Three Ways Big Retail Chains Are Adapting in 2014

John Krautzel
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You can't get tomorrow's sales with yesterday's business practices. Businesses everywhere need to constantly reinvent and adapt sales strategies to ensure consistent profits. Big retail chains, in particular, face constant competition from online retailers and new companies. With that in mind, here are three ways that big retail chains are adapting to a changing retail environment.

Now that smartphones allow Internet access anywhere, big retail chains are seeing a significant increase in "showrooming" — the practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar retail store to view and inspect an item before ordering it for a lower price online. In 2014, big retail chains are choosing to embrace showrooming, offering shoppers price match guarantees if they find items online for a lower price.

This "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy gives customers the comfort of knowing they are getting the lowest possible price and the benefit of being able to purchase the item immediately instead of ordering it online and waiting for shipping. It also ensures that the retail chain makes the profit on the purchase, instead of the online competitor.

Another way that retail stores are adapting to shifting sales environments is by offering in-store-only deals. While retail chains have always offered sales to entice customers into stores, the in-store-only deal is slightly different. The customer sees the in-store-only deal offer while shopping online and decides to visit the store to take advantage of the deal. Often, the in-store-only deal is for an item that is only sold in stores and is not available online.

How does the in-store-only deal benefit retailers? When customers are inside brick-and-mortar stores, they are more likely to make additional purchases. Getting a customer inside the doors means being able to use sophisticated store layouts to entice customers to make impulse buys and large purchases.

The third way that retail chains are adapting marketing strategies in 2014 is by providing targeted, personalized advertising and sale offers. Big retail chains use high-tech, predictive algorithms to understand an individual customer's shopping history and predict which items that customer will buy in the future. Then, the retail chain crafts a personalized advertising strategy for that customer, offering deals on items the customer is most likely to buy.

This type of personalized advertising gets more and more technically savvy every year. Big retail chains work with major websites such as Facebook to ensure customers see their targeted ads. The chains invest large amounts of resources in predicting what each individual customer might want to buy and then giving that customer every available opportunity to purchase the item. Not surprisingly, this marketing strategy is extremely effective.

Retail stores are adapting to changing online and offline shopping trends by offering in-store-only deals, giving showroomers an opportunity to purchase in person and targeting advertising on an individual level. These are only a few of the changing techniques big retail chains are using in 2014, and these techniques are likely to change again in the next five years.


(Photo courtesy of artemisphoto /


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