October 12, 2018
Audience Engagement

Retail's New Ways to Engage Customers Digitally

ECommerce is Convenient, but Brick and Mortar is Therapeutic

Online retail isn’t going away. But that doesn’t mean it’s killed in-store shopping. In fact, customers are still itching to go to the mall -- so the team at Orvis decided to take a look at what those customers do once they get inside.

The observations are fascinating: “Next time you’re in a retail shop, watch what [the customers] do,” CXO Dave Finnegan told us during our Business Impact Workshop. “People will use their hands, touching the fabric, holding it up in front of them. They also happen to make some really meaningful human experiences.”

In other words, customers are drawn inside stores for moments they can’t get online: Feeling items to personally measure quality. Discussing potential purchases with friends. Interacting one-on-one with salespeople who care about the products and know how to best use them.

Consumers Need Physical Stores for Retail Therapy

Orvis realized years ago something that many companies are still struggling to understand: Online and in-store shouldn’t compete. They should complement each other. 

So Dave’s team began developing a strategy to seamlessly blend together digital and retail, creating one unified, optimized customer experience. Customers will choose between shopping online or at the mall based on a wide variety of factors, but those decisions are fluid. 

Some start their search in-store but ultimately order their final picks online. Others notice an item in Orvis’ catalog and then head to the store to check it out. All of these different paths to the purchase, Dave explained, are meaningful.

The biggest key to blending online and retail is consistency in branding. We’re not talking about logos and fonts. When customers visit your location, whether that’s in-person or on a website, they should instantly get a feel of your “vibe.”

Whether you pop into an Orvis store, visit its website or open its catalog, you’re going to know right away what this company stands for. It’s a brand that encourages you to get outside and enjoy the world with their products. You feel it instantly. 

When we started working with Orvis, it was clear that this was a company that deeply understood itself and its customers. The truth is, it takes genuine time, energy and passion to figure those two things out. 

And oftentimes, they go hand-in-hand: As the world evolves, so do customers and companies. You have to be willing to continue observing and adjusting. To learn more about how the Orvis Company keeps their physical stores relevant, watch episode two of our Business Impact Workshop

2020’s In-store Digital Engagement Trends

94% of companies agree that personalization is critical to future success. Customer engagement is going to be vital to retail success rates this year. With so many tech options to choose from, the brands with the most innovative, personalized engagement tactics will prevail. 

Those who opt for digital signage have the luxury of designing unlimited slides that can be updated at a moment's notice. Digital signs also make it easy to speak to an entire spectrum of buyer personas, while upholding their brand identity. 

Digital Signage is credited with increasing brand awareness by 47.7%, purchase amount by 29.5%, sales volumes by 31.8%, repeat buyers by 32.8%, and in-store traffic by 32.8%. Content creation doesn’t end at advertisements and marketing materials, digital signage is capable of integrating with most tools, software, and business platforms. 

That being said, the hot topic of 2020 is “engagement.”  Millennial customers, especially, demand attention via social media channels. These newer generations of shoppers take brand engagement personally; they don’t want to be ignored. If one of these outlets fails to deliver interaction, even temporarily, the damage can be detrimental. 

Increase Brick and Mortar Visits with Hyper-Exclusive Deals

One of our retail solutions resolves dwindling store foot-traffic by enticing consumers to physically show up at a specific brick and mortar location. To motivate this action we create time-sensitive, location-based offers to display on the screen. 

These offers are unique to the particular location and hyper targeted to each buyer based on the consumer’s previous purchases and shopping habits. Thus, you have a shopper who gets rewarded the more times they enter the store. 

Limited time offers work, because they provoke the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Adding the ingredient of a particular location, habits are formed between the client and that one store. Thus trust is built between the store and shopper and a real relationship can be built. 

Get Relatable with User Generated Content

Influencers are now more popular than the paid sponsors of yore. Why? Because we trust them more. They have the tastes we like and we’ve seen them endorse and shoot down products (sometimes brutally) enough times to know that they’re telling the truth. 

Who do consumers trust even more than influencers? Friends and family. Big shock, I know. But the biggest shock of all is how slowly this concept has taken to be adopted by brands! 

Another program we have developed for modern retailers is one that incorporates the social media posts from “real people” about a store’s products. Simply displaying these posts via digital signage had a deeply effective impact. 

Now when Danny and his mom go to the sporting goods store to look at hockey sticks, he sees his friend Paul’s instagram post about his new stick. Boom- Danny is more motivated than ever to leave the store with a new hockey stick and post about the product, himself. 

Modernization is Key to Growth

As technology advances, so too must the landscape of retail. Retailers are converting to digital signage to avoid the outdated static marketing campaigns that deter customers. 

Digital signage allows multiple, dynamic campaigns to play on screens throughout the store, providing the same effect as a personalized website visit. 

Utilizing buyer personas, campaigns target particular customers during their in-store shopping experience. Data integrations continue to improve product manufacturing and retail relationships.

Companies that stay current will have an easier time connecting with audiences through advancements like digital signage and hyper-focused engagement. Consumers will respond, but it’s up to the brand to start the conversation. 

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