Article supplied by Signagelive
Retail has for some time been competing with e-commerce. We have all seen the same brand creating a different experience online to their ‘bricks and mortar’ establishments. It is now more important than ever that retailers focus on creating ‘experiences’ for those better-informed shoppers.
DOOM AND GLOOM?
One of my favourite statistics for a while (true for retail and other industries) is that 70% of the buying decision has been made BEFORE a customer comes to speak to you! This was true even pre COVID times. When we compare this to 10-15 years ago where it was maybe up to 30% of this decision having been made prior to the contact with the organisation. That is a drastic change in the buyer behaviour. How many retailers have cottoned on to this? If they have how have they adapted their interaction with prospective buyers?
With that in mind, and also taking into account how this pandemic has shaped our ‘bricks and mortar’ buying behaviour this is a number surely due to go up even more. At the end of the day if we have a limited window as a buyer in which to be ‘out and about’ it won’t always now be for the “I’m just looking” type of customer.
So what can physical retailers do to stay relevant and bring in the sales? This is not a new question to any of us. Many industry authorities in the retail and digital signage world have deliberated over this. Doom and gloom seems is all around us with different store closures and retailers going into administration. To the extent where some think that high street retail is dead. But, it is not time to throw in the towel. I’ve heard many times over being said before – that retail is fighting a losing battle against e-commerce, especially after COVID. This isn’t strictly true. For some businesses yes for sure they will not be able to compete, but that is because they are unable to (for whatever reason) pivot their business. By that I don’t just mean make their product/services available online. I also refer to being able to ‘bridge the gap’ between their online and physical experiences. If we can have relatable advertising online why not extend this thinking to the physical store?
It is during times of hardship, be that a recession (2008), or a pandemic that companies can learn to thrive; new normal or not. To do that they need to be agile and willing to change and adapt.
Declining footfall (COVID or not), competition from online merchants among other factors are what can contribute to the retail resurrection in the high street – for some brands at least. So much so that Amazon has dipped its very big foot in this field – arguably the largest e-commerce giant choosing to do physical stores. Crazy right?! Not really. The same as Disney before them they understand:
- The great benefit of ‘experiences’
- They understand their audience – and that ‘Value’ is generated by customers and not by the product
- They use technology to their advantage
We already know:
- At least 52% of retailers claim that customers respond to their use of digital signage messaging very well
- 71% of consumers feel that advertising on digital signage stands out more, compared to online advertising
- 700% increase in sales of a product – due to swapping out print into digital signage as well as targeted/personalised content (the company in question? Iceland frozen foods retailer, the product in question – Coconut water). A prime example of how technology can enable growth in sales by firstly understanding your audience (Clapham High Street store – on a hot summer’s day) and reacting to it by personalised and timely messaging
With just those stats alone Amazon entering this space all of a sudden doesn’t seem that crazy anymore, especially given their technology prowess.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Adaptability, agile strategies and the word that has been done to death ‘omni-channel’. But now is the time to put those words into action. COVID has highlighted those companies who are able to adapt are able to benefit and I don’t just mean the hand-sanitisers with digital signage screens plonked at the entrance of a store. But real planning of what the ‘customer journey’ needs to look like.