opinion

4 Tips to Stand Out, Connect With Today’s Shoppers

4 Tips to Stand Out, Connect With Today’s Shoppers

For many, 2017 was the year of consumer non-spending. Author Ann Patchett even documented her year of no shopping for the New York Times. Many consumers were consciously fitting their lifestyles into popular trends that demanded less material items — tiny homes, upcycling, campervans and co-living concepts.

The modern consumer is well into 2018 and is experiencing varied shopping choices that put them in the driver’s seat. Traditional retail stores find themselves competing against new, innovative business models, while new brands are emerging at ever-increasing rates.

Rather than aim for broadness, own your niche, hone your message and concentrate on your specialty.

So what can today’s companies and brands do to attract consumers whose preferences and behaviors are changing? Here are a few ways to stand out from the crowd and connect with today’s buyers.

Embrace gender-neutral products.

Because our world is becoming more fluid, products are being created to be suitable for all gender classifications. In mainstream, Target has removed references to “boys” and “girls” aisles in their stores and is releasing a gender-neutral kids collection in July.

Walmart will be redesigning some of their product labels based on shopper studies reflecting how gender-typed colors influence shopping preferences.

When a product can be embraced by a consumer regardless of gender, it may be advantageous to keep that product and package language gender-neutral when possible.

Be flexible.

YouTube started as a video dating site but soon discovered people wanted to share content. Instagram started as a check-in app, until people started posting pictures of their food. Viagra was originally a treatment for hypertension and heart disease. Sometimes being flexible is the greatest way to uncover a bestseller.

Focus on consumers’ desires for healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles.

CVS has unveiled plans to renovate several hundred stores to spotlight healthy living, and many others in the retail sector are following suit. According to market research, health and wellness is the next trillion-dollar industry. Considering that vibrators are considered therapeutic medical devices, it seems natural to play up their health, happiness and empowerment benefits.

Find your niche.

Having a distinct niche can allow a business and product to stand out in a sea of competition. Being able to concentrate on a specialized market segment lets consumers easily find your product, and allows your advertising dollars to be specifically better spent. Rather than aim for broadness, own your niche, hone your message and concentrate on your specialty.

Sunny Rodgers is the brand manager for Pipedream Products, Jimmyjane and Sir Richards.