Due to the growth of digital technology, success means reaching consumers wherever they are on whatever device they may be using.
Shopping centres need to adapt and combine retail, social, work and leisure all together to meet the current consumer demands. Technology has changed the way people shop: consumers are no longer satisfied with the product alone they expect an entertaining and interactive experience.
The speed at which technology is evolving is astonishing. 6 or 7 years ago it was a unique offering for customers to have Wi-Fi access in store and Starbucks was one of the first chains to offer Wi-Fi access to its consumers in 2010 however, if we fast-forward to today’s consumer, Wi-Fi is no longer seen as a luxury but as the norm. Customers want to stay connected with the world and use their phones as part of their shopping experience, with more than 90% of shoppers using their smartphones instore. This equips consumers with more knowledge than ever before, for example they can now scan barcodes and do price checks. This highlights the need to transform the in-store experience to entice consumers with innovative experiences to stay engaged with the brand, and not be influenced by competitive pricing.
Technology can be used to enhance marketing campaigns. You can use data analytics to expand your knowledge of your consumers and build an extremely detailed consumer profile. You can learn about the demographics, locations, genders and age groups that are engaging with your brand. You can monitor the customer journey to purchase and evaluate what tools are inspiring and influencing decisions allowing you to create a tailored marketing strategy that will really engross your target market.
E-commerce sites are still setting up offline stores which is good news as it demonstrates that space in shopping centres is still in demand. Adam Silverman has found 9/10 retail sales still take place offline. However, this also means that current retail high street stores are getting increased competition from new brands, forcing retailers to really utilise omni-channel opportunities to stay ahead.
Omni-channel offers the opportunity to increase footfall by using the online and mobile platforms to drive interest to retail stores. You can send personalised offers or promotions, use mobile apps to create a bespoke shopping experience, you can even use the data collated online when designing your in-store visual merchandising to make the store layout more appealing and convenient for shoppers.
Omni-channel allows retailers to meet customer expectations and enhance the customer experience. With consumers becoming more technologically savvy, the need to have an omni-channel marketing strategy is critical. All platforms need to be sending a continuous brand message and experience to keep consumers engaged. This is may seem like a challenge but the marketing opportunities that are now becoming achievable are phenomenal.
Are You Ready?
Isabel Ruiz Halter, Consultant, Foundation Recruitment