Omnichannel marketing, i.e., the ability to offer a continuous brand experience across shopping formats and devices, has in recent years been mostly interrupted and poorly delivered offline. This new disruption is why in-store branding execution is vital for the survival of brick and mortar stores.
When shoppers are in brick-and-mortar stores and face demotivated (or no) staff, waste time standing in line, do not find the products they´re looking for, feel not stimulated to buy – or even worse – do not have the impression of being welcome and appreciated.
In other words: Many brands and retailers have gotten much better at matching their mobile app the responsive design of their website than creating an engaging and brand-building look, feel, and convenience inside their stores.
According to Nielsen´s Global Retail Growth Report, e.g., 46% of shoppers around the world say that grocery shopping is something they try to spend as little time as possible doing. Less than half of global respondents (49%) believe their leading grocery retailer always or mostly communicates with them in a relevant way. Why would you as a brand or retailer not want to exchange with shoppers, have them experience (feel, touch, smell) your products, have them express their socializing needs and desires in real stores? And although it´s common knowledge that we all dislike waiting at traditional check-out counters, after more than a decade, the supermarket industry is still testing self-checkout kiosks (except for the UK where it went mainstream). Instead, tech and retailing company Amazon launched in December 2016 a store called Amazon GO which works differently and empowers customers: Shoppers use an app, also called Amazon GO, to automatically add the products they buy to a digital shopping cart. Then they can walk out of the building without waiting in a checkout line.
Top marketers will need to become bolder and more focused again when thinking about how to deliver real-life-brand experiences. As a basic, and as such no new news, brands should continue to invest in exclusive in-store promotions, e.g., through beacons technology which sends data to smartphones via Bluetooth.
Top marketers, however, go a step further and continue to drive state-of-the-art technology into “connected” brick-and-mortar stores – e.g., installing smart mirrors or smart fittings rooms of suppliers such as KineticCafe or Oak Labs – which excite shoppers and deliver real value. If you are in the lifestyle or FMCG business, you might want to talk with Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store manager in New York City who has started testing a new smart fitting room.
It´s never been easier to sell your brands and products in almost any place in the world thanks to various online marketplaces. Top brands will go the next step in 2019.
The Steps for In-Store Branding Execution
First, they will take full advantage of offered services of leading platforms like the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service for brands and merchants. Instead of you having to fulfill orders one by one, Amazon stores your products for you and picks, packs and ships them out to customers in return for specific fees (pay as you go). The best brands will also enter closer co-operation with leading e-commerce platforms by establishing branded stores on big marketplaces, join their affiliate programs, share data, etc. Second, expect ambitious and growth-focused marketers to enter new collaborations with online marketplace partners which either operate in specific niches (e.g. Etsy or Zibbet for vintage or handmade products) or which are well positioned in specific geographies like e.g. Alibaba or JD.com in China, Flipkart in India, Souq in the Middle East, Rakuten in Japan or Tokopedia in Indonesia. Indonesia will soon become the third biggest e-commerce nation behind China and India; particularly in the Consumer Packed Goods sector.