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The Future of Retail Depends on In-Store Customer Engagement

Ever since the recession in 2008 the Retail environment has changed. Consumers don’t have as much discretionary income as they used to. Except for a small percentage of consumers who are still doing well, the large majority of consumers around the world have been forced to change how they approach consumption. This new kind of consumer needs to get more for her money. Either more of a product or service, more value during in the transaction, or a more personal relationship with the brand that she is supporting. With input costs rising for business owners, many of you cannot afford to lower your prices or provide more of a product or service for the same amount of money you currently charge.

The best way for businesses to cater to this new type of consumer is to provide a better environment for consumers while in your store. The future of Retail depends on how well you engage your customers while they are in your store. Creating an in-store experience that resonates with this new consumer will help separate you from your competition. In our experience combining creativity with new technologies is the secret to creating a better in-store environment for your customers.

Use Digital Signs for In-Store Marketing

I was at a local ice cream parlor with my family the other day and the owner had a 42 inch television set up as a digital sign. He also had a desktop computer set up and had a slide show of images playing. The digital sign was used for:

  • Showing old pictures of the ice cream parlor from the 50s <– wicked cool!
  • Showing events that they had coming up
  • Explaining different ice cream flavors
  • Showing Special Discount Offers

While I waited for my ice cream, which was a long wait because everyone in town loves this place, I was able to learn more about the company, see what new ice cream flavors I might want to try, and learn about different events coming up that I might want to bring my daughter to. All of that without me having to ask any store employees, which obviously would take time away from what they were working on. I left the ice cream parlor already knowing when I would come back, the following Sunday for the Kids Sunday Sundae!

Run Contests In-Store to Engage Customers

Another marketing strategy that I think is going to explode sooner rather than later is retail companies using technology to run in-store contests. Running a contest in your store with iPad and other technologies can be a great way to get people engaged in your company. Retailers can come up with creative contest ideas that involve customers coming into the store, interacting with an iPad or other technology to take part in the contest, and then having an opportunity to win a prize. Consumers love competition. They also love winning and getting “free stuff”. Retailers need to find ways to get their customers to take part in contests while in-store in order to increase engagement. It’s the fun-factor, right? Having fun while shopping is something that will get people talking to others. That word-of-mouth marketing will go a long way towards attracting new customers to your store.

Use iPad to Deliver a Better In-Store Experience for Customers

Last, but certainly not least, is using iPad in a variety of ways to deliver a better in-store experience for your customers. I’ve already alluded to ways in which you can use iPad in your store with some of the ideas mentioned above, but with a technology as groundbreaking as iPad, business owners are simply limited only by their creativity. In-Store Marketing with iPad is going to be the next big retail trend. As more and more business owners start using iPad as a Marketing tool and not just a Productivity tool we are going to see Retail change forever. Here are a few ideas to help you get your synapses firing:

  • Video Marketing with iPad – Show product & service videos on iPad in-store. Lebron James opened a retail store called UNKNWN and he has 20something iPads set up next to each pair of shoes he sells. Customers can watch videos on iPad to learn more about the shoes that they are interested in purchasing.
  • Social Media Marketing with iPad – Using iPad apps like OnSpot Social retailers can now convert shoppers into social media connections right in your store!
  • Survey Marketing with iPad – There apps out there that allow you to ask customers questions on an iPad in your store. You can now get real-time feedback from a consumer who’s standing right in your store. Pretty powerful stuff if you leverage it properly! Maybe you tie your survey feedback into a mobile marketing strategy whereby you ask certain questions, and based on a consumer’s answer you send him a text message with some sort of promotion that he can then use right then and there. Now you have used iPad and Mobile Marketing to convert a prospect into a customers instantly.
  • Restaurant Marketing with iPad – Restaurants can get in the mix as well by turning iPad into a digital menu and ordering tool. Stacked, a burger chain out in Cali has been doing this for years now and it has their patrons coming back over and over again.

Again, I could go on and on here on the different ways to use iPad for in-store marketing. You are truly limited only by your creativity. If you want to learn more about how OnSpot Social can help you build your online community, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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