What’s Hot 2017
So far, 2017 has been a big year for changes in the retail industry. In the beginning of the year, headlines were filled with retail doom and gloom; big-name retailers shuttering stores, the retail apocalypse, online shopping’s march toward world domination. Today, at the half way point of the year, we see a more positive future, as most brick and mortar retailers have learned to adapt to new consumer dynamics and highlight their physical selling space. Additionally, we have seen a trend of online retailers buying physical locations. This was most recently made apparent with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.
With these changes came a huge drive to ensure every square foot of retail space is as productive as it can be. This is accomplished, in part, through thoughtful in-store marketing; which is, “the art of improving the shopper experience and raising average checkout for brick and mortar retail stores.”
Here is what is new in the field:
Organic themes are no longer cutting edge
Organic is not dead; in fact, it will remain a staple theme for years to come and is even still growing, but there is a new buzzword here to offer even more relevancy and sales lift. Transparency is the theme that consumers are looking for today. This means that consumers are actively searching for:
- Brands who are open and honest
- Products that are sourced responsibly
- Marketing that doesn’t intend to deceive
So what can you do to take advantage of this new trend? Use in-store marketing and signage to showcase what makes you better and different. It could be highlighting causes like non-profit partnerships or charities your company cares about. You can also work with your marketing partner to design in-store marketing that draws attention to product features that consumers consider transparent; such as where it was grown, whether it is organically grown, the sustainability elements associated with the production of a product, etc. In general, when designing an in-store marketing program, think in terms of “openness”, “honesty”, making things “clear”, “visible”, and “not hidden”.
A new technology has emerged to improve effectiveness of in-store marketing
Prior years have been about selling a “lifestyle” through in-store signage and merchandising. This was done most effectively using technologies like high definition printing. Today, retailers need to ensure that messaging drives sales. A new technology, Spot-High Definition printing, comes with a higher likelihood to convince customers to buy than other printing methods.
This new technology opens up a whole new breadth of options for retailers and their marketing partners. Spot-HD signage can help retailers stand out in crowded environments, like shopping malls. Or it can be used to top off existing signage hierarchies in closed environments like grocery stores.
Here are the findings from a consumer study conducted on Spot-HD printing:
- Focus Speed — On average, Spot HD printing attracted eyes to the target focal area 8.2% faster than conventional print methods.
- Focus Duration — On average, eyes remained focused on the featured area using Spot HD printing 15.3% longer.
- Up Sell Purchase Intent — Purchase intent for a higher-priced or premium version of an item highlighted by Spot HD printing increased 28.7% over traditional HD printing and 59.7% over conventional printing.
- Ancillary Item Purchase Intent — On average, consumers are 8% more likely to purchase an ancillary item such as a bottle of wine that was merchandised with a primary item such as a pizza or steak when the ancillary item was printed in Spot HD vs. conventional print techniques.
Technology is slowly gaining a foothold
Hundreds of small technology companies have been created to help retailers increase profits and conversion, but it is still unclear which methods are best or to what degree consumers want technology involved in their shopping experience.
The retail industry has high hopes for things like beacon marketing, which boasts the ability to send personalized offers to a customer’s phone when they walk by a certain product. But, this technology requires the consumer to opt-in as well as providing free Wi-Fi service in the building utilizing the beacons.
Robots equipped with artificial intelligence that are designed to interact with consumers and provide assistance are also currently being tested overseas. If this technology can be perfected and costs reduced, it could do wonders for extending in-store marketing with an interactive element.
To cover all the upcoming technology startups would require another article or two; but for now, remember this: when incorporating a new technology into your in-store marketing programs, build a test program first. Today’s retail environment can put serious pressure on those responsible for increasing retail sales. Solutions are out there, but don’t forget your due diligence!