Is Retail Business Really Dead? Or Do We Need to Change?

What is it that retail customers are looking for now in a retail outlet? User experience is what they are looking for. People are calling it experiential retailing where owners are pushing to develop tangible products or even services which customers can touch and feel. Retail outlets are expected to take customers on a journey surpassing the old school ways of just purchasing but a total customer immersion within the retail outlet.

Building a well executed brick and mortar store will undoubtedly face unpredictability like connectivity, geographical coordinates, weather and general human error. It’s difficult, really difficult to build and develop a store which people intentionally want to hang out. This is of cause unlike online shopping, everything is controlled through your keyboard and clicks from your mouse which in comparison is much easier controlled and documented than the above mentioned unpredictability face in the real world stores.

It’s obvious that technology is required in solution to providing a much more immersive in-store experience. This merging practice of the physical and digital world requires a new angle of technology application.

It’s no more whispers that the people in the industry are preparing for the fall in retail industry. But they could never be this wrong., E-commerce may be growing at a rapid phase of 15% annually but brick and mortar would still hog up 70% of retail sales transacted 5 years from now. This directly represents an estimate of 0.85 cents of every retail dollar spent.

Marketers are now equipping themselves with skills designed to combine retail brands in-store experiences with their online channels into one omni-channel experience. Their primary goal is to provide in-store shoppers a much higher lifetime value in comparison to those whom simply shops online. To ensure the success of an effective marketing strategy for the revolutionary of in-store retail experience, retail marketers must uphold these four ideologies, arranged in steps for easy guidance.

Step 1: Customer is King

Having to consistently engage the right customer with the right sales pitch of your product is definitely an uphill task. Uphill it maybe, but it’s not impossible. Everything begins with a step, and this first step would be the one your customer takes when entering your retail store. This type of identification is generally referred as ‘progressive profiling’. Retail marketers which consistently and diligently studies their customers journey in-store, streamlining prompts engagement with special moment usually build a much more lasting brand impression.

To be successful in this field, one has to thread the thin line of customer self-discovery and retailer supervision. But if done right, brand loyalty can successfully be achieved..

Step 2: A Technology which All Retail Employees Must Understand

No matter how effective the technology maybe in increasing in-store experience, if a retail employee fails to understand, implementation failure is imminent. Whatever the technology adopted, it must be flexible enough for all in-house staffs working in-store to use and introduce, but at the same time smart enough for owners to extract analytical insights of which customer is more loyal for example.

The key difference between a successful system is the potential in providing retailers with actionable data in real-time. This real-time analytics provides employees the information and timing to better execute their job in bring active guides in every customer’s shopping experience.

Step 3: Tier 1 Retail Marketing, Bringing your Customers In-store

Irregardless of how magical your in-store experience is, with no customers walking through your front door, it’s as useless as can be. Thanks to the advancement of technology, the way customers find products is most likely to change drastically. Search engines are now encouraging people to question in specifics, with the ability to return direct answers for searches like “maternity outfits near me” or “best cafe near me”. This is where retail brands can build their online to offline presence, firstly by making themselves visible online.

Step 4: Tier 2 Retail Marketing, Understanding your Customers In-store  

Its not unusual for a retail brand to understand their customers behaviour online rather than in their brick and mortar retail outlets, where customers are right under their nose. Once a customer walks in-store, they practically are on stealth-mode.

So what other strategy could there be? The answer’s simple, the good old ‘Passion’. Create a hit on the passions of your customers, and you’re on to way to a potentially successful in-store strategy. Connecting to your customers basing on their passion whether through branded contents or events, when people engage with brands in these moments, they are explicitly stating that they are all so excited and passionate about the engagements.

Types of ‘Passion’ events which big brands have been using for years are such as HomeDepot’s workshops, Samsung’s Virtual Reality Events, REI Outdoors Events, Nike Run Club and Sephora’s Beauty Workshop. Now with the availability of at the forefront of the offline experience, retail owners can now strategically select guest lists and develop in-store engagement which captivates customers who are most likely to purchase.

It’s about time retail tech players start a massive disruption movement on this 20 trillion USD industry. All it needs is the right solution to come along to capture their stake of the market. EngageBlink has taking the spearheading role in South East Asia to provide solutions to the retail brand space enabling them to re-captivate in-store experience of their customers. How? by providing a Plug-and-Play marketing tool aimed to strengthen customer engagements by re-captivating in-store experience with real-time user information.