Brick-and-Mortar retail has certainly under-achieved in the recent past and all that needs to change soon for it to harmoniously survive. E-commerce has been a huge hit, and credit needs to go to the exceedingly customized and personalized marketing strategies that customers have been subjected to on a consistent basis. Brick-and-Mortar stores certainly need to up the ante now with regards to their retail marketing. Today, the effectiveness of in-store marketing decides the store future in the time to come.
There are various considerations that a marketer needs to make to ensure the delivery of a one of a kind in-store experience. Whatever the marketing strategy the offline brand/retailer has in mind, the following factors should always be considered.
People walking in are more than just customers
Most retailers get happy at the sight of people walking in to the store as they think it to be an opportunity to score a conversion. Retailers should understand that the people in-store are not just momentary customers of the present. They can potentially be the future ambassadors of the brand, speaking from the loyalty perspective. The primary objective shouldn’t merely be to satisfy the people in-store for a one-off transaction. Instead, emphasis should be laid on creating lifelong relationships.
In the broader sense, the in-store marketing deployed to satisfy the shopping journey of the customers in the store doesn’t guarantee the fact that they will come back. For converting them into lifelong prospects, brands and retailers need to go into overdrive. That means sustained personalized marketing even after purchase, exceptional after sales customer service, implementing customer feedbacks on store operations, etc. The customers should almost feel it imperative to come back to the store. A lot depends on the first impact that customers have when they enter the store. Customers should get a feeling of longevity and long-term benefit right from the outset. The retail marketing strategies should be devised accordingly.
In-store experience: People go shopping to make memories
No matter how much convenience e-commerce may provide, customers will always value the advantage of touching and feeling products before buying. Probably, that is why customers still go to shop in stores. Retailers should always remember this. However, they should also know that it’s not the only reason why people hit the stores. An elevated level of customer experience is what they expect from stores each time they walk into one. A memorable shopping experience is what they desire from every brick-and-mortar visit.
Retailers should look to devise innovative and effective marketing solutions that lives up to the expectations of these customers. Whether customer experience can be enhanced with a hi-tech modern-day store, traditional but effective promotions, or well targeted micro-location marketing, is a decision that the marketers need to tactfully take. It’s all about incorporating the right mix. Customers are out to make memories. Providing enhanced levels of in-store experience through powerful in-store marketing can certainly help customers make them.
Innovate. Imagine. Repeat: Never be satisfied, even when things are perfect
Retailers are bound to get it right at some stage with regards to the in-store marketing solutions. There will be times when everything will seem perfect. Store traffic will be consistent and familiar faces will feature on a regular basis. Retailers can secretly admire their success, but not get satisfied. Everything has a shelf life, even ideas, strategies, and solutions. The customers who seem content today, might feel saturated in the time to come. Retailers should always consider this and never allow complacency to creep in. They should be relentless in their approach.
The key to a good marketing strategy or idea is that it should keep evolving and modifying as per the needs and expectations of the customers. Retailers need to be smart in the way they go about innovating to establish long term customer loyalty. Today, there is technology in abundance for retailers to hang back on. With state of the art technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, etc. coupled with the proper analysis of the vast bundle of data they have access to, they can easily be ahead of the eight ball. The modern retailer has no shortage of resources. The focus should well and truly be to innovate-imagine-repeat.