Retail companies that excel at engaging with customers across multiple marketing channels have twice the retention rate compared to average merchants, according to research from the Aberdeen Group.
Cross-channel marketing is a successful retail strategy because it follows your audience’s activity from channel to channel, effectively increasing sales opportunities at each touch-point. For example, if a prospect is browsing a product on your website but abandons his shopping cart before completing the purchase, you can use cross-channel engagement to re-market the product they looked at via an alternate medium, including a Facebook ad or email marketing campaign.
Considering that the last five years of digital ad saturation has resulted in an epidemic of banner blindness, it’s become clear that marketing efforts must innovate, expanding to multiple touch-points both in and outside the home. A seamless approach across various channels – especially inside a physical retail space – guides your potential customers toward heightened engagement, increasing brand equity and sales. Since 72 percent of consumers prefer an integrated approach to marketing, cross-channel engagement is worth mastering.
Your retail space has incredible touch-point potential, providing access to your customers via multiple messaging conduits within the store: packaging, in-store video, on-shelf displays, and the opportunity to enhance their brick-and-mortar experience by taking them online while they’re inside the store. Read on for ideas for using in-store media to achieve higher brick-and-mortar cross-channel marketing effectiveness:
Encourage Showrooming With Free WiFi
With 82 percent of purchasing decisions are made in-store, it makes sense to talk to your customers while they’re browsing. Eight out of ten of them are already on their phones while in the store, so if you don’t offer WiFi, you’ve just lost out on the huge opportunities afforded by people’s preference to research products, compare prices and read reviews while shopping.
Historically, many merchants see in-store mobile access as a threat considering shoppers can use their smartphones for showrooming, but now it has become clear that shoppers are demanding a cross-channel experience. Offer free, branded WiFi that automatically lands your customers on your homepage (or a strategically designed landing page pushing a specific promotion), empowering them to engage with you throughout their shopping journey.
Promote Branded Hashtags Offline
Because customers respond best to cohesive brand experiences, it’s imperative to integrate your in-store marketing with social media. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to accomplish this is by displaying hashtags through offline media within the store.
Memorable, concise, and branded hashtags can fit anywhere in a brick-and-mortar environment. Utilize them on your signage, mention them on your in-store promotional radio programming, and be sure to display them on your in-store infotainment. That way, your customers can join an ongoing conversation when they post to social media about your brand, making it easier for you to engage with them online and helping to spread your messaging to your customers’ social graphs.
Point-of-sale video screens have become exceedingly popular as brick-and-mortar marketing touch points, and they’re perfect for promoting branded hashtags. The checkout is the ideal place to place a smart screen, since people hate waiting in lines. Innovative digital signage at grocery stores reduces perceived wait times by more than a third, and 84 percent of customers claim that watching content on in-store displays helps the time spent waiting in the checkout line pass more quickly. Displaying a hashtag for several seconds at the end of a video clip can be highly effective for driving online engagement among your offline audience.
Push Mobile Messaging With Beacons
As small devices that communicate with nearby smartphones, beacons can also be effective for gathering information about audience members, and they can also be used to notify consumers about relevant promotions, based on their movements through your store. Although still in its infancy states, beacon technology is considered an uber-effective in-store strategy, having influenced some $15 billion in offline spending over this past Black Friday weekend.
Beacons, however, are not yet an industry standard. While there’s no shortage of case studies proving the effectiveness of beacons as an in-store marketing tool, many experts have expressed reservations based on consumers’ privacy concerns.
Empower Your Customers to Skip the Line
Long lines kill sales. Nearly 50 percent of all customers will purposely avoid a retailer in the future if they had to wait longer than five minutes in line. With a mobile POS solution, however, you can empower your customers to skip the line completely, and check out right next to the shelf where their purchase awaits.
In addition, mobile POS allows your cashiers to double as knowledgeable sales consultants, differentiating you with exceptional customer service. With tablets in hand, your sales staff can approach customers who are in the middle of their decision-making processes; team members can provide advice and suggest upsells.
Stores Must Usher in Cross-Channel Engagement
According to data cited by Harvard Business School, retailers utilizing multiple marketing channels are more profitable than those employing only a single channel. Brick-and mortar environments are ideal for creating numerous touch-points with your customers, and the variety of in-store media solutions available today make it accessible and affordable to do so.