Is in-person shopping making a comeback? Dara Busch, CEO, 5WPR, offers insights from the company’s 2022 Consumer Culture Report. She shares examples of how brands are shifting their strategy to put a bigger emphasis on the in-store experience. Dara also dives into the increased demand from consumers drives for brands with ethical and sustainable products and packaging.
Download 5WPR’s 2022 Consumer Culture Report here.
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HOST: DOUG SIMON
GUEST: DARA BUSCH
DOUG: The 2022 Consumer Culture Report from 5WPR had some really key findings. But first, I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Dara on being named CEO. Congratulations.
DARA: Thank you very much.
DOUG: Great, so what were some of the key findings in the report?
DARA: It’s a very interesting report because we look at 2021 to see what consumer spending will look like for 2022. So, these have been a couple of very different years, especially now we are hitting the two-year mark on the pandemic. And so, some of the things that we have found include looking at electronics and technology, which continue to be a fan favorite for splurges, the way that people buy, retail versus e-commerce. So, certainly, there are a lot of different interesting findings, and it’s really an evolution from the last few years of reports that we’ve done.
DOUG: Yeah, one of the things that was interesting that stuck out to me was sort of the trend for people looking in stores for new products. That sort of goes against what people have been saying.
DARA: Yes. I think that there’s a feeling of wanting to get back in front of stores, in front of merchandise – to touch, to feel. There is a real push to want the advice of a sales clerk. And the struggle on that is we all know retail is struggling. There are not enough people to work these shifts and the hours. So, consumers really wanting to be back in store and looking to sales folks for advice is huge. And so, that’s one part of it. And the other piece is the idea of it’s an outing again. Years ago shopping and going to a retail location was something you did with girlfriends, guy friends, it was let’s meet up and do it. And that’s, again, it’s very much a really special outing for folks.
DOUG: Yeah, there is that longing to go out again, to be together among people. Do those trends you think change how brands strategize, how they’re going to promote the in-store experience? It would seem to be a big difference.
DARA: Definitely. I think that stores know they have to double down, especially stores that do things like exclusivity pop-ups. Supreme is a great example of a brand that does an incredible job at inviting people in, and the first X number of people that get online and can have this exclusivity, and get this product, it’s definitely a new way to shop. But what’s interesting is all that sort of rolls over into social, so it is all connected. Those experiences, those exclusive opportunities are sometimes only available via social. So, it forces you to follow their social channels, go in-store, connect with the sales folks, it’s really changing the face of retail.
DOUG: Interesting you say that because we just did a satellite media tour today with the restaurant brand and it was about an exclusive offering. If you went and got their app, you were opened up to a chance to save a bunch of money and a product you’d probably be getting anyway, but that’s a way that they’re building their following, they’re using social, they’re getting customers connected. What else might be different? What else should brands be thinking, especially with this possible shift to going to stores? Still, the online sales are up. How do you navigate where to put your efforts?
DARA: So, one thing that I think is really interesting is 56% of men want to shop online and 47% of women, which is sort of like gives me a second to pause, right? Because you would think it would be more women that want to be in-person, but what’s funny is that it’s men. Men want to be in retail and brick and mortar. And so, that’s certainly a big piece of it. But when it comes to online, I think the interesting pieces are the way people shop. It used to be that, you know, you’re a loyalist to a store and you’re only going to shop online in that store. And that is just not the case anymore. 60% of consumers are going to find the store and buy the item where they can get it the fastest. And 30% are interested in that brand loyalty to that one store. And so, that is definitely shifting. And so, it’s a matter of, can I get it faster from here, well, okay, I’m not going to go back to that same store that I used to always shop at.
DOUG: So, it seems like brands have to be increasingly marketing the service aspect of what they’re doing, not just the product.
DARA: Brands have to market every single piece of what they do today. One of the pieces that we found also interesting from this survey is that, I think it was something like 71% want to find ethical brands, but that’s a big piece. And so, everything matters. It’s not just about price anymore, it’s not just about location, it all matters. And I think that folks are also really wanting to shop local. Shopping local is really big, and there’s a really big push to want to go and shop in your own community and give back to your own community. And we’re certainly seeing that is a big point for 2022.
DOUG: Yeah, and that really aligns with what we’re seeing with brands increasingly wanting to be on local TV news all across the country. I mean, the demand for that is higher than it’s ever been, which really aligns well with what you found in the survey. Now, from your agency perspective, marketing, sort of the ethical nature of products, because that’s always been sort of a tricky area, you don’t want to be greenwashing or whatever it is you’re doing, you really want to be thoughtful, but yet it is an important characteristic for some and for many but not for all. How do you go about doing that in an intelligent way?
DARA I think what we find is that we’ve got a lot of brands that want to double down in the space of being ethical, whether it’s in the way they package or the way that they source materials, whatever those pieces are. There has been a very big push in the beauty world. Our beauty clients, we find that ethical and sustainable packaging is such an important part of every piece of what our brands and our clients are looking for. And our survey basically, you know, really doubled down on that information because we have brands that they feel like they don’t have a seat at the table unless they can talk about what their sustainability practices are. And so, the narrative is there, and it’s one of the first things the media look at is how do these brands compete with other brands, and how are they working to help the footprint of the United States, and whether that’s global warming or whatever that may be. But I certainly think that brands really care about sustainability and what the future looks like for their industry.
DOUG: Yeah, and it’s also for marketing, finding new frontiers for marketing. I don’t know how many beauty brands are there, you’ll probably tell me a whole bunch, but video games are a whole new area for brand integration. What are you finding from your reports on that? What are you seeing in the future?
DARA: It’s so cool. It’s so cool. Brands are so interested in connecting to video games, whether that’s having cool skins for Fortnite and even look at the NFL, Marvel, or beauty brands, spa brands. I mean, folks that are looking to create skins, create activations in games like Fortnite, and it’s resonating with consumers. It’s a whole new world where sort of gaming and retail collide. And so, I think we’re just at the very beginning and the tipping point of that is still sort of way, way out there. And brands are dipping their toe in that water to see how successful they can be, for sure.
DOUG: I’d just love for you to share where people can gain access to the report that you’ve put together.
DARA: The full report and some analysis of the report can be found on 5W’s website.
DOUG: Again, congratulations to you, and thanks so much for spending time with us.
DARA: Thank you so much.