Retail Marketing 101
New strategies for enhancing the point of sale
Retail Marketing is facing new challenges and opportunities. Even compared to only a decade ago, retailers have seen their possibilities to ensure customer loyalty multiply in the face of stiff e-commerce competition, not just from big players (see Amazon and eBay), but also from small vendors who have been able to combine their physical stores with e-commerce outlets, or from those who have chosen to only sell digitally.
With the rise of mobile and proximity marketing, retailers can turn their sales process into an immersive experience for the customer. This is a path to be taken without delay; the risk is to remain anchored to an outdated (and unsuccessful) “retail” concept. The shopping experience must be enriched with new stimuli.
There are also those who argue that retail marketing as we know it is dead and that it is appropriate to talk about digital retail marketing.
Let’s get into more detail.
Mobile and proximity marketing and retail: the opportunities to be exploited
To succeed in the retail world, offering quality products at honest prices and showing the utmost openness to the customer may no longer be enough. As was already mentioned, it is necessary to shift from selling products to selling experiences; to do so, retailers can take advantage of the technologies associated with mobile and proximity marketing.
Thanks to the iBeacon technology and to a dedicated app, a store can send offers and promotions directly to the smartphones of its local customers’ based upon their previous shopping behaviours. But it’s not just a question of offers and promotions: during the shopping experience, retailers will be able to engage its actual or potential customers with augmented reality, gamification, exclusive content and more detailed information about the products that they are about to buy (for example, production processes).
In brief, beyond the purchases themselves, retailers must actively involve those who walk into their shops: If they are customers already, with loyalty; if they are potential customers, with engagement. Another fundamental issue is that the experience must be tailored for each customer, according to his or her needs and tastes. Each customer is unique: this is the message that must come through.
Retailers and store managers, therefore, will not only have to worry only about supply, window dressing and customer service, but also about the integration of these aspects in a mobile and proximity marketing strategy to make the shopping experience increasingly engaging and interactive.
In order to succeed, basic training should not only be limited to store managers, but extended to all the workers employed in individual stores, so that the brand may pursue a globally consistent strategy, without any great differences between different stores.
These aspects should also be integrated with the possibility of having very valuable data about customers, their preferences and their shopping behaviors. Of course, this also raises issues of privacy; it is important to be as clear and honest as possible on the use that will be made of personal data. Further, it needs to be specified that it is possible that customers will not see technologies such as iBeacon as particularly invasive, considering that we now all leave our personal data around the web without much thought (not always a good choice).
Summarizing, we can say that:
- retail marketing should transform into digital retail marketing
- a company’s marketing strategy should quickly be centred around the technological innovation of its stores everywhere
- retailers should not limit themselves to selling products; to avoid being crushed by their digital competitors, they should provide their customers with an immersive experience.
Many companies, such as Mediaworld, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Ford, have integrated proximity marketing and iBeacon in their marketing strategies; why risk being left behind?
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