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Smart insights: Retail

The pace of change in the retail industry is driven by digital advancements: more touchpoints, more product reviews and comparisons for consumers to access anytime, anywhere. And more variety in the path to purchase of shoppers.

To stay competitive and relevant, retail businesses need to understand evolving shopping behaviors and target group demands. They need to apply this knowledge to create differentiated experiences across both digital and physical environments.

Our retail industry research experts provide the insights to support you at every stage: from measuring your shoppers’ experiences and paths to purchase, to monitoring retail performance and trends.

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Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for retail industry. View all insights

    • 04/28/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    The game is on: the opportunities offered by the gaming market

    Gaming creates considerable revenue worldwide, but especially in Western Europe. Discover what opportunities are offered by the gaming market with our infographic.
    • 04/27/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Advertising still holds sway over consumers

    We asked 20,000 consumers globally which factors influence most their shopping decisions. Take a look at our infographic and get the answer.
    • 04/21/17
    • Retail
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Retail today and tomorrow: Innovating in the age of disruption

    Today’s changing retail environment is proving to be a major test of marketers’ agility. It is no secret that the convenience of online shopping has drawn customers away from traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. Walking from store to store in search of the perfect outfit or gift has transformed, in many cases, into jumping from website to website, credit card in hand.  Along with this major transformation has come many difficult adjustments.

    So where does this leave brick-and-mortar stores?

    The role of the store itself is being re-defined in our modern age, as traditional storefronts turn into immersive showrooms and leisure destinations, and much more.  Retailers, and specifically mall operators, are aiming for more experiential elements, while foregoing traditional anchors for more entertainment-based locations like movie theaters and gyms. GfK’s FutureBuy® data shows that people who shop in brick-and-mortar stores do so because they can physically see the product before they buy, they shop there routinely and they get “instant gratification” by getting the products much sooner.  When they shop online, however, the reasons tend to be saving money, better selection and the overall ease of shopping. Given these dramatic changes, marketers need to play to the strengths of traditional retail stores – and keep a few key lessons in mind.
    1. Stay agile.  In today’s retail environment, marketers have to be flexible and creative to satisfy the evolving consumer.  We see a trend where shopping spaces are increasingly being integrated into traditional urban surroundings, like the shops at the Oculus of New York’s World Trade Center or in Chinese open cities, with stores and interactive park-like features (trees, water fountains, shops and screens) that create a new shopping “village”.  There are numerous new business models that brands can leverage in new ways.
    2. Capitalize on the online-offline experience.  Consumers desire rewarding experiences.  The latest data from GfK Consumer Life shows that experience is the #1 trend in the United States, and store shopping remains a key leisure pursuit. Three in four Americans agree that “it’s fun to browse stores and see what’s new and different”.  The current market is seeing big online players capitalizing on this trend as they open brick-and-mortar retail locations.  For example, Amazon bookstores allow you to buy books in-store or have a fun retail experience, but lighten your load by having the book delivered or letting you purchase a digital copy.  Warby Parker and Bonobos are popular online players who have showrooms.  At Bonobos, you can visit ether of the “Guideshops” get 1-1 attention from a “Guide” to get the exact fit and measurement of your clothing, but you walk out hands-free, without paying for delivery of your chosen items.  This can surely help personalize the experience, and alleviate some of the operating costs that physical retailers face to be more competitive with pure online players.

      On the flipside, customization can be a challenge for online-only brands.  Nearly four in ten Americans agree that they like to buy products that can be tailored to their needs.  Major retailers are starting to optimize their brick and mortar footprint to maximize the omnichannel fulfillment with click & collect and filling excess square footage with shop-in-shop concepts.  But the real challenge for brick and mortar retailers is how to keep up online without killing their margins.
    3. Use new technology to your advantage.  We are at the tipping point of the AI explosion, and Artificial Intelligence will surely enhance the online shopping experience.  In fact, almost three in ten Americans (28%) would try out new products before buying them, such as cars or paint colors, and a quarter (24%) would use a VR headset to shop as if they were in a real store.  Virtual reality in particular could be useful in a brick-and-mortar showroom.  AI is being used much more to improve product search effectiveness on retailer websites and in making product recommendations than from a virtual “trying out” process.

      Lowe’s has been using VR well, in helping customers visualize what decorating a room in their house might look like (along with augmented reality technology) and North Face for the outdoor experience.  AI will certainly help with product search and IBM’s Watson AI is paving the way to improve product recommendations.  AI is just the tip of the iceberg as a lot can be said for bots and drones, which as they are starting to play a much greater role to the retail environment and logistics.
    Disruptive times call for staying attuned with consumers’ changing needs and lifestyles.  We are at the brink of the 4th industrial revolution, which will undoubtedly shape the future of many aspects of consumers’ lives, including how we shop.  Thus, the time for keeping a close eye on new technologies and innovating for the future has never been better. Jola Burnett is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at jola.burnett@gfk.com.
    • 04/20/17
    • Retail
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Global
    • English

    Boosting a distributor’s competitive advantage in ecommerce

    Our product data and ecommerce technology solutions empower S.P. Richards’ dealers to increase their online sales.
Solutions
  • Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

  • Consumer Panels

    Consumer Panels

    Your business is all about your consumers. So understanding them is essential in ensuring your products and services meet their needs, and in identifying opportunities for growth.

    Our international consumer panel data and research expertise provide you with smart customer insights into who your consumers are, their attitudes and behaviors, across channels.

  • Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • Shopper

    Shopper

    Digital continues to open up new paths to purchase, changing how and where people shop. More and more data becomes available every day, as shoppers embrace multi-channel brand experiences.

    To stay competitive in this big data, multi-channel environment, businesses need to identify and leverage the most relevant data along the entire path to purchase. With this, companies can optimize each step of the shopper journey. 

  • User Experience (UX)

    User Experience (UX)

    Our user experience (UX) research and design experts help our clients create and improve customer experiences for existing or new products and services

    Today’s consumer is bombarded with promises for compelling experiences. They are sophisticated and demanding.  To be successful, a new product or service needs to be intuitive, usable, engaging and desirable. The user experience needs to be emotional in order to be memorable.

  • Geomarketing

    Geomarketing

    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

  • Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping

    Consumers face a complex array of brand touch points every day of their lives. To deliver a consistent brand experience, marketers need to know how consumers are actually experiencing their brand. Our mystery shoppers give you all the help you need to understand these experiences, and respond to them to maximize the return for your business.

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