In 2017 Amazon, with the acquisition of Whole Foods, started creating bookstores and grocery stores. E-commerce companies, such as Sezane, Allbirds and many others, have begun to expand their reach through physical stores. Meanwhile, apps, virtual and augmented reality have helped make the boundaries between physical and digital retail less clear.
We must not forget that we are in the era of the upshopping : Criteo’s Shopper Story research has shown that 3 consumers out of 4 shop first online and then offline, and vice versa. But there’s more. Criteo’s Global Commerce Review data shows that for North American omnichannel retailers, omnichannel consumers represent 7% of all consumers, but generate 27% of all sales.
Still, it is important to note that 82.5% of all retail sales up to 2021 will probably take place in physical stores
What does this mean for marketers? Your offline marketing strategies are still more important than ever, but remember to take into account that today’s consumers are omnishopper.
Let’s take a look at how some successful retailers are using creative offline marketing strategies for their physical stores.
Acquisition: new generation sales staff
Some online brands, such as Allbirds and Everlane, are now investing heavily in opening physical stores, while international retailers, such as Sephora, are training their sales staff to make it more digitally competent.
Allbirds manages physical stores like restaurants , offering customers an engaging experience where products and sales people are always available to them.
“There is a bartender who takes care of the inventory; assistants, waiters … everything is done to ensure that buying shoes is a unique and engaging experience, “says founder Joey Zwillinger.
At Sephora, employees are not only cosmetic experts: they must also have digital skills to assist customers in using the brand’s digital tools, from the app to the website. What matters most is “the human experience” that Sephora tries to create, improving the interpersonal skills of his staff.
More than the design of the sales points and the interactive experiences, the experience depends mainly on the skills of the sales staff. Recruitment and training are key steps to turn consumers into loyal customers.
Re-engagement: a unique and acceptable experience
The Allbirds shoe store (or restaurant) is reminiscent of the physical store of the French clothing brand Sezane.
The “Appartements” of the brand, based in Paris and New York, welcome customers in a spacious and well designed environment, with coffee corners worthy of Instagram and free drinks and pastries. Customers are invited to sit, sip a drink and have fun, whether they buy or not, since the “appartements” themselves are part of the experience.
Likewise, at this year’s South by Southwest, energy drink company Gatorade presented the Gatorade Combine experience , in which visitors experienced the “future of athletic assessment and athletic innovation for life” in Combine format, a product of Gatorade’s vision from Gatorade and Sports Illustrated. “
Visitors had the opportunity to compare speed, movement and strength with those of professional athletes in three different locations, which issued complete reports to share then on social media. A well thought out shareable experience translates into ROI. When people share their social experience, they create an opportunity for the brand to gain greater visibility , as well as new potential customers.
An important thing to remember: make sure that the experience is aligned not only with your brand, but also with the customer’s needs. According to Advertising Week, media addicted consumers are skilled enough to recognize when a brand offers nothing in return for its promotion on social media. As good as a shareable experience, if the advantages are one-way, it can actually damage the brand instead of enhancing it.
Conversion: the fusion between physical and virtual
Sephora offers its customers the possibility to virtually test lipsticks using an app. by downloading a filter and using the mobile phone camera they can then try different brands and colors.
IKEA offers customers an app that, through augmented reality, lets you preview how a piece of furniture looks in your home.
These innovations not only help customers make decisions, but increase the number of conversion possibilities to evaluate and purchase products. Consumer paths often oscillate between online and offline and on mobile devices. For this reason, augmented reality and virtual reality applications contribute to linking different experiences.
Define your offline marketing strategy
A successful offline marketing strategy must connect the buying paths of your consumers between all channels: whether it be with the digital and interpersonal training of sales staff, or with the creation of engaging and engaging in-store experiences, or with the latest virtual reality technologies to bring products closer to customers, or even through all three cases.
The best thing to do in offline marketing is to avoid dealing with online and offline channels as separate and in competition: it is important to combine all the channels and offer one and only customer experience.
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