Marketing for Retail is tricky. You have to come up with fresh initiatives and novel ways every now and then. Your ultimate goal is to pull your prospects to the stores so that they make purchases…….and do that again and again. There is no standard marketing formula for a retail company because the industry has a variety of segments like grocery, beauty, books, fashion, furniture, decor, footwear, etc. Plus, there are different types of outlets, like Boutiques, Concept stores, Departmental stores, Mom-and-Pop stores, Malls, Supermarkets etc.
Deloitte highlighted the importance of technology in retail by mentioning that “Retail innovators know technology is no longer supplemental to the shopping experience, it is fundamental.” Recently, Carrefour launched a robot named “Pepper”. The robot can help the customers by providing them information about discounts, promotions etc. It can also entertain children through games, dances, selfies and short conversations.
Recently, there was a news that Walmart would be soon using drones to enhance the shopping experience for the shoppers. Intel had also shared a video of Chow Sang Sang (a major jewellry retailer from Hong Kong) utilizing Intel® RealSense™ technology through Mirum’s Magic Mirror 2.0. A wonderful mirror like interactive screen that lets the customers try on the jewellery virtually, click pictures and share them on social media. If they decide to purchase a piece, the staff can quickly assist them by locating it. This campaign attracted a lot of youngsters and there was a 100% increase in the sales!
North-Star introduced this Virtual Reality (VR) experience for its customers. The transition from virtual sledging to real sledging was mind-blowing and fun! You need to use technology in such creative ways to attract your customers and make their experience memorable. An article in HBR, suggests that retailers should take a lead towards Virtual and Augmented Reality(AR). These technologies can improve customer experience by manifolds and can also differentiate your brand.
Tesco created a virtual store and introduced its customers to a new world of shopping. A couple of years back, Tommy Hilfiger had introduced a virtual reality shopping experience to attract customers. The audience got a front row view of the Fall 2015 ‘Hilfiger Collection’ runway show, after which they could shop. Similarly, Westfield considered the inclination of its customers towards technology and treated them with an interactive virtual reality tour of the fashion world.
Have you heard about Holoroom? It lets the customers customize a space and then takes them on a virtual tour of around the place! So, they can actually feel being there, in that customized setting. Watch this video for more details:
Augmented reality can surely empower your customers. It can be used to overlay information on products, supermarket aisles etc. This technology can be used to scan a print ad and view an interactive, 3D model of the products. One can also change the colors or turn the product for a complete view.
How about asking your customers to capture their faces on a camera and trying out different kinds of makeup in AR. Yes, without even applying anything on the face! Isn’t it an extremely hassle free experience for selecting shades of eye-shadow, lipstick, blush etc.? IKEA lets its customers try out a variety of pieces of furniture before deciding which one should they buy. IKEA used this fun video to excite the customers about their AR app.
Your customers can scan a product at the store and instantly view its specifications, reviews, colors available on their mobile. Moreover, they can even watch a video of the product! You may like to have a look at the AR Retail Campaign from Lacoste and a demonstration on AR in retail by MIT Technology Review.
You just saw some cool applications of technology in retail. Did you notice that the videos in this blog made it easier for you to visualize and understand things? Well, videos are immensely powerful in communicating your message to your audience. If you still don’t believe us, see how a video can hook the viewers and compel them to hang on until it inspires them to eat healthy:
Any kind of marketing effort, social media communication, campaigns, innovative uses of technologies are incomplete until a video drives down the point to the viewers. Let’s talk about campaigns now. Once you have a fixed goal in your mind, you and your team/agency can brainstorm some ideas to create campaigns and steer your customers in the desired direction ( towards you, of course!).
Let’s discuss some more about eatables. How would you convince people to reduce fruits & vegetable wastage? Will you write a lonnnng document talking about the damages caused? Will you preach them? No way! How about creating characters out of fruits and vegetables?
Isn’t it a great way to teach people to look beyond physical imperfections? This campaign was brilliant and impactful. It increased the awareness about food wastage. Did you notice how the success of the campaign was measured in terms of conversation on social networks?
Social media has become the central platform for communication with the prospects and defining your brand image. Youtube is the biggest platform for sharing and watching videos. You can upload explainer videos, trailers, testimonials, how to videos, corporate videos etc. depending upon your needs. Walgreens, one of the largest drugstore chains in the U.S, makes optimal use of its social media channels. The company knows that when an occasion like Christmas is near, most of the people are confused about what gifts to buy and from where? So, they shared this video to inform the audience that there is a solution to their problem:
Such videos can easily direct the customers to your store. Nobody knows your products as good as you do. You can offer advice related to your field of expertise and indirectly promote your products too! Most importantly, this will build a relation where your customers will turn to you for advice. Such informational videos don’t have to be boring or pushy, they can be fun!
The above video has upbeat music, stop-motion and it just took 15 sec.! Your aim should be to generate a need and remove any hindrances in the path to purchase, like lack of knowledge, information overload or confusion. The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement speciality retailer, does this really well. For instance, they posted a video titled, Types of Grills: Choosing What’s Best for You, which tells the viewers how to select a grill based on their needs, preferences and usage. They know that when the customers get the right product, they are happy and come back again. Another video, DIY Raised Garden Bed – Small Garden Ideas is also quite good at generating need and also offers an easy explanation. The description says, “Shop our assortment of raised garden bed kits to make your own: http://thd.co/2kLCdU2”. A great call to action indeed!