How do you effectively market to a customer you only interact with 6-8 times a year? How can your website possibly compete with social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest who interact with those same customers for several hours a day?
A new report from Deloitte finds that the gulf between what consumers want from stores and what they actually get in online shopping is wider than ever, based on responses from 5,100 shoppers. This not only putting pressure on retailers to evolve their in-store experience but also to overhaul their entire marketing strategy.
According to Deloitte: Just 30% of people in the survey say they respond to retail advertising, down from 70% two years ago. That’s because shopping online has given people more control — and they like it.
Some 66% say they prefer “a self-directed shopping journey,” up from 30% in 2014. “Retailers’ ability to influence that journey is at an all-time low,” the report says. And they have made it worse, by being “painfully slow at moving from a legacy ‘campaign’ mindset (where everything is planned around sales events) to a 'customer’ mindset (where the planning process is built around the needs of different segments of customers instead of sales events).”
For retailers, the bright side of this is that customers are more willing to share data such as location and personal details, in exchange for a better shopping experience.
“The majority of consumers’ preferred method of locating, buying and receiving product in-store has been redefined by their online experiences,” it says. “This proves the store has more influence over online purchases than retailers may think.”
One conclusion that Deloitte draws from this study -- is that retailers are wasting time and money if they think their own sites can win with customers. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t put any energy into your website but here are some other areas that may pack a bigger punch when it comes to enhancing the path-to-purchase.
Gain a full 360-degree view of the customer
To execute a successful digital marketing strategy and enhance the in-store experience, retail marketers need a full 360-degree view of the customer. Customers want customized messages and offers and they are willing to share data with you if you use it innovatively to create a more personalized shopping experience. Sephora, for example, consolidates data from all touch points and assesses the results in real-time. Therefore the brand is able to drill down into its marketing database to compile sophisticated segmentations using each customer’s unique transactional history gathered from various touchpoints.
Leverage social platforms
Social networks are proving to be more than just spreading the word. Over the past year, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest have all experimented with direct “Buy” buttons on their website. Retailers should continue to experiment with different social platforms and various types of content and closely measure the impact of what is connecting with customers. Connecting social media experiences to brick-and-mortar locations also offers a great way to further engage social followers. Social media should be seen as an extension of the physical location versus just an online experience.
Bring the best of online into the store
Finally, bring the perks of online shopping into your brick-and-mortar stores. Enable consumers to research and find products through self-serve endless aisle kiosks. Ensure customers get the product they want even if it’s not in stock through dropship capabilities.
Learn more about enhancing your in-store experience by downloading our on-demand webinar titled, 'Which In-store Technologies Will Make Omnichannel a Reality' below.