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Here’s how store owners can maximizing sales in physical locations
Every time I open my newsfeed I’m reminded about the impending horror of the so-called “retailpocolypse,” which portends the ultimate demise of the brick-and-mortar store. Toys ‘R’ Us just announced that they will close all its more than 700 US stores. J.C. Penney recently closed 138 stores. Foot Locker will be shuttering an additional 110 stores, following the 140 closed in 2017. The list goes on and on, making it feel like the retailpocolypse isn’t coming but that it’s already here!
But is it though?
U.S retailers actually opened more new stores in 2017 than they closed, according to the IHL Group. Turns out, retail isn’t dying, it’s just changing. The brick-and-mortar store is becoming more and more of a strategic asset, that when paired with internet and mobile technologies to create personalized, omnichannel experiences drives loyalty and market share.
It’s all about the experience
Stores with great shopping experiences are winning even in this “retailpocolypse”- think Apple or Starbucks. Physical stores are so important in today’s shopping ecosystem that even historically online-only retailers like Warby Parker and Amazon are getting into the ring and seeing great results. In fact, there is even buzz around Amazon buying some of Toys ‘R’ Us’s stores.
While the death of brick-and-mortars is clearly an extreme overstatement, what is undeniable is the change in shopper’s habits. Sure, 90 percent of all retail sales still happen in a physical store, but, with $0.64 of every dollar spent in those stores being influenced by a digital interaction, we’re beginning to see that it’s not a matter of if you should focus on online or offline. Shoppers do not make that distinction. It doesn’t matter whether a shopper is connecting to your brand through a retailer, a website, Instagram, or text; the levels of expectation around consistency, relevancy and immediacy continue to rise.
So how do you manage, not only great in-store experience, not only great online experiences, but great seamless experiences that transcend all channels and delivers value no matter where shoppers find you?
While it’s important to map out and understand your entire customer journey, from pre-purchase to purchase, to post-purchase, at ShopLiftr our focus is on building pre-purchase awareness online to drive purchases in-store.
At the heart of what we do is an ad technology called dynamic creative optimization, where we pull real-time data about the user and their location to create the most contextually relevant and actionable ads that are tied to physical retailers, SKU’s and in-store promotions nearby.
How does it work?
To ensure that Shopliftr serves up the best creative and most powerful messages in our ads, we pull from several triggers, empowering our platform to make hundreds of real-time decisions whenever one of our ads are served.
Most notably, several of our triggers stem from our proprietary database of localized trade promotions, our SHOPPR Engine, which is the largest real-time database of in-store promotions, spanning over 80,000 retail locations across the United States. The SHOPPR Engine powers our ads with store location data so wherever a user sees our ads, we can direct them to the nearest retailer that carries the featured product. Moreover, we know what is on sale, when it’s on sale and how much it’s on sale for. According to a Forrester report, 63 percent of shoppers are influenced into buying a product when they’re undecided if they are presented with a promotion. That means serving a promotion at the right time in a shopper’s buying journey can have a huge impact on your ability to convert them.
All our data is accurate down to the store level, so even if a product has different prices between stores or regions, when a shopper sees one of our ads they will not see generic pricing. They will be served with the exact price of the product in the particular store nearest to them. So, when we talk about a seamless experience between online and in-store, this is the level of granularity that you need to really captivate your audience.
Keep it simple
While creating the best experiences for shoppers is our primary objective, we are also mindful of the people running and managing these campaigns. The demand and level of complexity behind each campaign can be overwhelming even to a veteran in the space. In light of this, we have taken a strong stance on being simple. We want to make it as easy as possible for our clients to provide their customers with value.
To launch one of our SMART™ Campaigns, you don’t need to know all the deals you want to promote, the associated prices or the store addresses. You can ditch the excel spreadsheets mapping out what ad needs to run when, featuring which product at which retailer, in which market speaking to which persona. And you can forget about needing to manage the hundreds of ad tags produced by this level of variety in your campaign.
Our SMART™ Ads, SMART standing for Shopper Marketing Ad Rendering Technology, can dynamically swap assets, promotions, addresses, messaging and calls-to-action all with a singular ad tag. If you want to promote a different product with a different message in New York than you do in Los Angeles, you don’t need to use two different tags, independently programmed with their own unique rules. SMART™ will detect your shoppers location, any nearby promotions and serve the right variant all through a centrally managed campaign.
What about online transactions?
Our platform is completely flexible to the needs of a campaign. For instance, if a shopper is nearby a store, you could to drive them to the retail location and stress the immediacy of the purchase and incentivize them with a promotion. However, if they are not near a physical store, we can drive the shopper to an online checkout, highlighting the convenience of the purchase, pulling from online inventory data and pricing for a totally seamless experience for the user no matter what the context is.
We are driven to be the most effective platform for turning online engagement into sales, allowing shoppers to effortlessly discover, research and move between channels, blurring traditional in-store shopper marketing and awareness building brand marketing. CPG’s, retailers, QSRs, anybody looking to drive traffic to a physical location can benefit from our technology and leverage our hyperlocal targeting to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time.
The future of retail
It is evident that brick-and-mortar stores are not going away, but that companies need to get focused on how to turn these locations into strategic assets that blend perfectly with their digital assets. They need to deal with their customer’s buying journey in its totality - which spans across devices, locations and channels, and serve one consistent and seamless experience that is increasingly more personalized, contextualized and relevant to the shopper and where they are on their path to purchase.
At ShopLiftr, we continually strive to do just that. To bridge the divide that only exists between offline and online, but to fill the gaps between brands, retailers and the shoppers. It is not the stores that are dying, it’s that the shopper has taken the power and control away from them, becoming more empowered and sophisticated and longer needing to tolerate anything they don’t like.
Shoppers are no longer shopping at a store or buying a brand because they need to, so give them an experience that they will value and that they will remember. And, that is how you will earn their loyalty.
This article was written by Nathan Hall, VP of Marketing at ShopLiftr
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ShopLiftr provides the easiest way to increase digital campaign engagement and drive in-store sales. By combining the technology and the content brands require to make the biggest impact, we empower CPGs to create effective omni-channel experiences, eliminating the complexity of other solutions.