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How to engage shoppers at the edge
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Retail Trends: How to Engage Shoppers at the Edge

It’s time retail put itself out there. Read on to discover the keys to winning at the edge bolstered by our latest research, and one retailer that ties it all together.

It’s time retail put itself out there. Where exactly? Well, anywhere your customers are. We call this shift — from pulling shoppers into the four walls of your store to meeting your customers on the apps, sites, and spaces they already frequent — shopping at the edge. We explored this new retail paradigm in our broadest consumer study to date, the Connected Shoppers Report

To learn what 10,000 shoppers had to say about this shifting retail model, check out this video.

Since our report launch in October, many retailers have come up to me to discuss the implications of this massive paradigm shift. Read on to discover the keys to winning at the edge bolstered by our latest research, and one retailer that ties it all together.

4 keys to success at the edge

Unlike fidget spinners, shopping at the edge is no fad: Already 9% of online purchases are made on emerging digital touchpoints. This trend is particularly pronounced among younger generations with Gen Zers 3.5x more likely than Baby Boomers to make purchases on third-party and other emerging platforms. As shopping at the edge is poised to become the norm, here’s how to set yourself up for success this decade. 

1. Embrace new platforms

Our study found that 60% of shoppers say their favorite brands engage them where they prefer. Increasingly, those places include social media and voice platforms like Amazon’s Alexa — or, if you’re my 13-year-old, making purchases on gaming consoles while playing Fortnite. Buying on social media isn’t limited to shoppable posts on Instagram, either. Viral video app TikTok is testing a shoppable-link-in-bio feature, allowing users to make purchases from user accounts without ever leaving the app.

60% of shoppers say their favorite brands engage

2. Synchronize across channels

Today, shoppers use an average of 7.6 different touchpoints to engage with brands. As shopping becomes increasingly distributed, it’s critical for retailers to stay aligned behind the scenes. Tactically speaking, that means ensuring products, pricing, inventory, and content are in-sync across all platforms.

7.6 different touch points per shopper journey

3. Measure success

As shopping journeys expand out from retailers’ owned properties, traditional KPIs like sales per square foot no longer cut it. Over two-thirds of consumers already use multiple channels to complete a single transaction–with each channel playing a key role in the purchasing process. In light of this increasingly distributed journey, retailers must evaluate their performance and marketing attribution wholistically–without pitting one channel against another.

67% of consumers use multiple channels

4. Be agile

Amid the frenzy of technological and behavioral change, brands must rethink traditional business, operating, and technology models in favor of agile solutions. This applies to both architectural solutions and teams. At this year’s Dreamforce Retail Keynote, Ahold Delhaize credited its agile and innovative team culture with bringing their Tap To Go stores from concept to market within nine months flat.

Bringing it all together

For a masterclass in applying these four principles to the edge, look no further than e.l.f. Cosmetics.

Elf cosmetics TikTok challenge

With the growing popularity of TikTok among its customer base, e.l.f. Cosmetics decided to experiment by creating a new song and TikTok challenge. It’s safe to say the challenge was accepted: within weeks, the #eyeslipsface challenge garnered over four billion views and inspired over two million response videos. What started off as a TikTok clip quickly ballooned into a Spotify chart-topper and soon after, a music video to capitalize on its momentum. e.l.f. kept their posts playful and shoppable, embedding links to featured products within their YouTube videos and content consistent across channels.

So don’t be afraid to experiment at the edge. In the words of e.l.f.’s CMO, Kory Marchisotto, “a ground-breaking TikTok campaign, a viral chart-topping song, and now the release of a music video in partnership with Republic Records is an illustration of our ability to break the rules of beauty.”

Class dismissed.

Want more data on the edge of shopping? It’s all in our new Connected Shoppers Report.


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