Election, shipping among top 10 expectations, retailer challenges for 2020

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Election, shipping among top 10 expectations, retailer challenges for 2020

By Marianne Wilson - 02/18/2020
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The overwhelming majority (90%) of retailers will make some changes to how they market in 2020 because of the presidential election. But only 40% of Americans say the election will impact the brands they shop.

That’s according to RetailMeNot’s 2020 Retailer Playbook, which examines consumer preferences and retail marketers' strategies for the new decade. In other findings, 82% of Americans would rather receive free shipping than expedited shipping, and 51% are willing to wait longer for eco-friendly shipping options from retailers like Amazon. But once cost becomes a factor, 70% prefer the lowest price over environmental impact. 

Here are the top expectations and retailer challenges for 2020 as noted in the RetailMeNot report.  
1. Politics will impact retailer strategies, but consumers don't care as much as retailers expect. 
2. Consumers would rather get free shipping over expedited shipping, putting more pressure on retailers to offer competitive shipping deals. 
3. Shoppers prefer the lowest shipping cost over an eco-friendly shipping option. 
4. To avoid paying for shipping, most consumers would go in-store to purchase an item. 
5. Consumers expect retailers to provide expedited shipping options during the holiday season, resulting in less pressure to shop early 
6. White-glove concierge service is a "nice to have" — for now.  
7. Retailers are peeling back their investments in mobile and social advertising. 
8. Credit card rewards are undercutting retail loyalty programs. 
9. Few consumers have signed up for subscription services, despite early adoption by millennials. 
10. Amazon Prime Day may be the new Black Friday, with consumers saying they found better deals in July 2019 than on the historic shopping day in November.

In more shipping findings, 81% of Americans expect retailers to offer more expedited shipping options during the holidays in 2020. Exacerbating the situation, 44% of consumers admit they will shop later in the 2020 holiday season because they know they can receive items faster. Procrastinators will pose a major challenge for many brands as 63% of retailers struggle to keep up with shipping deals offered by their competitors.

In other findings from RetailMeNot:
• Forty-eight percent of retailers are more willing to take a public stand on social values in 2020. 
• Fifty-six percent are being more conscious of any political connections that can be made to what they post on social channels. 
•    Forty-four percent are designing marketing materials to tie the election into what they are selling 
•    Forty-three percent are having a sale  related to Election Day 

"Our 2020 trends show the continued changing preferences of consumers and the power they still hold over retailers," said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. "For example, RetailMeNot found at the beginning of 2019 that retailers were bullish about voice-assisted shopping but as the year unfolded, only 16% of consumers reported ever buying a product via their smart home speakers. As a result, only 38% of retailers plan to implement a voice-assisted shopping strategy this year."  

Click here to view the full 2020 Playbook.