Keeping Offline Retail Alive

Once again, the magical holiday season is in full swing and local independent brick and mortar retailers in South Florida are putting on the full court press with special events, greater selections and increased opportunities to buy your favorite items at a price you find desirable.

Online shopping for this holiday season is expected to be at an all-time high, with the research firm Forrester predicting online holiday sales will round out near $129 billion. People are expected to use their smartphones to make 35 percent of these online holiday purchases according to the retail search marketing firm NetElixer.

With online shopping offering convenience, a broad selection and good prices, it remains true that local brick and mortar retailers can still offer many advantages during this holiday season. These advantages include personalized service, a helpful and knowledgeable staff, unique and memorable experiences, competitive prices, convenient hours of operation and a good return policy.

According to the NRF 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, “technology may be changing the surface of the game, but the underlying strategies to win remain the same.” It is a simple fact that shoppers use their smartphones for both online and offine shopping. When a person uses their smartphone to research products in-store, then buys online, it is called showrooming. When a person uses their smartphone to research products online and then goes offline, to a brick and mortar store to make a purchase, it is called webrooming. And, I think most of us can admit that we like to use our smartphone to share our favorite brands and memorable shopping experiences.

Local, independent brick and mortar retailers need to leverage the smartphone to their advantage with e ective social media campaigns and targeted marketing that brings people in-store. At Gustie, we find many of our clients are interested in using AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) for in-store marketing and we are happy to educate on how best to integrate these immersive brand experiences.

This time of year, people like to get out and shop. They want to explore their gifting options. They like to touch and feel products and learn details about services. People like to visit local, mom and pop retailers to enjoy a personalized shopping experience and find unique gifts. And, these impassioned retailers are nding innovative ways to delight and engage their shoppers.

During the holiday season, it is especially nice to shop at local brick and mortar retailers because they are important to our local communities, support our local economiesvand contribute to the wellbeing of our residents. Shopping local helps the community become stronger and keeps our beloved main streets, such as Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, active and vibrant.

Over the years, movements like Shop Small Saturday, founded by American Express in 2010, have grown into active and engaging daylong celebrations in support of local independent brick and mortar retailers. It’s no surprise that Shop Small Saturday falls on the Saturday between two popular online shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shop Small Saturday was created to be a delightful celebration for the mom and pop retailers that do so much for our communities. The day offers a special energy and vibrancy and year after year is gaining momentum as more retailers are actively participating.

Each year, our company, Gustie Creative, participates in Shop Small Saturday. Last year, we served as a Neighborhood Champion and this year, we look forward to participating in the same manner once again. Everyone can join in the day and on Saturday, November 25, 2017 we hope to see you out and about, supporting our local indies!

Gustie is an innovative disruptive retail design and strategy firm www.gustiecreative.com We offer full service design, retail design strategy, strategic marketing, design innovation with AR and VR, and Disrupt-Shop Workshops. We are evangelists for Disruptive Retail and passionate about crafting creative, unique, and market driven solutions for all brands and businesses. Feel free to contact me at karen@gustiecreative.com to learn more.