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. 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.

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

2019’s In-store Digital Engagement Trends

94% of companies agree that personalisation is critical to future success. 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. 

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. 

Enhance the Consumer Experiences with Beacon Technology

Expose shoppers to dynamic 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 on both digital signage and their personal mobile devices. 

“By focusing on and rewarding their most loyal customers, retailers have the potential to save millions in wasted marketing efforts chasing someone with zero brand loyalty. Utilizing the rich data of a robust loyalty program and our Pivot BYOD app, in conjunction with BLE technology, retailers can focus their efforts on those guests that truly impact their bottom line and give them a one-of-a-kind experience that reinforces loyalty to their brand.” - Troy Stelzer, President, Storeworks Technologies

The technology works in a multi-faceted system: shoppers enter the store with the retailer’s opt-in app preloaded onto their mobile device. Beacons, placed strategically throughout the store, engage the mobile app via Bluetooth as shoppers crossover invisible thresholds.

 The smartphone communicates the beacon’s ID number to the phone, prompting the device to communicate with the in-store POS server. In turn, the POS responds by triggering targeted content to in-store digital signage while simultaneously presenting a tailored offer to the shopper’s mobile devices.

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. 

Video Walls

Video Walls are one of the most effective ways to attract, and certainly impress viewers. Improve your brand image, enhance engagement and increase dwell time with effective and persuasive content whether in a promotional, educational, or informational platform. 

Regardless if you’re displaying content full screen or utilizing the screens for separate media, your audience will be more likely to return for a repeat experience that leaves a lasting impression. 

Interactive Kiosks

Retaining audience attention is an invaluable trait that interactive intelligence provides. What better way is there to indulge with viewers with a content rich experience than through interactivity? Digital kiosks are a great way to increase audience engagement through their interactive capabilities. 

At Industry Weapon, we realize that touchscreen kiosks are perfectly designed for directories, wayfinding, endless aisle shopping, social media integrations, and more. Kiosks allow audiences to control what information they wish to consume. The more viewers explore content, the more engaged they become. 

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 beacon technology. Consumers will respond to engagement, but it’s up to the brand to start the conversation.

For more insights, download the "How to Rock Retail in the Modern World" ebook.