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New In-Store Video Marketing Make It Hard to Look Away

Transparent door ads capture consumers’ attention at grocery and convenience stores

The typical in-store video ad is pretty easy to ignore, and it also requires the customer to make a deliberate decision to look at it. That soon might change with a new technology called the iDoor, which puts video or still ads on refrigerator and freezer doors in grocery stores, convenience markets and drug stores.

The ads themselves are transparent––at least, in varying degrees based on the colors in the ad. Since customers can still see what’s behind the doors, the advertising is more integrated, more seamless, and in a sense, more difficult to pass by. The ads can be controlled nationwide from a central location.

Equipment manufacturer Anthony International and digital signage maker Real Digital Media fashioned the iDoor, which has been tested in both Circle K and 7-Eleven stores in addition to several unnamed grocery stores. Anthony International has approximately 600,000 doors around the nation that could potentially be refurbished with the iDoor. Each installation of the new technology is about $5,250.

While a direct use of the iDoor is to advertise products in the cooler behind it, cross-merchandising is another option––marketing chips or frozen foods in a refrigerator that contains soft drinks, for example.

Part of the appeal for the customer is perhaps how unexpected and disruptive the video ads are, particularly in what would likely be a routine stop.

In an 11-week test conducted by VideoMining, a third-party analytics firm, a convenience market in Florida saw a 13 percent increase to cooler doors, a 4 percent increase in sales of products sold in coolers, a 19 percent increase in sales of advertised soft drinks, and a 3 percent increase in store traffic overall. Shoppers also reportedly stopped more frequently while shopping to look at the ads.

 

Digital Enhancements to the Store Shopping Experience

eyes2Some People Find it Creepy and Some Find it Cool.

RichRelevance released a study in May this year entitled, “Creepy or Cool.” The study reveals shoppers attitudes toward digital enhancements to the in-store shopping experience. According the findings, when it comes to getting digital assistance to locate relevant products, find information and traveling the store, shoppers think its pretty “cool.” When it comes to using digital assistance to identify, track and use demographics and locations, like facial recognition to target ads, shoppers feel “creeped” out. One more finding to point out is that recommendations and personalized product information in the dressing room is not welcomed by shoppers.

RichRelevance also breaks down their findings by age group. Millennials are more comfortable with facial recognition capabilities, although Millennials are similar to the older generation with in-store personalization. Dynamic pricing in aisles, or the practice the same product offering different prices, are much different for Millennials because they were the one shopper age group to rate it as more “cool” than “creepy.”

Forrester conducted a survey in April 2015 with 1,016 consumers. Forrester reports that nearly 7 out of 10 shoppers use a mobile device nowadays while shopping in a store. Retailers are making big investments in technology to leverage digital with the in-store shopping experience, more so than ever before.

Some of the key takeaways of what shoppers are thinking include that 76% think it is cool to have the ability to scan an item on your mobile device and look up product reviews as well as find recommendations for other items that they may like. On the other hand, 42% found it creepy that digital screens show a price tailored just for you, versus looking at a price tag. And, 75% found facial recognition technology that would identify you as a high-value shopper and alert an in-store sales associate as “creepy.”

Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance says, “Our study shows that retailers need to focus on digital store capabilities that drive engagement and convenience by making sure the right products and content are always available to shoppers. Retailers have a huge opportunity to leverage their biggest asset, the store, to gain an edge when it comes to customer experience.”

RichRelevance is the global leader in omnichannel personalization.

Image by lauramusikanski – via morguefile.com

 

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Lord & Taylor amps up the in-store shopping experience

FHC_Lord&TaylorChain-wide Beacon rollout personalizes in-store shopping experience.

We couldn’t emphasize the importance of personalizing the in-store shopping experience more if we tried. Today’s consumer is all about individualization and borderline expects a unique experience in every shopping environment.

In order to meet the evolving demand of their consumers, Lord & Taylor decided to launch Swirl’s in-store beacon marketing platform in all of their Canada and United States locations. By using beacons installed in merchandising areas throughout the stores, the retailer will automatically deliver branded content and individualized offers to in-store shoppers, through a variety of third party and company-owned mobile apps.

Lord & Taylor, owned by the HBC Department Store Group, has 130 stores across North America. While the new in-store mobile experience will only be available to shoppers at select malls, there’s no question that it’s going to create a buzz.

The Swirl beacon marketing platform uses a mobile interaction to help strengthen customer engagement during an in-store shopping experience. According to a press release from the HBC Department Store Group, the beacons will be used solely to initiate the delivery of relevant content to shoppers at multiple locations within the store.

The beacon platform is not only known for its impeccable marketing capabilities, but also its ability to meet scalability and security expectations for large-scale retailers.

Photo by Mike Kalasnik – via Flickr

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Back to school season in full swing

back 2 schoolResearch shows that consumers are more likely to shop in-store for back to school items, compared to online.

With back-to-school season in full swing, retailers are scrambling to keep the shelves full.

According to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, roughly 90-percent of households reported their back-to-school shopping takes place at a brick-and-mortar store. The survey also showed that more than one-third of consumers have already started the back to school shopping process, a three-percent increase from 2013.

Consumers will surely hit-up the major retailers for some products, but a majority of back to school purchases will take place at discount stores. Approximately 90-percent of households will shop at discount stores, which takes up about 23.7-percent of all back to school purchases, according to the report.

Retailers like traditional department stores, office supply stores, electronic stores, and apparel shops, should also see an increase during the back to school season. Apparel specialty stores, specifically, should notice a significant increase in sales this season, as this niche has already seen a 2-percent increase compared to 2013.

So, does this mean that nobody purchases back to school items online? Not exactly.

While the share is small, approximately 8.1-percent of back to school purchases are made online. The good news is, though, that this is a 0.5-percent decrease from 2013.

Photo by Mike Mozart – via Flickr

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The Challenge of Merchandising in Today’s Market

HatsProviding consumers with information right off the bat is key in capturing their attention.

Today’s consumer is driven by habit — they go to their favorite stores, walk down their favorite aisles, and they rarely seek help from a sales associate.

This type of shopping behavior has creating major challenges for retailers, particularly when it comes to merchandising. How do you reach someone who is completely unaware of their surroundings?

The answer is simple, provide them with as much information as quickly as possible.

Before electronic kiosks or even cell phones, merchandising was known as a way to feed consumers information, conveniently while in a store. Tactics included vibrant in-store displays, signage, and customer service techniques. Today, you only have a second to capture the attention of your shopper and therefore it’s important to feed them only the highlights of your product.

See, today’s consumer is all about convenience. They want to know how that product is going to help them, not just everything it can do. For example, a ‘radiant heating element’ on a stovetop will carry no meaning to the average customer, but ‘heats up in 60 seconds’ does. This is something to keep in mind for all signage, packaging, and displays.

This type of ‘get to the point’ mentality has bled into shoppers’ opinion of sales associates, too. Many shoppers refrain from asking for help because they either a) have already researched the product or b) they don’t consider the sales associate to be an expert. Because so many retailers hire those without a background in a certain area, sales associates often don’t have extensive knowledge on their department. This creates a disconnect between them and the customer.

As a result, retailers have invested more in electronic kiosks that provide consumers with the information they’re seeking. Essentially, the kiosks takes the place of a sales associate, which overall poses a threat to the traditional retail environment.

Photo by joyeux Halloween – via Flickr

Last Minute Promotion Ideas for July 4th

KevinDooleyYou’ve been gearing up for months for Independence Day, but don’t forget some last minute tips for boosting in-store sales.

Independence Day is still over a week away, but retailers have been gearing up for months.

If you’ve stepped into any store recently, you’ve probably noticed the red, white and blue colors pasted throughout the aisles. That’s because retailers understand the return from July 4th campaigns, and therefore use creative tactics to engage customers in the store.

Independence Day is one of consumers’ top spending holidays across all markets. Especially with the holiday falling on a Friday this year, we can expect a significant increase in sales. For many, July 4th marks the start of summer and it’s common to see a rise in swim wear, boat accessories, refreshments and items for the grill. Independence Day is also one of the highest grossing holidays for beer and liquor sales.

While most of the in-store campaigns are planned out far in advance, there are still some techniques you can use to up your sales on the July 4th weekend.

Stray away from the home aisle. Think about what your target market will be shopping for this weekend, and create displays in other areas of the store. For example, if you sell products for grilling create a display close to the beer section.

Last minute savings. Just like any other holiday, consumers are bound to forget something before heading to their July 4th festivities. Drop the prices of select July 4th themed products — t-shirts, cozies, to-go cups, coolers, etc. — and place them near the front of the store. They will fly off the shelves in no time.

Get the word out. Create window hangings, posters and in-store signage, that is America-themed. Let shoppers know that you’re going to not only have a sale, but you’re the top place to shop for Fourth of July goodies. Take images of the signage (both in the store and the lone image) and post it on social media.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley — via Flickr

In-Store Services Could Help Improve Foot Traffic

Cafe de Paris, Cooking Class

Incorporating more in-store services, events and activities into the retailer environment helps to improve consumer relationships and boost sales.

Whether it’s adding cooking lessons to the daily agenda or sponsoring crafting sessions monthly, companies are incorporating additional in store services into their overall store experience.

The idea is that the added bonus of hands-on activities will keep customers coming back for reasons other than shopping. It’s also a great tactic for increasing customer engagement and establishing stronger relationships with the every day consumer.

Stores like Whole Foods are veterans when it comes to adding services to the store experience. For years they’ve incorporated events like wine tastings, cooking lessons, and lectures into their event schedule, bringing more and more customers through their doors. Not only is the tactic a way to increase sales, but it’s a way to provide the customer with something they can’t necessarily get via the Internet.

Companies in the UK like Hobby Craft and Waitrose have taken a similar path, by hosting weekly public events in their stores. Both reported a shift in the customer mentality, noting that they seemed happier, more educated, and loyal, not to mention that average spending increased, too.

So, how do you get there?

The strategy is to focus on what makes your company great and really pinpoint your key assets. What is your subject area and what are your customers already showing an interest in?

Once you’ve determined this, try and figure out how you will provide those services. It may mean that you will have to reconfigure your retail space, or focus on one service-based sector that you weren’t before. Look at areas in which you could educate your consumers, and really involve them in something interesting.

The result will move mountains. You will not only create an opportunity to strengthen customer engagement, but also new revenue streams, and chances to educate and up-sell while focusing on improving service. It really is a win-win.
Photo by Jeff Kubina – via Flickr

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