“We believe that the global store is dead,” claimed retail business strategists BCG this year. While the global versus local approach is something we won’t touch on, their comment does raise an interesting point. With more consumers engaging digitally with retailers, how relevant is the traditional store? Most retailers view their channels in terms of sales results, but to understand the store’s role in modern retail, you must be aware of the complex customer journey. Gone are the days of simple, across the counter transactions – consumers are subjected to brand messages, and carry out proactive research, across digital channels, IP-enabled devices, traditional media and store networks before they reach the point of purchase. For some, online touchpoints will be sufficient and therefore the store has no use to them. For others, it provides the ultimate ‘moment of truth’ in their buying journey; no matter how good a photo may be on-screen, it is no substitute for being able to see and feel the product first-hand. So in some ways, the store plays a unique and crucial role. Even if the customer doesn’t buy anything during their visit, the shop floor is now a showroom and a social hub. Make the experience compelling and you may even prompt a digital customer to purchase there and then. Success lies in understanding and optimising the relationship between online and offline shopper activities. Just as consumers hop between channels, devices and locations, retailers and brands must create a cross-channel environment, utilising the advantages of each platform to create the best possible retail experience. Dynamic in-store technology is the uniting force between the benefits of digital engagement with the unique advantages of the store environment. Electronic Shelf Labels are just one of the retail technologies helping retailers to deliver better content, competitive prices and personalised offers at the shelf edge, in a previously unseen way, to enhance sales conversions within the store. Ultimately, the relevance of stores will depend on how retailers use them to connect with customers. Bringing digital capabilities to bricks-and-mortar outlets is a powerful way to support the unique product contact only available on the shop floor. David Hilton Director of Marketing & Product Management Displaydata
Retailers are more reliant than ever on data-driven decisions. Information is easy to extract from virtual footprints left by shoppers’ online activities, but what about their behaviour in-store? Today’s challenge is learning how to optimise customer experiences at the shelf edge in order to increase sales conversions.
Research suggests that rather than going in blind, by the time shoppers enter the store, 78% have already researched the product they are viewing. Taking this into consideration, perhaps the question we should be asking is why
don’t they purchase at the shelf edge? Of course their reasons could be personal – the product does not live up to their expectations, they can’t justify the purchase within their monthly budget – but there are some basic ways in which stores are letting them down at the ‘moment of truth’. Lack of information is a major deterrent for shoppers in-store. In an age when we have extensive information at the click of a mouse, shoppers expect shelf edge labels and display stand collateral to outline the main product benefits. As paper labels cannot replicate the rich content of online resources, this must be supported by knowledgeable staff bridging the gaps in their knowledge and nurturing them to the point of purchase. Discordance between channels also puts customers off. Researching a product in advance means they have already engaged with the brand and/or retailer prior to entering the store. A lack of continuity between their online and offline experiences – for instance the product is on promotion online but not in-store – creates mistrust; if they can spot inconsistencies on the surface, what is happening behind the scenes? With 1 in 4 shoppers using their mobiles in-store, cross-channel connectivity must be used to validate their High Street retail experience, not highlight shortcomings. Poor cohesion could even consist of something as simple as limited product availability. If consumers have been driven to the store via an online promotion, they expect to see that item on the shelves. For retailers, the message is simple: give shoppers the right information in the right manner at the right time and you’ve maximised the chances of generating a sale at the shelf edge. Let them down at this critical point and you risk them not only losing faith in the product, but your organisation as a whole. David Hilton Director of Marketing & Product Management Displaydata