4 Keys to Winning at In-Store Digital

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by Kristin Harripaul

Today, your consumers are shattering the barriers between physical and digital shopping. In fact, 75 percent of them are now using mobile while shopping in store. It’s no wonder there’s been so much buzz around digital in store—from digital kiosks, displays and fitting rooms to real-time mobile offers via beacons and mobile apps.

That said, chances are, you’ve been considering or have already implemented digital into your in-store experience. But, how can you ensure that you aren’t leaving money on the table?

Far too often, we’ve all seen digital fail in retail—looping video screens pointlessly plastered on walls or displays that work less than half of the time—all ultimately doing little to really engage customers or move the needle on sales. How are you ensuring that you won’t end up with a really expensive digital solution that doesn’t work?

Here are 4 keys to winning at in-store digital:

1) Don’t do Digital for Digital’s Sake

We’ve seen poorly designed digital screens replace printed signage, with little additional benefit to the consumer or even the brand. We’ve seen the use of QR codes and other trendy marketing solutions cause consumers to jump through too many hoops to be accepted. And, we’ve seen digital thrown loudly to the front of the experience and become so intrusive it destroys any other attempt to communicate with or motivate a consumer.

As you are crafting or updating your current digital in-store solution, start by asking two questions: what are your goals and what do you want your consumers to experience, think and do? As you dive into the second question, make sure to map out your consumer’s entire journey—pre, during and post the store visit. You will be amazed at how much this will impact your digital in-store strategy. For example, 84% of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trips to a store, how does that play into your strategy? And, yes, you have a mobile app, but is it enabled to work with digital marketing elements in-store, or is it enabled to act differently once the consumer is in-store to enhance their experience?

Consumers shouldn’t battle with your digital elements in-store. The best digital integrations, are intuitive, blend into the background, help and delight the consumer and, most importantly, appear almost invisible.

2) Don’t Forget Your Consumers

Remembering your consumers is more than just planning to help simplify their journey. It’s also about understanding their pain points, as well as what influences their purchasing behavior so that you can be more targeted with your marketing and increase in-store conversions and sales. To gather these kinds of insights requires more than a simple listening platform or voice-of-the-consumer (VOC) program, it requires a deeper investigation through quantitative and qualitative research. You need to understand consumers’ perceptions of your brand compared to the competition as well your strengths and weaknesses. This understanding will be key to not only meeting consumer needs and expectations, but also competitively positioning your brand.

Another important component to consider is your varying consumer types. This refers to not just demographics, but to various consumer shopping styles and buying process stages as well. A consumer shopping for fun is totally different than a consumer who treats shopping as a chore or who has a very limited amount of time. You should consider all your different customer types and try to cater to their shopping preferences. It is also important to remember that when these consumers enter the store, they may all be at different stages along their path-to-purchase. You must address all these different stages. For example, consider things like: Does the customer know the brand/product? Have they read all the reviews and available product information? Is there specific information they are looking to have answered in-store?

Understanding your consumer means knowing not only who they are, but what they like and dislike, what drives their decision-making and the best practices for effectively marketing to them.

3) Maximize Your Content Strategy

One of the most flexible features of digital is the ability to influence content quickly and easily. You can daypart or offer different messages during different times of the day or even during a single trip to the store. And, failing to leverage this prime opportunity to target consumers at the point when they are most likely to make a purchase is definitely a costly misstep. No matter how immersive or in-depth your in-store experience is, content is king. You must have not only highly targeted and meaningful content, but you must also have a well-thought-out update strategy. Additionally, you should also consider placement. Placement should be chiefly a tactical decision, one driven by the content and how and when you want that content delivered to your consumer.

4) Remember the Details

We’ve all heard the phrase “the devil is in the details”. This couldn’t be more true for digital integrations. As you wrap up your strategy, pay careful attention to all of those small touches that can turn good into great. For example, it shouldn’t be obvious to a passerby where you spent money and where you didn’t. Something as simple as housing can negatively impact a consumer’s experience, because it can also affect the interaction and the consumers’ perception of your products. And, they could even liken something that appears cheap or faulty to your products and services.

The takeaway? As digital elbows its way into the center of the shopping experience, there will be winners and there will be losers in the world of in-store retail. If done well, digital can carve out a unique proposition for your brand in retail—one that helps the brand stand out among the crowd, win over a loyal following and drive sales. If done poorly, it can have the opposite effect on the brand. It can be a really expensive way to hand consumers over to the competition. So before you launch or update your next in-store digital campaign, ensure that you carefully consider these 4 keys.
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