Create a cohesive omni-brand experience for your customersBY Australian Retailers Association
An omni-channel campaign aims to give the shopper the ability to experience brands and products with equal levels of engagement and excitement. This allows them to seamlessly switch between formats and channels, and have a uniform impression of not only what the brand is, but also what it can be.
Although there is much discussion about the challenges facing traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, we need to be clear about what is happening - online is competing against physical stores and traditional retail can’t ignore the fast-moving digital age. The retail space is evolving where new and exciting concepts have the platform to develop and expand rapidly.
Brands merchandised in physical stores need to explore and develop the crucial interactions between shoppers and products at a rapid rate to meet the needs of a modern, tech-savvy market.
As we drive forward in the digital retail age, we still crave the experience and the destination of a physical store environment, however, our expectation of how we interact with brands in this space is much greater than in the past. We want to not only see the product presented innovatively and excitingly where we can touch and feel it, but we also want to fall in love with the brand and become a part of its future.
The physical space in which products exist needs to drive shoppers’ instinctive search for newness. Not only new products but new ways in which to experience and interact with them. We expect innovation to be at the heart of everything we see. We want it quickly and for it to be constantly changing, updating, and evolving.
Digital is the catalyst for this change and it allows us to experience products everywhere and anywhere. We search for products online, we watch influencers show us how to use our favourite brands, we buy from websites, we search social media channels for new launches and we use digital media to comment on our experiences along the way.
The key to this is that we engage with products and brands in a dynamic way where everything is mobile, not static or linear. It is not at set times nor in a particular order. We interact with digital content as we go about our day and as we do this, the line between the digital and physical space is constantly being blurred.
This merging, overlapping, and fusion of influences means that traditional digital media and physical store environments need to present brands and products in alignment, with the same level of engagement and excitement.
Have you ever watched an amazing YouTube clip of a product and then seen the same product in-store on an empty shelf with some outdated printed collateral? Equally, have you been in-store and seen a product presented amazingly and then searched online and found that you are left feeling underwhelmed from a pixelated thumbnail image?
This is the challenge facing brands in the modern retail market where traditional channels and how brands populate them have changed and will continue to do so. The key is in being adaptive and creating exciting brand experiences that have consistency in the way in which shoppers interact, both digitally and physically.
Opportunities exist to build upon this current state of flux by generating disruptive, immersive content and engage shoppers in new ways.
People won’t just switch to digital and stay at home buying products and usually, they won’t return to the ‘good old days’ of traditional retail.
There is enormous potential for the future of retail and we need to adopt an exciting new approach that will allow brands to capitalise on new opportunities via a multi-tiered strategy. We don’t look at digital and physical as separate entities but as complementary parts of the same puzzle.
Take your brand, or even a whole category, and generate digital content that can be used to populate websites, social media channels, or an interactive element instore. This process carries over to physical displays and store environments so that the same look and feel can be applied and the same features can be promoted. The process of unboxing the product and glorifying its features can be aligned across formats and through different shopper experiences.
The beauty of this is that the process can be developed simultaneously so that each format can be launched to meet a key date, or structured to meet different key stages in an omni-marketing strategy. It can also be developed globally or modified locally to meet the needs of a different market.
The aim is to create something special. Something remarkable that makes you stop, look, and think about what a brand can be physically, digitally, and virtually.
As technology becomes faster and more reactive, traditional retail will need to adapt to stay relevant and ultimately to stay afloat.
With COVID-19 creating a momentous impact on many areas of society, the effects on retail will be significant. Brands and retailers now need to innovate to create unique experiences that exist beyond the four walls of a store and disrupt shoppers throughout the journey.
Written by Point Retail
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.