Vertical Advertising Spotlight: Retail

Iris Espiritu, Senior Content Marketing Manager, VDX.tv

When it comes to reaching customers through digital advertising, brands in different industries face different sets of challenges. At VDX.tv, we believe this means that each advertising solution should be built to meet the unique demands of the industry and needs of its customer base. We also believe that the best advertising solutions stem from a deep understanding of technology, analytics, creativity, and vertical experience.

In this series, we’ll introduce you to a VDX.tv expert who will help navigate the nuances of digital advertising within a unique industry vertical.

Meet: Marly Sohr

Hi Marly, which vertical do you lead at VDX.tv?

I lead the retail vertical at VDX.tv. The retail vertical supports everything from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to e-commerce and direct to consumer (DTC) retailers.

What do we know about retail consumers and their customer journey?

The retail industry is made up of a diverse group of companies and offerings. Necessity is what weaves a line of similarity between all retailers. Consumers are faced with purchasing from retailers weekly (if not daily) to stock their fridge with groceries, buy a new outfit, or finally splurge on that piece of furniture they have had their eye on. Most of the population is in-market for retailers because they sell products that consumers depend on to live and flourish. All consumers—young or old, rich or poor—depend on retailers for essential products.

Retail purchases range from spur of the moment to long-term, highly researched endeavors. Which grocery store to buy milk from requires very little consideration but the company to depend on for your next mattress may take months to decide on. For those spur of the moment purchases, retailers must stay top of mind for the inevitable moment a consumer pulls the trigger on a product. For the longer-term consideration cycles, research is crucial. Consumers will make a researched decision when they have the opportunity to: 81% of consumers researched products online before making a large purchase.

What are some of the biggest challenges that retail advertisers currently face?

A retailer’s objective can be summed up in two main points: drive consumers in-store to purchase or drive consumers online to purchase. In doing so, retailers face the challenge of differentiating the experience they provide consumers from the experience provided by competitors.

Consumers have become increasingly more loyal to experiences over products. Consumers are determined, demanding, and often unwilling to compromise on convenience. In 2020, over 2 billion people worldwide purchased products online. The most common reasons for purchasing online were convenience and free shipping. With an endless supply of information at their fingertips, consumers know what they want and when they want it (spoiler alert: it’s now). Convenience will make or break a potential purchase and retailers need to land on the right side of that decision.

Flexibility and education are critical. Retailers need to have multiple purchase or pick-up options and educate in-market consumers about these options. Highly convenient options like BOPIS (buy online pick-up in-store), curbside pickup, fast or free shipping are key and must be highlighted in the ad experience.

How can retail advertisers best leverage video advertising to solve their challenges?

Video is vital in a world of constant distraction and information overload. Traditional digital media lacks engagement whereas video is significantly more likely to drive brand awareness, recall, and recognition. Interactive video brings it to the next level with dynamic capabilities and personalization, taking into account an individual’s preferences. Video personalization speaks to the specific interests of consumers and allows retailers to resonate with potential customers. For example, a dynamic map feature pulling in the closest store location reinforces the accessibility of the brand. A dynamic product gallery showcasing popular items provides consumers with specific product recommendations tailored to their needs. Video creates a meaningful and memorable experience that ensures the retailer is top of mind when the consumer goes on to purchase.

What trends can retail advertisers expect to see in the next six months?

Looking at the retail sector as a whole, we will continue to see the growth of ecommerce. Ecommerce made up 18% of all retail sales in 2020 and this is expected to grow to 22% by 2023. The pandemic catapulted this trend by pushing consumers to purchase online to avoid possible coronavirus exposure. Even with increased optimism around a societal recovery of the virus, this trend is expected to continue. Post-pandemic consumers are six times more likely to buy fitness products, four times more likely to buy footwear and three times more likely to buys skin care and makeup online compared to pre-pandemic times.

On a smaller scale we will see a number of trends related to specific retail industries. Retailers that primarily sell outdoor and seasonal products (like home & garden centers) will see surges into the summer as consumers stock-up on outdoor-related products like patio sets and landscaping needs. Since the work-from-home dynamic will persist permanently to a certain extent, consumers will continue to focus on updating and maintaining their home spaces. Wellness products will continue to be a priority in 2021. In a recent survey on consumer behaviors, respondents said they are very likely to purchase athleisure wear, makeup and other beauty products.


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