According to a recent Deloitte study, today 70% of shoppers are leading their own journeys—ignoring your ads and content marketing efforts. So, what can you do?

Engage consumers on their terms. And, not just with mobile! Your consumers are interacting with your brand using several different touch points along their path to purchase.

Here are 5 ideas to start engaging consumers on their terms both on and off-mobile…

1) Provide Local Information on Mobile

According to Google, searches with “near me” have grown 2.4X year-over-year. And, 50% of consumers who conduct local research on their smartphone visit a store within a day and 18% ending in purchases.

In particular, local inventory is a big one. According to the same study, one in four consumers say they avoid stores because they don’t know if a product is in stock. After adopting local inventory ads, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores saw a 122% increase in store visits and a payback of eight dollars of in-store sales for every dollar invested.

2) Give Shoppers Self-Help Tools In-Store

Now let’s talk about inside the store—where over 91% of all U.S. retail sales actually take place. Seasoned by online shopping and digital tech conveniences, empowered shoppers are increasingly expecting to lead their own journeys. This expectation is extending in-store. In fact, according to a recent InReality study, now 69% of shoppers would be more likely to buy in-store if given self-help tools like digital kiosks or interactive displays. And, what specifically are they looking for?

3) Explore Flexible Store Formats & Go Where Your Consumers Go.

Okay, so you know consumers are in stores, online and on mobile. But, what’s their typical routine like? Where are they going? When are they most in need of your products/services? How could you better position your products based on these things?

Knowing that for its busy consumers convenience and proximity were major deciding factors for their supermarket retailer choice, Tesco decided to bring their Homeplus supermarkets to consumers at a more convenient time and format, without the expenses of more real estate. Tesco resolved to place digital screens showing images of available inventory in subway and airport waiting areas, allowing consumers to easily do their grocery shopping by snapping item codes with their phones as they waited.

In these environments with little competition, Tesco was able to bring their Homeplus supermarkets to consumers at much more convenient times during their day. And, Tesco took things one step further by ensuring orders would then meet consumers at home as they were getting in from work or the airport—saving them from the dreaded “empty fridge”. As a result of this campaign, online sales increased tremendously—within 3 months, the number of new registered Tesco members rose by 76%, and online sales increased 130%.

4) Deliver Personalized Offers/Messages In-the-Moment.

A consumer stops to inspect a perfume in-store. What if a digital screen in front of her immediately changed to offer product information with alternatives, reviews or even price comparisons? Or what if she got a mobile notification with a discount for that perfume?

According to Google, one in three will actually purchase from a company or brand other than the one they planned to because of information received in the moment. InReality’s study found something similar as well—showing that 75% of consumers would be more likely to buy in-store if given personalized offers delivered in the moment. How could your brand or store benefit here?

5) Rethink Loyalty.

According to a Capgemini Consulting study 97% of loyalty programs are basic transactional loyalty programs, where rewards are based primarily on purchase. And, 77% of these programs fail in the first two years. Why? Because these rewards programs focus narrowly on acquisition and ignore other loyal behaviors. In fact, only 25% of loyalty programs actually reward consumers for some form of engagement.

Other flaws in most loyalty programs include personalization and cross-channel integration. According to the same Capgemini Consulting study, only 11% of loyalty programs offer personalized rewards based on a customer’s purchase history or location data. And, only 9% of loyalty programs offer point redemption across all channels.

The big lessons here? Make sure you are not narrowly focusing on acquisition and ignoring other loyal behaviors or assuming that a one-size-fits all program is sufficient and neglecting opportunities to make the consumers’ experience truly personal. And, what’s more… make sure it’s not rocket science to actually use your program regardless of channel.

Advances in technology have put consumers in the driver seat. Now you must work harder to engage consumers on their terms. Start by taking the time to really understand how your consumers navigate their path to purchase. Then start rethinking how you are engaging consumers. Is it relevant? Meaningful? Integrated into their path to purchase or daily routine? Hopefully you found these 5 ideas to be helpful and a good starting point. Good luck!

We also recommend checking out:
3 Ways to Convert Shoppers With Digital In-Store


Image Credit: iStock/Wavebreak Media Ltd