Are You Ready for Digital In-Store?
Today we’re living in an exciting time for retail. Yes, the digital age has disrupted traditional retail, but it has also created a prime opportunity for brands and retailers to forge deeper relationships with their customers, reduce the friction of commerce and make the shopping experience more human, engaging, enjoyable and profitable for you.
Check out these 4 questions to see how your brand measures up…
1) Does your digital store strategy consider the entire customer journey—pre, during and post the store visit?
Consumers expect their in-store experience to be an extension of their digital experience. Today’s connected consumers are plugged in 24/7 and they aren’t expecting to suddenly enter a digital dead zone when they step into a store. What’s more, they are looking to pickup where they left off. So whether that next step is expert advice/tutorials, product trial and testing, reviews from friends and family, product details, etc. you’re in-store digital experience should fulfill these consumer needs and expectations and cater to where they are the buying cycle.
The reality is, a digital strategy can be a powerful source for driving in-store conversions if done well. However, if digital elements are thrown into the store with no logic or basis in consumer insights the in-store experience can distract rather than help and guide them on their path-to-purchase.
2) Are you offering a personalized, engaging digital store experience?
85 percent of customers would be more likely to shop in stores that offer personalized coupons and exclusive offers provided in-store.
Study after study, report after report, the research all shows that consumers want a personalized in-store experience. Fortunately, thanks to mobile devices and developments in proximity marketing technologies such as beacons, you now have all the tools to give consumers this kind of tailored experience in-store. And, thanks to a suite of other technologies including digital screens, RFID and NFC, to name a few, you also have the ability to give consumers unique, engaging experiences that drive not only sales, but loyalty.
The reality is, while it’s been an ongoing struggle for marketers to keep stores relevant in the eyes of the consumer with all the channels now at their disposal, online isn’t going anywhere. But, neither is the physical store, given it’s position as the shopping destination of choice, controlling over 90 percent of all U.S. retail sales. The truth is, digital isn’t the enemy; it is your opportunity to offer a consistent online/offline experience across channels and devices and shrink the gap between you and your consumers.
3) Are you using social media effectively?
Last year spending on social media grew, as it will this year. But, is this touchpoint really being used effectively? Businesses think they can use social media to influence or change the way consumers think, but it might be time to learn to use social the way consumers want it to be used. 94 percent of consumers use social media primarily to connect with friends and family. Secondarily, they use social to follow trends and find product reviews or information and comment on what’s hot or new and write reviews about products.
Playing into this need to connect via social channels is a key opportunity to use digital to bridge the offline and online worlds. However, connection is only one way to use social in-store—it can be used to inform in-store decisions. For example, uncovering how can products fit into a consumer’s lifestyle to help with merchandising and other in-store marketing decisions, or pinpointing consumer service issues so they can be resolved quickly. The impact of of social on in-store digital should be more than screens to facilitate sharing, it should also be insights and analytics to maximize the in-store experience.
4) Have you created a mobile in-store experience?
42 percent of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store, and for the most part, they use search engines (64 percent).
As of September 2014, a new world emerged in the American living room, with the average American consumer spending more time on their mobile device than watching tv. Consumers are rarely if ever separated from their mobile devices. As such, you need to make sure that you are ready for their instinctive mobile habits once in-store.
A mobile in-store experience is more than just a mobile app. Use mobile to give consumers personalized content and a unique experience. You know consumers will do research in-store—help them, make sure what they need is at the tip of their fingertips in easy-to-understand, digestible pieces, both through mobile apps and mobile optimized websites. And, why stop there? Guide consumers along their journey by letting your displays/fixtures interact with their mobile devices. Consumers control their worlds with their mobile devices, why not use that to your advantage and guide their journey on these trusted devices?
As marketers, we need to prepare for and think about the short-term and long-term of retail. The reality is, the digital age isn’t driving consumers away from stores; it is bridging the gap between consumers and stores. And, the retail winners in this era will be those who take advantage of this opportunity… quickly!
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Part 4: Digital in Retail—4 Keys that Drive In-Store Conversion >>