From digital signage to smart shelves, digital marketing is forever changing the face of our retail shopping experiences. We live in the information age, so if a potential customer is standing next to your latest smart TV, provide them with concise and easy access to more info. Give them the opportunity take advantage of a discount that you deliver wirelessly to their mobile phone. Convince them on the spot, that this is the right product for them!
The following are some specific digital tools that will enhance your retail marketing efforts.
If this is your first go at digital marketing, starting with digital signage is the best way to get your feet wet. This may take the form of simply replacing existing posters with video screens, or you can take it even further by replacing other items like price cards or menus, etc. Once digital, all of these screens can be updated more easily, often remotely, and can provide a more dynamic experience through the use of slideshows, presentations and video, as well as animation.
A digital product catalogue can simply be a digital version of a paper based catalogue or, you can take it a step further, and use both design and technology to create a more digitally savvy catalogue. Within a retail store setting, a digital product catalogue can be made available on a kiosk touch screen or available to customers using their mobile phones. These catalogues are great for showcasing features or product options not shown on the shelves. They can also be used to purchase products that may not be available in the store.
The digital product selector is a kiosk or mobile tool that helps to guide the consumer towards the right product for them. Information such as desired price range and product features can be entered or selected to help narrow down product choices. Typically the tool uses the entered features, runs an algorithm and recommends products that fit within the consumer’s requests. These tools are particularly useful when a sales representative is unavailable, but is also a great resource for sales representatives to use with the customer as an addition to the in-store experience!
Mobile NFC and QR codes
QR codes are computer generated barcodes that are scanned using a mobile device to draw up information about an item or product. In a retail setting, these codes are great for providing a customer with product details. For example, a customer scans a QR code attached to the label of a product they are interested in. Instantly, and in the palm of their hand, they can preview other colour options, and sizes available. They can compare this item to others on the market or even read user reviews. These codes can also be used to inform customers about special offers.
Near Field Communication, or NFC, acts by wirelessly transferring small amounts of data from one item to another. The most commonly used form or NFC is the chip on your credit card that allows you to use pay pass. This marketing tool works great in a retail setting for passing information from a poster or display shelf to the customer’s wireless device. The NFC ‘tag’ will often contain web addresses, discount coupons, or even better, the ability to instantly pay for an item.
Customer Aware Video
Have you ever been welcomed into a retail setting by a digital greeter? These type of video kiosks, have built in motion sensors to react when a customer is near. This is a great way to immediately inform people of promotions, or what’s new in the store. But, there’s more. Did you know that some digital kiosks now include cutting edge technology that allows the video to detect age and gender? This kind of information will customize the video to display content that will be most interesting to the detected demographic!
Customer aware videos are also being integrated into smart shelves. Based on what a customer picks up off the shelf, the video can then suggest other products they may be interested in or promotions they should be made aware of.
Personalized Retail App
Retail apps are mobile phone based applications that retailers use in an attempt to keep customers engaged with their brand, even when not in store. Most apps provide information regarding existing products and announce the launch of new products, while many also allow customers to place orders directly from their mobile device. The more in-depth apps include features like, product comparisons, favourite lists, reservations to meet customer service staff, product holds for purchase or rental, as well as browsing maps of retail locations nearest you.
In addition, various mobile retail strategies are being used to further engage their customer. For example, personalized suggestions can be sent to a customer’s mobile device as they browse around your retail store. Coupons or promos can also be sent directly to their device to help initiate a sale.
Track In-Store Movement
A customer's in-store movements can be tracked using wireless signals, Bluetooth, iBeacon or geofencing technology. In-store tracking can tell you the number of customers visited and where in the store they spent the majority of their time. If the user has a store app, tracking can be geared towards identifying the location of the customer within the store and then sending them appropriate offers and product information.
Tracking results can be visualized using heat maps and they can be used to sharpen the retailer's marketing strategy.
Consider how to apply one of these digital strategies to your retail marketing efforts. You might want to start small with just a digital product catalogue or offering some QR codes in store and then move up to a mobile app or a set of customer aware videos or smart shelves. Regardless of how you choose to apply these ideas to your retail offering, you’ll be able to attract your customers in a whole new way just by infusing some digital tools into your retail experience.