In+Vision Blog

Insights into shopper’s behavior; vision for retailers.


Holiday Make or Break

Insight: This holiday season may be one of the most important for brick-and-mortar retail.

According to several reports, the holiday season is already well underway. Historically, as much as 40% of retail sales are recorded in the final two months of the year, according to the National Retail Federation. But that window has gradually increased over the past few years, and, in 2015, seems to have doubled.

A report commissioned by over Labor Day weekend found 14% had bought at least one holiday present before their kids started school this year. Another study by Rubicon Project found 29% had started shopping by mid-September.

Millennials outpaced other generations for early shopping in the former survey, and an analyst suggested the prevalence of online shipping and heavy retail promotions are actually causing shoppers to look earlier rather than waiting for late deals. In that same survey, a quarter said they’d plan to be done shopping before the end of November. Google says nearly half of shoppers completed all their shopping prior to Cyber Monday last year.

While Market Trak predicts more promising Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Business Insider reminds us that those dates fell below expectations last year likely because shoppers started earlier. Many believe early shopping will further dilute these key shopping dates this year, and some have even noted that this combined with relatively slow August and September retail sales could add up to a very disappointing year.

All the reports are adding up to one thing – to win this holiday, retailers and brands will really need to up their game and sustain a level of excellence over a longer period.

Vision: Go big this holiday in order to imprint the value of your brand into the minds of shoppers.

eCommerce has changed brick-and-mortar shopping in many ways, and the holiday impact is huge. As many as 75% will buy at least some of their gifts online according to Google, a quarter will use their smartphones and these online shoppers will likely spend more than their in-store counterparts. But, even more will use the internet for price comparisons before buying in-store (85%), product reviews (80%) and other shopping research (78%). Search will impact the places they shop as well, with the majority of shoppers exploring new stores during holiday shopping.

All this information levels the playing field in many ways for retailers and brands to differentiate in brand new ways. Look for many to finally jump into omnichannel with both feet, improving store pick-up for online orders and of-the-moment communications to drive urgency, and others to leverage the early shopping trend in creative ways.

Increased focus on merchandise selection and stock levels and other operational factors will become table stakes to continue to grow, with many needing to move into rare and unique items, timed assortments and other creative tactics to stand out.

In addition to all of the above, well trained and exceptional service agents will be necessary to gain and retain customers this holiday season and beyond. Customers already expect associates to be armed with tablets and ready to help with content not found online. To rise above the fray, a rock star up-sell and add-on strategy leverage outstanding service will be a key ingredient.

But above all, it will be increasingly important to win on experience. This can be improved product demonstration, in-store promotions and events, store and display design and immersive interaction. Execution and maintenance must be flawless, with each element clean, efficient and pleasing.

Doing all of this is no easy task. As a representative from Deloitte said, though, “Finding a really differentiated, winning strategy is really tough.” But it’s not too late to begin implementing some of these tactics, or even just a test and learn process to lay groundwork for future innovation. DCI-Artform can quickly help you develop a program. Contact us today to get moving! 


Judging Retailers by Their Stripes

Insight: The entrance and outside environment of a retail space is the place where consumers form their first opinion of the store.

Have you ever heard the expression “you can never make a second first impression?” This simple truth is especially important in retail, as the first impression a retailer gives occurs before the shopper even sets foot in the store.

The parking lot, landscape and overall cleanliness of a retail space means a lot to shoppers. So much, in fact, that their first impressions of the store hinge on the environment and aesthetics that the store presents. What’s more, 45 percent of shoppers judge a store’s inside by its outside. This means that something unappealing, like loose trash or an unkempt parking lot, can actually cause a retailer to lose business.

Vision: Regardless of the sector, brands and retailers should use their exterior to give the best first impression to consumers.

Having a clean and organized store, both inside and out, not only attracts new shoppers, but helps retain them. This calls for effective products to ensure consumer satisfaction, which is why our Commercial Zone team has created a line of trash receptacles that help clean up a retail space.

Our team found that it is not enough to simply set out a trash can, rather, the receptacle should serve as part of the shopping experience as a whole and set the tone for the store. For example, the bins need to be easy to access, eco-friendly and complementary to their surroundings. That may sound like common sense, but many retailers do not embrace these insights.

Commercial Zone’s product series is one of the best examples of acting on these principals. The team operates knowing that a visually appealing environment creates a positive reflection of the business, and is launching multiple new products and product features this year. New products, like Leafview, and advancements made toward existing lines, such as StoneTec, are being launched with the goal of enhancing the environment of retail locations.

Brands and retailers, take note: the battle for shoppers’ business doesn’t begin in the store; it begins before they even enter the doors.

Retail Science Summary

Retailers – Provide shoppers with trash receptacles that are convenient to use, thus reducing the amount of trash in the parking lot

Brands – Foster a brand image of clean, eco-friendly and organized, by having the proper receptacles available

Consumers – Receive a more enjoyable shopping experience because of a clean exterior to the store

Barriers to Purchase – A poor appearance or lack of cleanliness of a retail location can cause consumers to decide not to buy before they even enter the store


It’s Earth Day: Where’s Your Recycling?

Insight: Increasingly, shoppers demand retailers reduce their impact on the environment.

The environmental or “Green” movement continues to gain popularity around the country, to the point that it’s affecting legislation in several cities. Cities such as Seattle, Portland, Dallas and the entire state of California have enacted bans on plastic bags, while others such as San Francisco and New York City have banned polystyrene, all to protect the environment.

Going green is popular with shoppers as well as legislators, with most people in a survey saying they would prefer to buy from companies that are socially conscious. These green shoppers also tend to buy more and shop more often than the average consumer.

The green shopper segment is clearly a big opportunity for retailers, but they can be difficult to capture since most efforts to be environmentally conscious are invisible to them.

Vision: Receptacles for waste and recycling not only give a clean appearance, but really do impact a retailer’s carbon footprint.

Providing trash and recycling containers are an effective and attractive way to reduce litter. It is easy to overlook these elements when designing a retail space, but these “Facilities Image Products” provide a highly visible way to let shoppers know you are doing your part to protect the local environment.

Since very little is required from the retailer beyond the initial investment – no new processes have to be implemented and no new training is required – this can be an excellent solution for small businesses looking to reach out to green shoppers. Additional signage can also help you “take credit” for what you’re doing to help the planet.

Often, when looking at a retail space, retailers are concerned that the waste and recycling containers will be ugly or detract from the design aesthetic, but that doesn’t have to be the case. For this very need, DCI-Artform created its Commercial Zone line of facilities image products with a variety of colors, materials and finishes to fit any retailer’s needs.

As an extra bonus, you will be helping to keep your retail space clean, which everyone appreciates!

Retail Science Summary

Retailers – Attract more (and more profitable) shoppers with clear, visible, environmentally friendly practices

Brands – Build brand equity by promoting a clean environment and associating with companies who do the same

Shopper – Given the choice, shoppers would prefer to give their money to socially conscious companies

Barriers to Purchase – Shoppers will be driven away by an unclean environment


The Power and Potential of Pop-Ups

Insight: Consumers say they want new and exciting experiences, but they are busy and rarely deviate from their habitual patterns.

Shoppers love trying new things. It is human nature to seek out new experiences and opportunities, but it is also human nature to establish daily routines that send shoppers down the same streets, to the same stores and along the same paths repeatedly.

When launching new products, highlighting seasonal offerings or delivering new experiences, brands and retailers struggle to get their messages in front of shoppers within their daily schedule. Enter: pop-up stores.

Vision: Bring the store to the shoppers. Pop-up shops offer value when they provide timely, unique experiences in places where their target audiences are already passing, gathering or visiting.  

Pop-ups are a hot topic this year as various companies have begun experimenting with short-term, smaller and uniquely targeted retail locations. While mall kiosks and temporary event tents/displays have been around for years, in the past few we’ve seen the movement toward more permanent spaces. Through short-term leases, brands and retailers are able to provide surprising experiences with the right products at the right time and in the right place.

Once a shopper is actually in the pop-up store, they can be met with a plethora of experiences that they may not typically find at your average, traditional location. For example, there may be amazing designs that could never scale, classes taught by local talent, live demonstrations and entertainment. Many companies are using pop-up shops to experiment with new technologies, markets, assortments and engagements to gather consumer insights before investing in full rollouts at traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

Recently, DCI-Artform executed a very high-profile pop-up program for a consumer electronics company that focused on brand engagement above sales. Not only did the strategy allow them to generate lots of attention and awareness during the ever-important holiday selling season, it also gave them opportunities to engage at the neighborhood level in ways that supported their positioning and grew their exposure to a hyper-targeted market.

DCI-Artform has developed this and other semipermanent tactics to build on greater long-term sales strategies. We think the pop-up store concept is here to stay as shoppers further demand immersive experiences but refuse to go out of their way to find them.

Retail Science Summary

Retailers – Use pop-up stores as a means of market testing before committing to a full-scale rollout

Brands – Better interact with your shoppers by using experiential retailing

Consumers – Get delightful engagement when and where you want it

Barriers to purchase – Forcing a shopper to break their habits is an uphill battle; bring the experiences to them to initiate lifetime value


Wait! That’s Not a Trash Can!

Insight: Studies have shown that providing trash and cigarette receptacles help reduce littering.

Trash receptacles are important necessities that are used constantly throughout the day. The average person throws away 4.3 pounds of waste per day. If trash receptacles are not visible and readily available, where does all this trash end up? We have all seen trash accumulate in the strangest places, but this creative littering is not only an eyesore but pollutes the world we live in.

Vision: Provide numerous trash receptacles throughout your property or business to help keep litter in its place and hidden from public view.

Let’s face it, people do not carry disposable trash containers with them and they are not about to put that messy sandwich wrapper in their purse or pocket. What you do not want is for it to end up in front of your business door or within your location. Studies have shown that people will gladly dispose of their litter properly if receptacles are provided. 

While trash receptacles should be visible in a public space, they don’t have to be unpleasant to look at. Commercial Zone Products offers a variety of litter solutions that complement your brand’s style, are convenient to use and easy to maintain. We can provide you with the best receptacle to fit your space and your budget. Whether you are looking for an upscale receptacle for your lobby or a convenient trash bin for the break room, we have the right receptacle to fit your needs. Keep your business free from litter by providing trash receptacles throughout your property. A clean establishment can provide a good first impression of your business, which welcomes your customers.

Retail Science Summary

Retailers – Keeping a clean establishment gives your customers a good impression of your business

Brands – Litter impacts your brand perceptions

Consumers – Are more likely to come back to an establishment if they had a good experience; the cleanliness of your business is a big part of a customer’s overall experience

Barriers to Purchase – If a store or environment appears dirty and unkept, consumers will not feel confident to stick around, let alone buy