December 7, 2018
Audience Engagement

Consumers Need Physical Stores for Retail Therapy

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 to Touch the Products

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. There’s no reason, he said, for a battle.

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.

Up the Employee Engagement to Up the Customer Engagement

Employee interaction is a huge aspect of the brand environment. Store associates are walking, talking brand models. From their clothing to their personality, they sell the idea of the store as much as its products and services. Hiring friendly employees that naturally encompass the brand persona shortens the on-boarding process.

A friendly exchange can make or break a sale. In fact, 68% of customers leave a store because they feel neglected. When a consumer enters a store, their mindset is already more inclined to buy, so they can walk out with a product. So, it’s essential that employees interact positively with these consumers upon entrance.

WFM Integrations

Task management in the retail business is extremely important to the success of the brand, yet devoting time and attention to customers is equally essential. The retail staff is caught between the two duties. To remedy this situation, HR departments implement Workforce Management (WFM) systems into company practices.

Digital signage is the fastest way to communicate with employees who are not able to check their email for company announcements while on the clock. Signs located in the backroom can display all information WFM solutions can provide. Managers can see who is on the floor or who is running late at a glance. Employees can see hours, access the employee directory, and view their pay statement. Mobile capabilities allow managers to make transaction approvals even when they’re not on site.

Digital signage software displays real-time updates on all aspects of WFM. With WFM integrations, employees can devote attention back to the customers, knowing that they will not miss any important information. Customers no longer feel ignored by associates, or that they are being bothersome by asking questions. Turnover rates decrease as both consumer and retailer reopen communication pathways.

Cross-Channel Engagement

Retailers are venturing out to different channels, consumers are able to access brands at any time, anywhere. Millennial customers, especially, demand attention via social media channels. Brands have to be available 24-7 via web shopping sites, social media sites, and mobile platforms. 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.

Interactive Kiosks

What better way to indulge shoppers with a content rich experience than interactivity? Digital kiosks are a great way to increase audience engagement through their interactive capabilities. Kiosks allow audiences to control what information they wish to consume. The more viewers explore content, the more engaged they become.

Social media ties in seamlessly with interactive intelligence. These integrations are great for marketing exposure and gaining brand advocates. Just like smart phones, digital kiosks can come equipped with a front facing camera upon which users can take photos of themselves. Afterwards, they have the option to email the pictures and/or upload them to showcase on the kiosk for everyone to see.

In-store Digital Engagement

94% of companies agree that personalisation is critical to future success. Beacon technology now offers a solution that exposes shoppers to content designed specifically for their buying habits, based on consumer intelligence. In leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, digital signage software platforms, and mobile app networks, shoppers are engaged with relevant communications via digital signage and their personal mobile devices.

When shoppers walk past the certain sections of department stores, the system communicates their demographic information obtained from their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) profiles to the server. Digital signage then plays pre-loaded messages advertising the store’s latest products that complement their profiles. Simultaneously, exclusive offers for the same products are delivered to their mobile devices.

Customer engagement is going to be vital to retail success rates this year. With so many options to choose from on different channels, the brands with the most innovative, attentive marketing tactics will prevail. Companies that stay current will have an easier time connecting with audiences through advancements like digital signage and beacon technology. Consumers will respond to engagement, but it’s up to the brand to start the conversation.

Consumers Need Physical Stores to Experience Branding

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.