3 Ways How You Think About In-Store Marketing Must Change

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Jan 25 2016, Posted by Lisa Cramer

Can I be blunt with you for a moment?

Here’s the thing. I’ve noticed that in retail, especially in brick-and-mortar, some things haven’t changed much in the last decade or so. Maybe they’ve evolved… but ever so slightly. In particular, what I struggle with daily is how a brand or retailer can be okay with not understanding who is in their stores, looking at their products—at what particular days and times—and overall how effective their in-store experience is or isn’t? As a sales and marketing executive, the lack of having these insights would absolutely kill me. How could I influence the purchase if I don’t know who I’m influencing, what they are doing and what’s working or not?

Okay, I get that gathering insights is much easier online. However, the majority—over 94%—of retail dollars comes from in-store purchases. So why spend so little time/money understanding the ROI of your in-store spend or gathering the metrics needed to know that you’ll get that ROI? I’m amazed every time we talk to a brand/retailer, that yes, there’s some thought to the customer experience, but with little regard for ROI. It’s often more about how little can be spent to convey what is needed for their product without thought to understand if this investment will actually pay off.

This is not to say brands and retailers haven’t done research to understand their shopper’s demographics. And it’s not to say that in-store POP and good customer experiences are inexpensive. But that’s exactly the point. If you are going to spend significant money in-store to more effectively influence the shopper, and ultimately convert them, it just seems to make the most sense to do it wisely and plan for an ROI on your in-store investment. We should be working towards marketing in-store similar to the way we market online, testing to see what’s working and not and carefully watching performance with the same hawk-like attention.

Yes, the shopper’s path to purchase might be dramatically changing, making it even harder for marketers within brands and retailers to influence them. However, technology is continuing to evolve enabling marketers to be much smarter about their in-store approaches and much more effective in understanding and targeting shoppers like they do online.

But, enough of the soapbox—it’s time to talk specifics. What can and should change to effectively market to shoppers in-store?

  1. Understand your shopper. And this means not just from static research but also from research of shoppers as they’re moving through their path to purchase. By that I mean mobile research, where you are getting in-the-moment feedback from shoppers that are out shopping for your products (or your competitors’ products) right now.
  2. Really understand your shopper. Beyond mobile path to purchase research, wouldn’t it be amazing to understand exactly who is walking by your display, who is looking at it and for how long? How old are they? What gender… you get the picture. Well that’s all already a possibility right now. While it still might not be easy or necessary to identify the exact person, it’s actually essential that you understand the demographics and behaviors of shoppers. With that type of insight, you can make smart marketing decisions.
  3. Market to & influence your shopper in real-time. Are you are thinking: I already market to our shoppers… I’ve got a great product on the shelf in a nice box. Maybe I have a good-looking display that nicely shows off my product. Mostly though, I spend a ton of money on advertising. The question is… is that the best we can do? Would you do things differently if you knew more about the person—less mass-marketing, if you may, and maybe more targeted marketing? If you could understand who is in front of your display, would you change what and how it communicates to better target that person? It’s now also possible to do all this and most importantly, gain tremendous marketing insights so that your costs drive a real return.

Marketers are now being measured on performance. Expectations for marketing dollars spent have changed as they are more directly related to revenue. How are your company’s products selling? How can the money you are spending directly influence sales—online and in-store? What insights can you gather about your shoppers and the effectiveness of your in-store presence so you can make better decisions? Can you track the money spent, influence contributed, and revenue attained as a result? Can you test and improve, easily and without much cost? The answer to these questions now is yes. And, it’s imperative for all of us to take advantage of these solutions and strategies if we want to have any impact on an increasingly disrupted and complex shopper journey.

Image Credit Copyright: dimdimich / 123RF Stock Photo

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