Coping With Rapidly Changing Retail
With higher numbers of customers using their smartphones to access product information online whilst shopping in stores, the retail industry is changing rapidly.
Irrespective of the market niche, brick-and-mortar retailers and brands are struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change. Unfortunately, not all of them succeed.
To help, marketing experts have analysed the causes of retail marketing fails and reached an interesting conclusion: lack of marketing consistency is one of the reasons why retailers and brands are unable to attract enough customers in order to reach their goals.
Marketing Consistency: Does It Really Matter?
Over the years, marketing consistency has become an essential element to any brand’s growth and longevity. In a nutshell, consistency can help a company build a seamless and personalised customer experience, which will eventually lead to improved customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates, at no extra cost.
A new research study substantiates the advantages of marketing consistency, specifying that a consistent message can increase purchase intent by 90 percent and improve brand perception by 68 percent.
Conversely, an inconsistent marketing strategy that communicates contradictory messages is likely to cause confusion, with “a negative impact” on the overall customer experience, in-store sales, and bottom lines.
As an experienced marketing professional, Leon Edwards, Managing Director at DisplayMode, also confirms the importance of marketing consistency for a positive omni-channel retailing experience.
From a marketing perspective, however, consistency isn’t only about placing customers in the centre of your retail marketing strategy and using multiple channels to interact with them on a regular basis; it’s also about ensuring consistency in what you’re saying.
As Leon Edwards has recently explained, marketing consistency, at its most basic level, consists in replicating “what we see online, or in magazines, or on TV with what’s in store”.
For the best results, it’s very important to achieve consistency across every area of your business, including:
- Design – From logo to website design and in-store display solutions, a brand must be easily recognisable, regardless of what channels people use to purchase products from or get in touch with it.
- Messages – According to a survey conducted by Blue Nile Research, more than 70 percent of consumers use at least 3 channels to access online information about products before they make a purchase.By examining customer journeys both online and offline along with their response to different marketing initiatives (which reveals their intent and expectations), retailers and brands can create marketing messages that are consistent as well as contextually relevant to potential shoppers.
- Offers – Although there is a rising tendency towards checking products online, many customers convert in the store. In this context, one of the biggest mistakes a company could make is to provide particular offers only online or offline. A potential customer might be put off by knowing that prices differ based on channel.To avoid disappointing shoppers, retailers and brands should “give away in-store value by matching online prices” or vice versa, according to industry experts. A company that aligns its sales strategy in all channels will give customers “more reasons (…) to shop in [physical] stores.”
In addition to all these, delivering shoppers a more superior omni-channel experience is possible only if the company adopts a holistic approach to the overall shopping journey. A holistic approach involves a seamless integration of all the communication channels, sales channels, and devices people typically use to make purchases in-store. This will allow any company to provide a more straightforward and personalised shopping experience, at a local level.
The Importance of Taking Things One Step Further
One essential yet often overlooked aspect relating to marketing consistency is remarketing.
Although remarketing has become one of the fundamentals for building a successful online business, “that constant reminder is a great thing brands and retailers don’t do in stores or offline”, according to Leon Edwards.
But when it comes to retail marketing strategies, retailers and brands should go beyond binary thinking approaches. In order to set itself apart from the competition, a company needs a combination of multiple online and offline marketing tactics.
Therefore, the key takeaway here is: by integrating different online and offline marketing concepts and activities, and adapting to the latest digital demands, a brick-and-mortar retailer or brand will be able to achieve end-to-end marketing consistency across all channels, remain relevant in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected digital world, and deliver a more satisfying in-store experience.
Another point worth mentioning is that brick-and-mortar retailers and brands can use advances in technology, such as QR codes and beacons, to effectively respond to evolving expectations and offer a more cohesive shopping journey.
Take, for example, an online retailer that emails a promotional offer to drive potential customers to its website. The people who click on the link included in the email are taken to a specific page where they can benefit from the offer.
As surprising as it may seem, a retailer or brand can do a similar thing in-store. Let’s assume that a customer wants to buy a new pair of football boots in a sports shop. Using POS interactive displays integrated with beacon technology and synchronised with other devices, the retailer could track what the customer is looking at and provide additional information or product alternatives. Also, this technology allows the retailer to identify when the person is in close proximity to certain aisles and send him or her different messages with product information or special offers.
Thanks to rapidly evolving technologies, physical stores might soon be able to link the information collected in-store with customer accounts. Then, based on individual preferences, not only could brick-and-mortar retailers and brands ensure that “each customer remains in touch with certain products further down the line”, according to Leon Edwards. They would be able to achieve true marketing consistency as well, in both form and content.
To learn more about how the implementation of certain retail marketing initiatives, such as the POS displays we provide at DisplayMode, can help you build a unified brand identity and deliver coherent, harmonious, and meaningful customer experiences across all channels, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.