers.
  • Imperfect Foods: Typical grocers look for uniform size and color. Imperfect foods can sell too-long bananas or ugly peaches to reduce food waste and save their customers money.
  • Luma & Leaf: The natural skincare brand uses vegan, sustainably sourced ingredients to ensure that their products are kind to your skin and the environment alike. The Luma & Leaf packaging is meant to be upcycled after use to keep empties out of landfills.

2. Vintage-inspired product designs

Harvard Business Review discussed the benefits of nostalgia as a coping tactic to help deal with stress. This sentimental feeling can make people happier, reinforce social bonds, serve as a source of inspiration, and even provide a more balanced perspective on current issues.

While some people prefer reminders of past times they actually lived through, others feel connected to decades that occurred before they were born. Overall, society may offer better current solutions today, and most people know this. Still, with nostalgia, it’s possible to take the best and leave the rest in the past.

As an example, Today ran a segment on the way fashion tends to recycle themselves about every 30 years. They noted that the early 1990s to 2000s brought back an updated version of mod hats and flared pants from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Right now, Gen Z has reawakened this trend. As an example, look at this vintage smiley face hat from Urban Outfitters that Miley Cyrus popularized on Instagram. Levi’s also released high-waisted, flared jeans that would fit right into 1970 almost as well as 2021.

3. Accessibility

As Unilever pointed out on a product page, people who cope with various disabilities make up the world’s biggest “minority group.” Their research found that just about 25 percent of Americans live with disabilities, and that most personal care and beauty products overlook them.

For instance, people who must deal with a limited range of motion or visual problems have trouble using typical deodorant sprays or twist applicators. In response, Unilever worked with disabled communities and product designers to develop Degree Inclusive.

The package design allows for one-handed use, even with a limited ability to grasp the container. Not only can Unilever help make a positive change in the market, they can also attract a large and underserved market.

4. Personalization

Limited space on retailers’ shelves tends to emphasize one-kind-fits-all products. Products don’t need to take up physical space for online retailers, so consumers have the opportunity to find the perfect product to suit their budget, personality, and unique requirements.

A consumer insights agency doesn’t need to uncover products that most people will find good enough to satisfy their needs. Instead, they can work to develop many smaller subniches and markets that large competitors may overlook or choose not to focus on.

A couple of examples of companies that have succeeded with a personalization strategy include:

  • Care/of Vitamins: This brand offers a diverse selection of high-quality nutritional supplements and holistic remedies to suit each customer’s needs. Customers also say that Care/of stands out by offering personalized customer service to ensure satisfaction and the best solutions.
  • Function Beauty: Function Beauty starts by developing cruelty-free, vegan products that exclude harmful chemicals. They also offer online quizzes on their site to help tailor hair and skin products to the exact needs of each customer.

5. Photogenic products made for social sales

Neil Patel, a top influencer and founder of his own consumer marketing agency, talked about the important and difficult job of standing out on social media these days. According to Neil Patel, visual content stands as a critical pillar of successful social media campaigns.

He mentioned scientific reasons to support this outlook. For instance, visual information represents 90 percent of what’s transmitted to human brains. People also process visual information exponentially faster than they do text. After all, most kids need to go to school to learn to read but not to see.

With the idea of standing out in crowded Instagram and Facebook feeds, plus enjoying the benefits of influencers attracting a wider audience, look at some good examples:

  • Ruggable: Ruggable sells two-piece sets that consist of washable rugs and non-slip pads. They make the rugs resistant to spills and nontoxic, and the brand appeals largely to pet owners and parents who don’t want to worry about spending a lot of money on high-quality furnishings only to have them ruined by a spill or accident. The company grew their business quite a bit by using platforms to find social media influencers with the right audience. They also produce outstanding images of their rugs arranged in realistic settings.
  • Away Luggage: In 2015, Jen Rubio leveraged her own malfunctioning suitcase experience in a foreign airport as the inspiration to develop durable suitcases with handy, built-in chargers. By blanketing social media with the product, they made $12 million in sales during 2016 and achieved profitability in 2017. Though the company eventually opened a few physical stores, they do most of their business online. The pandemic hampered momentum somewhat, but Away Luggage brought in $150 million in 2019.

Plenty of online and offline stores offer beauty products, rugs, luggage, and a variety of other consumer products. Attention to consumer preferences and trends helps products stand out, so they can compete in crowded marketplaces.

These days, look for ways to design products and packaging to appeal to customers through personalization, sustainable options, accessibility, sentimentality, and visual appeal. The right competitive edge means that brands might not need to compete so much on price and can also enjoy better returns from marketing investments.