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Douglas Lusted CEO LINKETT Shopper Marketing

What can retailers do to engage customers in-store?

On the surface, retail appears to be struggling. However, smart marketers know that in-store purchases still account for nearly 90% of all sales. The real challenge, the one that frightens many marketers, is engaging shoppers in-store while their behaviour rapidly evolves. Shoppers today are more tech savvy, price-sensitive and impervious to traditional in-store marketing strategies than ever before.

So the question is, how do we engage shoppers in-store?

There are a number of strategies marketers can use, one of which is motion activated digital signage. Digital signage inherently provides more engaging experiences for in-store shoppers because of their visual and audio capabilities. Digital signage that is motion activated provides an even more engaging experience because it has the ability to interact with shoppers based on their behaviour in-store (61% of shoppers would visit a store that used interactive technology, more often). This technology works, as digital signage has been proven to increase brand awareness by 48% and average purchase size by 30%.

The real challenge, the one that frightens many marketers, is engaging shoppers in-store while their behaviour rapidly evolves.

David Lusted, CEO, Linkett

 For example, imagine that you’re a spice and seasoning brand launching several new varieties. You could use digital signage to engage shoppers in-store by delivering video content that is relevant to the shopper’s experience at the point of decision. As shoppers approach the shelf with your new product, a digital sign could begin to play a video wherein a celebrity chef offers recipe ideas that include your new spices (you could even allow them to download the recipe using their smartphone – more on that below). This video content would bring your new varieties to life for the shopper, influencing them to try the new products by capturing their attention in-aisle.

Another great way to engage today’s shopper in-store is to leverage their mobile devices. The majority of shoppers are carrying a mobile device while they shop, making this a convenient and effective way to capture their attention and influence their decisions. While this is true, it’s important to remember that your in-store mobile marketing experience needs to be as seamless as possible.

What does that mean? Simple: there’s a high percentage chance that upon reading this you’re immediate thoughts are of using beacon technology to communicate with mobile devices in-store. Before committing to that idea, consider the following:

  • Beacons only work with apps – the shopper needs to have the required app on their device to engage with a beacon

  • Only 10% of shoppers download retailer apps

  • Less than 5% of shoppers who download a loyalty app actually use it

In order to reach the majority of shoppers in-store you’re going to want a solution that engages their devices using the most accessible technology available: Wi-Fi. As many as 70% of in-store shoppers have a Wi-Fi enabled device, with the majority of them actively searching for signals while shopping. Asking the shopper to connect to a Wi-Fi signal in exchange for a piece of marketing content (i.e. mobile coupon, demo video, signup for a loyalty program, etc.) provides them with a more seamless, less intrusive experience.

Here’s an example to illustrate how it works: Imagine a mother with school-aged children inside of a grocery store as she is browsing the snack aisle in search of a new, healthy snack for her children’s lunches. There are a multitude of options for her to choose from and it’s too challenging to determine which product is better than the other. Overwhelmed, she quickly moves herself towards the part of the shelf displaying her usual, not-so-healthy choice – until a digital sign placed in the aisle senses her movement and begins to play a video ad for a new type of cookie that meets her desire for a healthier alternative. This captures her attention and, as she approaches the new product, the signage begins to display more of that product’s nutritional information, while also advertising a $5 off promotion. The shopper simply has to connect to a Wi-Fi signal in order to download the coupon to her mobile device. She does this, grabs the snack and proceeds to the checkout.

As you can see, marketers can use interactive digital signage and app-less mobile marketing technology to effectively engage with today’s shoppers in-store. These new technologies capitalize on changing shopper behaviour and help to increase retail sales for brands.