Mindfulness – can you sell it?
by Kirsty Bisset. Mindfulness in omnichannel retail is the key to a successful future for brands and retailers.
by Kirsty Bisset. Many immediately associate the phrase ‘mindfulness’ with meditation but it goes far beyond that, not only encompassing activities and practices that contribute to mental health and well-being, but also conscious decision-making and an acknowledgement that our actions – every single one, including our purchasing behaviour – have consequences, some of which we’d prefer not to consider.
But what does mindfulness have to do with omnichannel retailing. It’s about what employees and customers need today. And can you sell mindfulness? Of course, yes! Not only are consumers demanding a range of products and services within this space, brands have become more ‘mindful’ of mindfulness and mental health – whether it’s what they sell to consumers or how they enhance employee wellness. By far, so far, the biggest sector in the mindfulness space is… meditation. Products and services within this sector include meditation centres and personal trainers, yoga centres and trainers, apps, websites, books, online courses and in-person workshops, to name a few.
According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global meditation market is expected to grow significantly between 2022 to 2029 – almost fourfold, in fact, from US$ 5 295-million to US$ 20 532-million. Driving this growth is a growing awareness of the prevalence of mental health and that the success meditation has, is because it can treat mild mental disorders and offer relief to those with more severe problems.
Mental wellness subscriptions
Reporting in WELLTODO Global Wellness News, Laura Hill notes that, in North America which is the leading market for mindfulness meditation apps, the number of people using them has risen by three times since 2012, with nearly 40% of people currently reporting weekly meditation and breathwork sessions.
Importantly, those doing so are willing to pay for a subscription if it means they’re better able to reach personal goals based on athletic performance, productivity, managing stress and more. Hill points out what we all instinctively know, that the arrival of the coronavirus accelerated consumer engagement with meditation apps further. According to Sensor Tower, in April 2020 the world’s 10 largest English-language mental wellness apps (specifically, those focused on meditation), saw a combined two million more downloads across the month compared with January.
Since then, there’s been the launch of a sleep and mindfulness app for children (Moshi) and the most-downloaded meditation app in non-English speaking markets (Meditopia) has increased its influence exponentially. But it’s not just about meditation apps – I believe, like many, that mindfulness in omnichannel retail is the key to a successful future. The fact that consumers and employees alike are becoming more conscientious about the impact of retail operations, is fast becoming a top business priority for online brands, and one we will continue to see develop.
Mindfulness in retail operations
PFS VP of international operations, Joe Farrell, recently said that 88% of consumers want retailers to help them make a difference, so being aware of the implications that retail is having on both the environment and people, will be key to retaining loyal customers, and ultimately a successful retail future for retailers. There are three key areas of focus of mindfulness for online retail that brands can put into practice:
- Sustainability: Sustainability is fast becoming a crucial consideration for consumers when choosing a brand to buy from, and even what products to buy. In fact, according to recent research, 62% of UK consumers now prefer to buy from companies that are reducing their use of plastics and two thirds want greater transparency in how companies source their materials. To be able to keep up with consumer expectation for sustainability, and a greener approach to order fulfilment, online retailers must continually assess the retail supply chain. From production – right through to the packaging of the product, and the method of delivery. By addressing inefficiencies and tightening up on processes throughout the entire fulfilment journey and ensuring inaccuracies are kept to a minimum, brands can vastly reduce unnecessary waste. Global online fashion brand ASOS is already leading the pack with the use of reusable packaging.
- Accessible omnichannel shopping: Across the globe, the spending power of people with disabilities and their families is worth £249 billion, yet less than 10% of businesses have a target plan to access this disability market. While initiatives such as Purple Tuesday are already working hard to encourage brands to provide positive customer experiences to disabled shoppers, there is still more to be done in order to improve accessibility across the entire omnichannel retail experience. Accessibility to online shopping services for instance, needs to be considered equally to a physical store. How easy is the website to use? Could it be used by an individual who suffers from deafness or blindness? These considerations should then be applied across the entire customer journey from the kind of packaging used, through to how the item is delivered or returned. Those with physical impairments may find it difficult to return an item via the post or back to the store. Equally, hearing impairments could impact the individual’s ability to interact with the brand should the item not arrive in time, or in the right condition.
- Under pressure: Busy periods in retail can be extremely stressful for staff across the entire eCommerce operation. The implementation of technologies such as automated, cloud-based fulfilment solutions is a good example of how businesses can save employees time. By reducing inefficient manual picking processes and increasing picking productivity and accuracy, man hours can be reduced dramatically whilst keeping up with large order volumes.
In today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape, being more mindful, i.e., considerate and paying attention to the needs and wants of people – whether that be a customer, or an employee – will be what sets brands apart from the competition. After all, it is the people that will come back time and time again if they are satisfied, driving your business forward.
Main image credit: Pixabay.com.
Kirsty Bisset is Managing Director of HaveYouHeard Durban.
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