With economic uncertainty and Brexit negotiations still taking place, it’s an uncertain and tough time in the retail sector as consumers shun all but the essential purchases. Continued increases in online sales are also negatively affecting the validity of physical retail stores.
This is nothing new, however; retail stores suffered badly following the crash of 2008. How can stores survive, and indeed thrive, in the current market? The key appears to be in the clever and correct use of digital innovations.
Personalised marketing communications have been around for decades, but digital innovation takes personalisation to a whole new level. To succeed, retailers need to get it right. According to McKinsey & Company, there is often a huge gap between what retailers think their clients want and what the customer actually wants, so communications are often inappropriate or irrelevant.
Advances in technology mean that retailers can add more variables to traditional demographics to get a much more accurate picture of a client’s shopping habits and tailor promotions and messages in real time. Variables can now include a client’s physical geographic location, their preferred time to shop, and even the weather.
Of course, it’s still important that retailers continue to offer an in-store experience that puts consumers in the right frame of mind to buy. Getting lighting and in store music right can drastically alter a shopper’s mood, and by extension, their propensity to buy. Companies like https://moodmedia.co.uk/in-store-music-for-business/ can help you with this.
Retailers need to use the online data that they gather about shoppers to more accurately predict their wants and needs so that key messages can be presented to them in a timely fashion. Often, so much of the information gathered isn’t used in a particularly innovative way, if at all. Using algorithms to analyse consumer searching and browsing history will allow retailers to quickly highlight top-selling products and promote them as customer favourites. This is far more appealing to the browsing public than an online stylist who has never met you making recommendations.
Finally, it’s important for retailers to recognise that to succeed, they shouldn’t take an either-or approach. Instead, they should blend the online and in-store experiences. Get back to focussing on the customer and their needs rather than the place they are making the purchase.