The 5 Biggest Shopping Trends For 2022

Based on the past almost two years of living through the peak and valleys of COVID, retailers have upped their game in terms of the shopper journey. Here are the top five trends that customers can expect when shopping in the new year:

Trend 1: Physical stores remain a critical force for retail shopping

While online commerce will exceed $1 trillion in 2021, the brick and mortar stores will still be very relevant for shopping with 84% of sales coming from physical stores. The stores will become more experiential and will incorporate more technology within the shopping journey. QR codes will be used for product descriptions and information, finding stock or demonstrating product usage. Mobile phones will integrate with in-store shopping for price and stock checking, as well as for checking out seamlessly. Social interaction and shopping, one of Americans’ greatest pastimes, will be even more important as the country rises out of the pandemic next year and consumers will look for more opportunities to cultivate a sense of normalcy.

While online sales exceed $1 trillion in 2022, the brick and mortar stores will still be very relevant for shopping with 84% of sales coming from physical stores.

Trend 2: Bridging the gap between online shopping and in-store experiences

Better experiences between shopping online and visiting stores will be evident as retailers have worked hard over the past two years to build up these capabilities. Shoppers have witnessed this build-up over the past year in a major way with the curbside pickup, buy-online-pick up in store and direct shipping from vendors when stock is not available in stores. Retailers will continue to work on these types of strategies.

Trend 3: Shopping goes viral on social media

The hashtag tiktokmademebuyit, which has over three billion views, has given rise to social commerce. Andrew Lipsman eMarketer principal analyst of Insider Intelligence, in a recent webinar on Retail Trends 2022, predicts that viral commerce is a key growth area. Lipsmans discussed the $45 billion social commerce business which essentially is shopping through social media. Users can expect to see more offers, a broader range of products being offered through social media and an increase in special collaborations between brands, retailers and influencers. A recent trend on TikTok users posting their latest purchases with the hashtag tiktokmademebuyit which has over three billion views. Retailers, like Amazon, are curating online assortments that come from TikTok best sellers.

Trend 4: Near real-time delivery continues as shopper demand rises for these services

A rise in third-party delivery intermediaries has been seen across all sectors of retailing. Shoppers will see more and more retailers offering same day delivery with many retailers offering services within a two-hour window. Shipt, which is widely used by and owned by Target, has continued to grow in terms of number of product offerings and in terms of number of retail partners. Instacart does over $1.6 billion per year and plans to go public in the near future. Another aspect that facilitates this type of shopping is the growing usage of micro-fulfillment centers which are mini-distribution centers in local areas near where customers live. Retailers are using these centers to help with delivering products to the customer homes. Many retailers are offering areas in the mini-distribution centers where customers can pick up their orders. In some cases, individual stores have become fulfillment centers with pickers scouring the aisles for consumer orders.
A significant technology transforming micro-fulfillment is automation. Walmart, for example, is using automated bots to retrieve goods for online orders in the smaller fulfillment centers. The last area in delivery that shoppers may expect to see is more widely used is driverless trucks to transport products to customer homes.

Trend 5: Curtailed and more curated assortments

Supply chain disruptions abound throughout the last year and a half. This year has been particularly troublesome for many retailers and brands across a wide variety to product categories. As a result, many retailers have significantly reduced the assortment of products within categories. Shoppers can expect to find less choices in terms of style, color, or features. The U.S. market has historically been overstored and over assorted with product choices, especially in the fashion goods category including clothes, accessories and shoes. Less choice and better curated assortments should translate to a positive shopping experience for customers. As we reflect back on the shopping experiences from the past year, it can be said that the overall experience and convenience of shopping has greatly improved. This overall trend will continue well into 2022.

This article was written by Shelley E. Kohan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Omicron Impact: Consumers Experiencing a Shortage of Retail Workers and Increased Wait Times at Checkout

Shopkick survey finds 73 percent of consumers are vaccinated but still expect retailers to enforce safety precautions as Omicron cases continue to rise

Although it is officially 2022, it may feel like years past as the Omicron variant continues to sweep the nation, forcing Americans to face another year of the pandemic. The impact is real, as the majority of consumers (73 percent) say they have noticed a shortage of retail workers while shopping in-person, as well as an increase in wait times while checking out (71 percent) and less available essential items (52 percent).Shopkick, a leading shopping rewards app, surveyed nearly 8,500 consumers across the country to gain an understanding of how the Omicron variant is impacting their shopping habits and behavior. The online survey was conducted between January 6 – 13, 2022.

Key Insights Include:

  • Consumers and Vaccines: It has been a year since vaccinations rolled out across the United States and the majority of consumers (73 percent) have chosen to get fully vaccinated, with 47 percent having also been boosted. When asked why they decided to get vaccinated, the majority said to protect themselves (85 percent) and protect others around them (81 percent). Comparatively, 20 percent say they are not vaccinated and do not plan to be.
  • Omicron Fallout: Due to COVID-19 cases rising, the majority of consumers have noticed a shortage of retail workers while shopping in-person and an increase in wait times while checking out (73 percent and 71 percent respectively). Additionally, nearly half of consumers (47 percent) have experienced a shortage of at-home COVID test kits at their local pharmacy and grocery stores.
  • Still In-Store and Gathering Indoors: Despite the spike in Omicron cases, the majority of shoppers (59 percent) are taking the same number of trips to the store as they were a month ago and over half (53 percent) are still comfortable participating in public indoor activities.
  • Shopper Safety Precautions: Consumers are still taking trips to the store, but 73 percent are taking additional precautions while shopping due to the rise of Omicron. Precautions include masking up (90 percent), using disinfectants on hands and carts (79 percent), shopping at less busy times (69 percent), using self-checkout (63 percent), using touchless or contactless payments to avoid exchanging cash (31 percent), and frequenting cashier-less stores (7 percent).
  •  Retailer Safety Precautions: Consumers also want retailers to take steps to protect shoppers, as the majority (71 percent) expect in-store safety precautions such as disinfecting carts (84 percent), enforcing social distancing (65 percent), mandating masks (72 percent), limiting store capacity (40 percent), and putting a cap on the number of essential products each shopper can purchase (37 percent)
  • Gen Z Stocks Up: While the majority of consumers (66 percent) are not stocking up on essential items in preparation for another lockdown, Gen Zers are most likely to stock up (41 percent), compared to Baby boomers (35 percent), Millennials (35 percent), Gen X (34 percent), and the Silent generation (34 percent).

“As consumers continue to shop in-store, it is essential that retailers prioritize safety and implement the necessary precautions to keep shoppers’ minds at ease,” said Brittany Billings, EVP, strategic markets & marketing at Shopkick. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been continuously forcing the world to adapt and the Omicron variant has presented new challenges for consumers and retailers alike. These survey findings further reveal the need for retailers to adopt seamless, omnichannel shopping channels that can help address the pressing issues of supply shortages and a reduced retail workforce.”

About Shopkick, Inc.

Shopkick, a Trax company, is a leading shopping rewards app, bringing moments of joy to everyday shopping – both on- and off-line. For brands and retailers, Shopkick provides high consumer engagement along the entire path to purchase. The company’s unique pay-for-performance model has been proven to deliver high ROI while driving incremental traffic, product engagement, and sales. Some of its leading brand and retail partners include Kraft-Heinz, Barilla, GE, Kellogg’s, TJ Maxx, and Unilever, among others.Shopkick is available for free on iPhone from the App Store and for Android from Google Play. For more information, please visit

Retailers turn to hybrid cloud and AI to meet shifting consumer behaviors

As the pandemic has transformed the nature of work with more employees working from home than ever before it has also changed how consumers shop according to new study from IBM and the National Retail Federation.

The new global study of over 19,000 titled “Consumers want it all” revealed that hybrid shopping which mixes physical and digital channels in shopping journeys is on the rise as a result of shopping habits consumers adopted out of necessity that are now becoming routine.

Of those surveyed, almost three quarters (72%) said that they use retail stores as all or part of their primary purchase method. The reasons they gave for visiting a store include touching and feeling products before buying them (50%), picking and choosing their own products (47%) and getting products right away (43%).

However, 27 percent of respondents said that hybrid shopping, where part of their shopping journey is conducted online and the other half takes place in a retail store, is their method of choice. When it came to the generation most likely to be a ‘hybrid shopper’, Gen Z consumers lead the way when compared to other age groups.

VP of research and development and industry analysis at the National Retail Federation, Mark Matthews explained in a press release how hybrid shopping represents a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, saying:

“While many surveyed consumers still place high value on the traditional in- store shopping experience, they also now expect the flexibility to build their own shopping journey – according to the behaviors prevalent to their age
range, available tools and the product category they are looking to purchase. This ‘hybrid’ approach is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.”

Growing importance of sustainability

While adoption of hybrid cloud, AI and other technologies can allow retailers to create bespoke hybrid shopping experiences, IBM’s new study has also revealed that they’ll need to keep sustainability in mind to retain and grow their customer base.

Purpose-driven consumers that choose products and brands based on their own values like sustainability are now the largest segment of consumers surveyed (44%) according to the study. At the same time, 62 percent of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact which is up from 57 percent two years ago.

Half of respondents said they are now willing to pay an average premium of 70 percent for sustainability which is roughly double the premium from 2020. Still though, there is a gap between intention and action with only 31 percent of respondents saying that sustainable products made up most or all of their last purchase.

Global managing director of IBM Consumer Industries, Luq Niazi provided further insight on the study’s findings and the growing importance of sustainability to consumers, saying: “The survey shows over the last year, sustainability became increasingly important to consumers, though there’s still a gap between their intentions and actions due to lack of information in the buying process. Increasingly, it’s becoming essential that retail brands demonstrate sustainable choices and options in each step of the customer experience. At the same time, hybrid shopping has taken hold in most categories, particularly in home goods and apparel; and while stores continue to play the predominant role in grocery, hybrid shopping is growing in these categories too.” We’ve also rounded up the best e-commerce platforms and best shopping cart software.

This article was written by Anthony Spadafora from TechRadar and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to


Shoppers Returned To Stores For The Holidays

Shopper traffic to physical retail stores has strongly rebounded from 2020. Data from, a company which measures shopper visits across a wide range of physical stores including grocery, apparel, big box, department and specialty, indicate that shoppers returned for the 2021 holiday season.

Store visits were higher than 2020 and slightly ahead of 2019

Ethan Chernofsky, vice president marketing of, discussed how retailers were simultaneously concerned that supply chain issues would lead to a lack of products in stores, labor shortages would limit professionals to staff those same locations and COVID would impact consumer demand for in store visits. And while the effects of all of these issues were felt, overall retail holiday visits for 2021 still remained relatively close to, if not above, 2019 levels and far ahead of 2020 numbers. 

Chernofsky said, “The ability to drive success even in the face of a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges is a massive testament to the ongoing consumer demand for physical retail. While the sector is clearly evolving in a direction that demands greater omnichannel alignment, the continued centrality of the physical store received a major vote of confidence over the holiday retail season.” 

Retail category weekly visits (including all retail categories measured by, began trending up in June of 2021. With the exception of a few weeks, the upward trend compared to 2019 continued throughout the holiday season. data includes grocery, big box, specialty stores and department stores among other segments.  Total retail category visits remained higher than 2019 for the majority of the weeks starting around June 2021. 

Courtesy of 

Strong holiday sales and foot traffic were experienced across many retailers as compared to last year and were moderately improved from 2019. However, many retailers calculate the holiday selling period from November to December (the six weeks from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day). In 2021 many holiday sales and shopping visits took place in October. Best Buy, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods showed strong store visits early in season. Target, Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods experienced significant increases in October store visits compared to 2019. 

Courtesy of 

November and December shopper visits down but sales are up

According to data from RetailNext, a company that measures store shopping visits to physical retail stores, sales for the holiday period measured from November 1 through December 25 were up 1.4% compared to 2019.  The amount shoppers were spending per visit was up 17.8% and the number of shoppers making purchases was higher by 2.4% compared to 2019. 

Courtesy of RetailNext 

While overall shopper visits were down 21.7%, the amount shoppers were spending per visit was up 17.8% and the number of shoppers making purchases was higher by 2.4%. Lauren Bitar, head of insights for RetailNext, said, “This was driven by a strong intent to buy from shoppers who were going into stores, sales being bolstered by curbside and other services, as well as that high average ticket price which was up to 19.3% compared to 2019 and 17.3% compared to 2020.” 

Black Friday shopping shifts to October but still remains a top shopping day data indicated that many retailers saw significant reductions in visits on Black Friday itself, partly caused by many of the Black Friday deals starting in October. However, this did not impact the overall success of the holiday season. 

Chernofsky noted that Target saw a 3.1% decline on Black Friday even though November visits were up 3.8%. Best Buy, a brand that traditionally sees huge traffic increases on Black Friday, saw visits down 23.9% on the day, even though November visits were down just 12.8% and October visits were up 10.2%. “The ability of many brands to drive success over a more extended period without the same onslaught of visits will likely drive a continued push for an extended season in years to come,” Chernofsky stated. 

Sensormatic Solutions, which monitors and measures shopper traffic to physical stores, released information for the six-week period from Sunday prior to Thanksgiving through January 1, 2022, showing shopper traffic down 19.5% compared to 2019. 

Super Saturday is still super

Compared to Super Saturday 2019 shopper traffic was down 26.3% this year, however, Sensormatic Solutions has ranked Super Saturday the second busiest shopping day. “For the last five years, Super Saturday is the second busiest shopping day in the U.S., falling only behind Black Friday,” said Peter McCall, senior manager of retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions. “There were only three Saturdays in December leading up to Christmas Day this year. As we expected, Super Saturday remains a big part of consumers’ holiday shopping plans to grab last-minute items with supply chain issues delaying the arrival of online orders in time for holiday celebrations.” 

According to Sensormatic Solutions, the biggest shopping days for physical retail are ranked as follows: 

  1. Friday, November 26 – Black Friday 
  2. Saturday, December 18 – Super Saturday 
  3. Thursday, December 23 – Thursday before Christmas 
  4. Saturday, December 11 – 2nd Saturday in December 
  5. Saturday, November 27 – Saturday after Thanksgiving 
  6. Saturday, December 4 – 1st Saturday in December 
  7. Sunday, December 19 – Sunday before Christmas 
  8. Wednesday, December 22 – Wednesday before Christmas 9. Monday, December 20 – Monday before Christmas 
  9. Tuesday, December 21 – Tuesday before Christmas 

As retailers tabulate the results of the 2021 holiday season, October was a key factor in the stronger performance over 2019. While store traffic was down in November and December across many retail segments, the higher purchasing power by consumers was able to lift sales above 2019 levels for physical retail stores.

This article was written by Shelley E. Kohan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to



The Top Digital Trends To Watch In 2022

The world is more digital now than ever before and that’s sure to last in 2022. 

Ninety percent of Americans say the internet has been essential to them during the pandemic. Indeed, basic everyday tasks such as buying groceries, connecting with family, and conducting business have been upended to rely on digital media. The pandemic ignited and expedited digital adoption, the aftermath of which will continue to percolate across all industries for years to come — and marketing is no exception. 

The biggest brand victories and failures won’t be won or lost on traditional commercials. They’ll happen on TikTok, Instagram, eSports, and smart speakers. The recommendations consumers trust most won’t come from celebrities on infomercials. They’ll be from nano-influencer on Stories, Reels, and Shorts. 

The savviest brands, employers, and users will navigate 2022 using a ‘digital first’ mentality with a focus on monitoring and activating these key trends:   

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality   

Virtual and augmented reality were growing trends before the pandemic but quarantine, remote work, and the lasting purgatory between pre-and-post pandemic life accelerated adoption. Need further convincing? The parent company of the world’s largest social network, Facebook, recently changed its name to Meta. That’s short for the metaverse, a virtual world where people socialize, work, and play.  Just this week, Meta launched Horizon Worlds, a free app for socializing in virtual reality, available to users ages 18 and up in the U.S. and Canada. 

The metaverse isn’t a new concept, nor is it distinct to Facebook. Back in March, Microsoft announced Mesh, a new mixed-reality platform that allows people in different places to collaborate and share holographic experiences across devices. 

Virtual and augmented reality trends extend beyond Big Tech. Consumer brands such as Sephora and Warby Parker adopted augmented reality years ago to make online shopping more experiential and efficient. But Facebook’s big bet on the metaverse gives it new weight and momentum. So, will 2022 be the year B2B marketers crack the meta nut? 

Voice Search 

Smart speakers saw record growth in 2020, with over 150 million units sold globally. Voice search is poised to continue to grow in the coming years. Why? The biggest reasons are intuitive: it’s easy and hands-free. 71 percent of consumers favor voice-searching to type-searching. Voice shopping is projected to reach $40 billion in 2022 and by 2024, there are projected to be 8.4 billion voice devices across the globe. 

There are admittedly technological limitations with voice search, which relies on Natural Language Processing but even so, Google’s speech recognition has a 95% accuracy rate for English searches. Google Voice Search also offers massive global scale, supporting more than 100 languages. 

Consumer brands, such as Domino’s, have been active in this space for some time. Back in 2016, Domino’s launched its skill on Amazon Echo, which enables users to order delivery via Echo. 

The next phase of winning in voice search will transcend beyond basic speaker skills and into all digital content. In 2022, companies and brands who optimize their websites and content for voice search will drive more traffic to their site and increase their SEO ranking. 


By the end of 2021, the global eSports audience is projected to reach 474 million users, with revenues of nearly $1.1 billion. eSports are on the rise but still in their nascent stage, which means a massive opportunity for those who get it right.   

Verizon is well-known for being cutting edge in their digital marketing – and eSports is no exception. In 2020, Verizon became an official partner of League of Legends regional league and earlier this year, Verizon and video game developer Riot Games expanded this partnership with Verizon becoming a partner across League of Legend’s three annual global events.   

With evolving pandemic-related regulations on in-person sporting events and large venues, 2022 could be the year eSports adoption and sponsorships go mainstream. 

Digital Payment 

The more time users spend on digital, the more money they spend on digital. Person-to-person payments had promising growth pre-pandemic and COVID-19 ignited and expedited this trajectory. 

In 2020, PayPal volume payment growth was up a record 31% and that’s not slowing any time soon. PayPal projects a similar increase, of about 30%, in 2021. And it’s not just PayPal, payments and social media continue to converge through the rise of other platforms such as Venmo and Zelle. In Q3 2021, Zelle processed $127 billion on 466 million transactions.   

Major corporations, small businesses, and everyday users are relying more on digital payments for everything from buying a car to reimbursing a friend for lunch. 


The rise of TikTok during the pandemic was widely reported. In Q1 2020, TIkTok received 315 million downloads – that’s more quarterly downloads than any app in history but whether TikTok maintains dominance on the micro-video market remains to be seen. Afterall, Instagram usurped Snapchat in Stories – so will the platform eclipse TikTok in Reels? Time will tell but early metrics are promising. 87% of Gen-Z TikTok users agree that Reels is very similar to TikTok. Reels also receive 22% more engagement than regular video content. 

Instagram Reels isn’t the only micro-video format poised for growth in 2022. Take YouTube Shorts, a short-form video experience launched by Google in 2020, for example. The biggest case for YouTube Shorts is their institutional userbase: every month, 2 billion viewers visit YouTube.  

Brands who capitalize on this micro-video trend – and seemingly algorithmically favored format — will win in 2022. 

Nano-Influencer Marketing 

By the end of 2021, influencer marketing is projected to reach $13.8 billion but not all influencers influence equally. Studies show that nano-influencers, those with fewer than 5,000 followers drive the highest engagement rate, followed next by micro-influencers, users with 5,000-20,000 followers. In fact, users with over 1 million followers drive the lowest engagement rate. That’s why 77% of marketers would rather work with micro-influencers than celebrities. 

Another perk of nano and micro-influencers is their smaller following typically makes them more affordable. Micro-influencers can activate more targeted, niche audiences and are often considered more authentic and trustworthy by their followers. 

To-date, influencer marketing has been most effective for brands targeting Gen-Z but as Gen-Z ages and Millennials, Gen-X, and Boomers all spend more time online, there could be a white space for brands to sway more demographics via influencer marketing. 

Privacy Regulation 

So, what won’t grow in 2022? Third-party cookies usage. 

This year, Google announced Chrome will phase out support for third-party cookies by 2023. Apple launched a pop-up on iPhones that asks users for permission to be tracked by apps and Facebook announced its engineers are working on a workaround to serve relevant ads to users without leveraging personal data. 

As Big Tech rolls out these new privacy restrictions, more platforms and regulation are expected to follow suit and the implications could pose serious limitations for advertisers.   

As platforms, formats, regulations, and the pandemic continue to evolve, adaptability will remain the greatest asset for brands, employers, and users looking to build an effective and resilient digital strategy in 2022.

This article was written by Katy Finneran from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

3 best practices for retailers expanding from online to in-store

As the world reopens, retailers are focused on safely welcoming back customers and resetting operations. Many brands, including digital pure plays, are eyeing new customer journeys and new business models. 

For example, Fabletics and Amazon are taking advantage of retail real estate vacancies and launching or expanding their physical presence. To the surprise of many pundits, physical store expansion plans continue to outpace closures. According to U.S. store tracking by Coresight Research, national retailers have announced 3,199 store openings and 2,548 closures year-to date. 

The evolution of e-commerce brands to omnichannel retailers has been measured. Many are new to store operations and the realities of in-person experiential retail. This will demand they form new capabilities and competencies that meet the customer wherever they are and on their terms.

Let’s explore several best practices for success as retailers adjust to the real world. 

Understanding consumer expectations  

Shopping pathways and buying psychology vary dramatically by customer journey. For many, shopping is a social connection and an interpersonal experience. At the same time, online shopping may offer more convenience; discovering products while browsing is a key factor that brings consumers in store. 

Before the pandemic in the 2019 Oracle Retail consumer study, 36% of consumers ranked discovery as a space to experiment and try new products and a top priority on their shopping journey. Also, as state restrictions lift, consumers return to stores, and brick-and-mortars need to have fully stocked inventory ready for the influx. If retailers can’t provide, shoppers will take their wallets elsewhere. According to a 2021 Oracle Retail study, 34% of respondents said out-of-stock merchandise topped their list for a bad shopping experience, 33% said they weren’t willing to wait for an item to be back in stock before trying another brand, and 27% will go to another retailer. 

Even as they return to stores, shoppers are still focused on health and safety. Today’s consumers demand a clean and healthy environment while on their shopping journeys. This isn’t an issue that e-commerce companies will have encountered online; however, this will need to be a top priority for brands looking to pivot. According to the same 2021 Oracle study, 80% of shoppers are ready to shop in a retail store as long as safety precautions are in place (e.g., wearing a mask, cleaning procedures, etc.), with 28% of shoppers reporting a lack of social distancing/unclean environment would result in a bad shopping experience. 

Incorporating retail technology  

As digital brands are extending their operations to the main street, they bring a wealth of technology and insights. e-commerce offers brands countless ways to personalize the shopping experience and provide convenience to consumers. Direct to consumer brands and pureplay retailers will need to figure out how to translate these strategies to real life in the offline world. Digital brands looking to pivot will need to reimagine how their online strategy will work in-store. Utilizing the right technology is vital, and choosing a robust POS and retail platform is integral to successful in-store operations. It is not as simple as adding a cash drawer to your website and hoping it all goes well. 

No matter the channel, customers want convenience in their shopping experience. As consumers will far outnumber store associates, retailers looking to pivot will need to explore innovative options, such as self-checkout, BOPIS, pay-by-link, pay-by-QR code, and other tech-forward ways getting customers out the door.

Instead of spikes in web traffic, new brick-and-mortar retailers will need to anticipate the ebbs and flows of in-store demand. These retailers should consider demand forecasting technology to predict everyday traffic and get ahead of the busy end-of-year holiday season. They will need a system that utilizes next-generation retail science and exception-driven processes to predict demand accurately. 

Upgrading with staff training  

As new brick-and-mortar stores open, retailers will naturally need to hire and train new staff to keep up. However, for the road ahead, staff training will need to go beyond the basics and be integral to physical stores’ success. As vaccinations usher in return to normalcy for retail, store associates who came aboard during the pandemic will need to adapt to growing foot traffic and the associated demands. 

Customers will want to know where every product is, what discounts are available, if more stock is in the back, and which check-out lane is the quickest. They’ll expect the associate to handle every inquiry and meet every demand quickly. For example, 44% of consumers ranked unhelpful staff as defining a bad shopping experience, which shows how imperative knowledgeable staff is, per the 2021 study. 

Store associates will need to be well-equipped to handle all expectations and questions that come their way. Retailers moving from online to the real world can help bridge the gap by integrating mobile devices or tablets for associates to use, putting information at their fingertips. These devices can help staff locate items and inventory, highlight customer profiles and suggestions to help associates provide better service, and can even serve as the point of sale for check out. Training staff for this experience will be imperative so associates can make the most of in-store technologies and leverage them to provide an excellent customer service experience. 

Breaking into brick-and-mortar can be an exciting next step for e-commerce brands, but it requires proper planning and preparation. Customers, and their needs, are different in each arena, and retailers will need to understand how to cater to the two. As digital retailers step into the real world, ultimately, they will need to anticipate the behaviors and demands of in-store consumers, incorporate technology to offer a more seamless experience, and train their staff adequately to make the entire customer journey worthwhile. With the world moving towards reopening, it’s time to step into (or back into) the real world and prepare for the future of retail. 

Millennials and Brand Loyalty

Why is brand loyalty important? For any business, large or small, customers matter. One of the main goals for many it to ensure customers continually come back for product or service. That’s why building brand loyalty is of the utmost importance. While there are hurdles to get any age group to become brand loyal, Millennials can be a complicated group to convince to commit. Here are some tips on how to increase brand loyalty among the age demographic.

Get to Know Millennials 

Compared to Baby Boomers, you may have the perception that Millennials go rogue on brands. While they are more likely to experiment with different businesses, Millennials actually want to be brand loyal. In fact, they’re 1.75x more likely than Boomers to say they’d like to be brand-loyal. So what’s stopping them? 


One factor is income. It may come as no surprise that as household income increases, so does the likelihood of loyalty. In a survey by Facebook IQ, people surveyed who report a household income of $150,000 or more are 32% more likely to be loyal than those who report a household income of under $35,000.  A higher income brings flexibility in choices. With more money, you have the ability to pick companies that match your values, meet your needs, and deliver on promises. If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in the budget, you may need to shop around for desirable sales and cost effective options more often. 


Vertical markets, or “verticals,” are business niches where vendors serve a specific audience and their set of needs. When we look into specific verticals, we can see some variations among Millennials. Furthermore, in some verticals Millennials are just as likely to be brand loyalists as Baby Boomers. 

Looking into verticals where experience and price play a bigger role, we lose loyalty among the age group. For example, this can include airlines and hotels. Here are more barriers Millennials face when making the decision to stay loyal within different verticals. 

  • 2.00x more likely to cite a store’s level of hygiene as a barrier for  HOTELS 
  • 2.00x more likely to cite a lack of healthy options as a barrier for  RESTAURANTS 
  • 2.50x more likely to cite a store’s level of hygiene as a barrier for  GROCERY 
  • 1.44x more likely to cite a move in location as a barrier for AUTO INSURANCE 
  • 2.33x more likely to cite a difficulty to reach or contact as a barrier for AIRLINES 

New Parents 

Another factor that impacts how Millennials spend in a huge way is whether they are parents. When a child is in the mix, a customer is going to be hyper aware of what they are spending where. They will be looking for the best fit for their family. Once they find it, they’ll typically stick with it. In fact, 42% of  new parents describe themselves as loyal compared to 36% of non-parents. 

Interestingly enough, new parents tend to be more loyal in verticals that non parents are not as loyal in, like hotels. This is especially true of verticals with products and services that tend to be more experiential. Based on Facebook IQ’s study, our best guess is that the desire to experiment with different businesses gets replaced by the need for stability. Parents want to stick with what they know works and cut out the other fuss. 

How Can I Build Brand Loyalty? 

Those surveyed were asked, regardless of household income, to describe the brands they love most. When divided into features of brand loyalty – consistency, cost, quality and experience – the largest group of words was under experience. Though price matters, experience seems to outweigh them all. 


Be sure to put focus on delivering an exceptional experience, no matter the service or product. According to the study, creating a meaningful, memorable and noteworthy experience is critical to cementing a brand’s relationship with people. Also consider ideas that celebrate the good times had between you and customers. 


You can also connect through personalized communication. This is one way to build trust. Use personalized service through 1:1 communication. Companies are increasingly using messaging tools to better meet the needs of their audiences. 


Because of the digital sphere and online technology, people are oversaturated with advertisements 24/7. Now, they crave realness. When a brand is authentic and transparent, it stands out against the noise. In fact, 66%  of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand. And in a study run by Cohn & Wolfe, 63% of consumers said they would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over a competitor.

Foursquare partners with Shopkick to enhance in-app experience and more

Shopkick will use Pilgrim SDK and FSQ/Places Database to help brands and retailers uncover consumer insights and deliver more rewards to app users.

With the holiday season upon us, shoppers are on the hunt for the best deals and rewards – both online and in-store. Meanwhile, after many months of shifting consumer behaviors due to the pandemic, retailers are in need of data that can provide consumer insights, purchasing habits, and preferences. To help guide customers as they shop and help businesses better understand consumers’ shopping behaviors and needs, Foursquare is announcing its partnership with Shopkick, a leading shopping rewards app.

Come 2022, Shopkick will launch a revamped new app experience using both Pilgrim SDK and Foursquare Places data. Foursquare’s technology and data will enable the Shopkick app to deliver relevant, insightful push notifications and branded content directly to app users based on their location. The result? Greater rewards for shoppers and richer consumer insights for businesses.

How Does The Shopkick App Work?

Shopkick is a mobile rewards app that was acquired by Trax, the leading provider of retail computer vision solutions and analytics, back in 2019. The Shopkick app sends proximity-based push notifications to help lead the shopping journey, encouraging customers to take certain actions like enter a specific store or engage with in-aisle and branded in-app content. The app’s “kicks” feature enables shoppers to earn rewards and gift cards by simply purchasing products and uploading the receipts.

Additionally, this mobile experience helps Shopkick’s brand and retail partners learn more about their customers and determine how best to engage with them.

Leveraging Foursquare’s Location Data Technology

Prior to partnering with Foursquare, Shopkick had previously relied on a combination of in-house solutions and external tools – such as geofencing – in order to identify customer presence in a store to provide relevant in-app and proximity messaging.

Foursquare will now be the sole provider of Shopkick’s location capabilities with our Pilgrim SDK, which includes our unique Snap-to-Place technology — an algorithm trained by more than 15 billion signals over the past 12+ years that is able to more accurately determine where and when a mobile device visited a venue compared to geofencing and other technologies that rely solely on GPS signals. Our proprietary mall mode feature, for example, allows our Pilgrim SDK to more accurately identify visits to “super venues,” which are locations of extreme density that often encompass several other venues.

This level of precision is especially useful to apps like Shopkick, whose users frequent malls and other commercial venue-dense environments.

Shopkick will also be utilizing Foursquare Places as their system of record for layering their own data, deals, rewards, merchant database and more.

“Foursquare’s technology not only helps accurately reach Shopkick users but also gives them the opportunity to earn kicks at more places,” said Sheila Mefta, Vice President of Product and Design at Shopkick. “In the testing phase, Shopkick found Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK to be extremely accurate in identifying thousands of unique locations out of the box, making this partnership with their stellar team a no-brainer.”

Using Location Data To Bridge The Gap Between Brands With Consumers

Shopkick’s ultimate goal is to engage with customers at the right place and right time, and Foursquare will help it do just that.

“Shopkick is a leader in mobile retail beloved by many millions of consumers — their team carries wide-ranging expertise with location technology and this partnership only further validates Foursquare’s market-leading position,” said Patrick Hu, Managing Director, Business Development & Product Partnerships at Foursquare.

The partnership additionally opens the door for greater business opportunity and growth. Location data continues to help drive real, impactful business results and Foursquare’s work with Shopkick will help generate new or greater collaboration with brands and retailers.

“2022 will prove to be a critical year for retail and other brick-and-mortar industries that were heavily impacted by the pandemic,” Hu said. “As consumers have shifted toward on-demand delivery, location technology and data have become vital components for bridging the online-to-offline gap and delivering a high-value in-person experience. Foursquare looks forward to collaborating more deeply with Shopkick and other Trax solutions, along with others across the broader mobile and retail space.”

Shopkick is available for free on iPhone from the App Store and for Android from Google Play. For more information, please visit

CPG Industry Challenges 2021

The global pandemic has had a double-sided impact on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. On the one hand, stay-at-home lockdown orders spurred incredible demand for several categories of consumer goods. According to a recent study, CPG brands experienced more absolute growth in 2020 than in the four years from 2016 to 2019. As beneficial as this surge in demand was for many companies, it also caused temporary shortages across multiple essential CPG categories (famously, toilet paper) and led to a decline in brand loyalty when necessity trumped preference. 

There have been notable recoveries in both the fight against COVID-19 and in the stabilization of consumer packaged goods. Still, the CPG industry will face significant challenges in the back half of 2021 and beyond. Increasing production and shipping costs are likely to have the most direct impact on how competitive companies will fare amid rising inflation. And with consumers becoming increasingly price-conscious, CPG brands will need to find ways to increase profits without passing these costs along to consumers. 

Production and shipping costs continue to rise

Unfortunately, the CPG industry will likely continue facing price increases remainder of 2021 and beyond. The cost of raw materials rose 4.2% between March of 2020 and March of 2021, while labor costs for CPG manufacturers followed the same pattern. 

Shipping complications added on another layer of complexity for manufacturers. Due to high product demand across several categories during the pandemic, CPG companies had to improve their supply chains to ensure products remained on shelves. 

Yet any CPG manufacturer that relies on raw materials from overseas is likely still going to struggle with shipping, both in cost and time. A shipping container shortage, among other factors, has increased international shipping rates in the double digits. Domestically, the long-term truck driver shortage persists, despite increasing wages for drivers. 

Costs are getting passed on to consumers

With the continued rise of production and shipping costs, most CPG companies have been forced to pass these costs on to consumers. All told, the upward push from inflation could cause CPG prices to rise as much as 10% this year. This is undoubtedly concerning for many and could stand to wipe out the wage gains that many consumers have received amid an unprecedented demand for employment.

CPG companies can only pass a limited amount of their costs onto consumers before something gives. The highly competitive market for consumer goods leaves very little wiggle room for pricing too far upward. National CPG brands may find themselves especially conscious of this, given wider consumer interest in lower-cost private label options sold by retailers that often undercut name brands by a considerable percentage.

Rewards programs can deliver a competitive edge

The CPG market is already highly competitive and economic pressures are hitting companies from all sides. As inflation and production costs continue to rise and the potential for supply disruptions remains present, CPG companies need to establish new strategies to drive sales without passing cost burdens along to already price-conscious consumers. 

Considering one of the main challenges that CPG brands are facing is rises in costs across the board, the worst thing a company can do is further dilute profit margins by providing a discount. One solution could be to incorporate incentive programs that provide consumers with something valuable in exchange for their purchase, rather than just a one-time discount.

Incentive programs come in many shapes and sizes. While many use coupons and discounts to influence purchase behavior, this structure dilutes profit margins and drives one-time sales, rather than long-term loyalty and affinity. Others, like Shopkick, offer rewards points in exchange for purchase at full price. This structure allows partners to drive sales in a brand-aligned way without associating their brand or product with a discount. 

Tyson, for example, discovered the value in reward programs after a successful campaign with Shopkick that drove an impressive 4:1 ROI. Using our unique rewards model, Tyson was able to drive incremental sales amongst both new and existing customers without relying on margin-diluting coupons, discounts, or cash-back incentives. In fact, 62% of those who went on to purchase at full price were new or infrequent customers.

Implementing rewards programs like Shopkick can help CPG brands and retailers weather these difficult times through establishing meaningful relationships with customers, maintaining profit margins, and incentivizing shoppers to select your brand over competitors. To learn more about how Shopkick can help you succeed in 2021 and beyond, get in touch with our team


Despite Vaccinations, Americans Still Expect Safety Precautions When Shopping In-store

Shopkick survey uncovers consumer sentiment toward COVID-19 vaccines and how it will impact current shopping habits

For some, widespread vaccinations offer a glimmer of hope that life will soon return to normal. However, with many Americans (44 percent) planning not to receive the vaccine, consumers say vaccinations will hardly change their current shopping behaviors. In fact, nearly all consumers (96 percent) say they will continue to take personal safety precautions while shopping, and of those who have already received the vaccine, less than half (48 percent) report feeling more comfortable shopping in-store now. 

In its ongoing commitment to support brand and retail partners with regular insights during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shopkick surveyed more than 20,000 consumers between Jan. 20-24, 2021, to learn about current shopping behaviors and how the vaccine impacts those habits. 

National Vaccine Insights:

  • Many consumers do not plan to get the vaccine. While most consumers surveyed have either already received the vaccine (8 percent) or plan to receive it (48 percent), 44 percent say they do not plan to get vaccinated.
  • Millennials are the least confident in the vaccine. Millennials make up the largest segment of people not confident in the vaccine (35 percent) and do not plan to get vaccinated (51 percent). Comparatively, America’s youngest and oldest consumers appear the most confident in the vaccine, with 71 percent of Gen Zers and 75 percent of Boomers feeling some level of confidence.
  • Vaccinations do not mean consumers will flood back indoors. Of those who have already received the vaccine, less than half (48 percent) report feeling more comfortable shopping in-store and taking part in other indoor activities, and only 18 percent say they will do so more frequently now vaccinated. Similarly, of those who plan to get the vaccine, only 15 percent say they will shop in-store or take part in indoor activities more frequently after receiving the vaccination.
  • Personal health and safety habits are here to stay. Nearly all of those who have already been vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated say they will continue to take personal safety precautions while shopping in-store (96 percent and 97 percent, respectively). Precautions include wearing protective face coverings (93 percent), using disinfectants (87 percent), shopping at less busy times (66 percent), using debit or credit cards to avoid exchanging cash (66 percent), using self-checkout (58 percent), or wearing protective gloves (21 percent).
  • Consumers expect health and safety to remain top-of-mind for retailers. Even if a large majority of Americans are vaccinated, 79 percent of consumers expect retailers to continue enforcing health and safety restrictions, such as requiring protective face coverings for shoppers and employees (89 percent), offering disinfectants for shoppers (86 percent), enforcing 6-feet-social distancing (80 percent), keeping plexiglass barriers at checkout (74 percent), and limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside (62 percent). According to 62 percent of respondents, enforcing these guidelines will influence where they choose to shop.

Additional Insights Include:

  • More than half of consumers are using BOPIS for essential purchases. As consumers try out different options for picking up the essentials, 55 percent say they are now using BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) at varying degrees, including sometimes (35 percent), often (11 percent), or very often (9 percent). 
  • Stockpiling rates are down and consumers are seeing the impact on store shelves. Forty-nine percent of consumers say they are currently stocking up on essential items, a decrease from November 2020 findings, when a whopping 61 percent of shoppers were stockpiling. In turn, 41 percent say essential items that were out-of-stock or low-in-stock one month ago are now more in-stock, compared to 36 percent who say items are still out-of-stock and 23 percent who have not yet noticed a difference.