2016 will herald many changes to the retailer’s marketing paradigm. Forbes recently published a list of marketing trends that will define 2016 and which successful businesses need to adopt to stay on top in the new year.
Let’s take look at how interactive technology can help retailers utilize and benefit from these trends.
1. Embracing the customer experience model
It’s no secret we’ve been moving away from the classic form of advertisement. Static advertisement strategies to merely attract customers are a thing of the past. With the onslaught of information, creating an engaging experience around the customer is today’s minimum ante. Now, it’s all about an integrated model to boost customer service and experience. Today’s sophisticated tools allow businesses to learn about their customers, predict their behavior and create tailored experiences designed to maximize revenue.
Interactive touchscreen technology can not only provide an amazing customer experience but also tracks and reports on that experience. Now you can identify buyer behavior, identify interests, measure loyalty and then fine tune your program to capitalize on the data, increase engagement and boost conversion rates.
Not convinced it’s worth it? Think of it this way: When was the last time you had a phenomenal customer experience and spent less? You might tip more at a restaurant or get dessert. Maybe you buy an extra product or a get that up-sale.
2. Ad-blockers and attention bias
Respect the consumer’s personal space. In-your-face marketing can be a serious nuisance, and frankly, a little insulting. The bottom line is: consumers do not care about or pay attention to things that are not important to them.
So how can you get an effective advertisement to a consumer when they are so invested in ignoring you?
Ultimately you need to make sure you keep it relevant. One way is by delivering a valuable, insightful experience and keeping it interactive and fun. By making it interactive you engage with them rather than advertising at them.
3. Dream and market in 3D
In the future, you will see 3D technology becoming more and more mainstream. As this technology develops you will be able to merge it with your interactive experience to bring your products to ‘life’ for your consumers with virtual tours, product demos, sales presentations and more. Whether using traditional screens for interaction, or a gesture based approach, 3D technology mirrored with a level of interaction creates the virtual experience users can explore, educate and enjoy.
4. Social media as a channel
In the past marketers have attempted to use social media as a marketing strategy. Social media is the seasoning, not the dish. It’s a channel you can use to accent your campaigns, not the campaign itself. It empowers users to share experiences, creating that coveted organic buzz marketers dream about.
Social media has been playing a role in interactive marketing strategies with several companies including Macy’s with its Magic Mirror. Customers can share an outfit they like with friends on Facebook, get feedback and raise interest to check it out for themselves.
You can do something similar in any interactive strategy you adopt. Maybe if you are a home builder you have a kiosk that allows people to design their future home and then share the result on Facebook or Pinterest. This strategy can be applied to several different interactive experiences and businesses.
5. Omnichannel is the retail consumer’s BFF
In 2015, we know that the “Digical”, the merging of physical and digital, is important. More and more companies like Dominos, Macy’s, and Barnes and Noble are adopting an omnichannel strategy. This integrated customer experience allows consumers to have an excellent customer experience regardless of the channel.
Having a rich omnichannel presence, will help drive sales because people can make purchases much easier. People can get what they want, the way they want it, how they want it and when they want it.
Interactive touchscreens can help customers find out more information on a product, read reviews, watch videos, find related products and check availability bringing the informative online experience in store. Imagine you have a blouse and you want to buy it but the color you want and the size you need isn’t in the store. You can have an interactive table that will read the blouse and pull up relevant information, showing you all the colors and sizes available. Now the color and size you want can be shipped to you or you can pick it up at another store if available.
6. Big Data is for marketers
Data has always been valuable to making business decisions and with interactive applications, it has never been more easy to harvest. More and more interactive tools are available to ease the mining, managing and translation of data used improve your sales and customer experience.
Like measuring clicks, sophisticated interactive software allows you to understand buying behavior, interests, loyalty, and patterns helping you to improve your strategies and cater them to your audience.
7. Mobile apps
It’s not too late to get a mobile experience going for your business but you have to get on it soon or fade into obsolescence.
Consider some custom interactive mobile apps. This can be an extension of your omnichannel or just a great interactive mobile customer experience.
8. Video use explodes
It’s been almost four decades since ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ and it’s doing it again but this time it’s print. Millennials have proven they are inclined to boost their education via YouTube rather than with more conventional sources, making video a must-have for retailer who wants to sell to the approximately 80 million millennials. We talked about the need to go digical, but the ability to integrate video into an in-store experience is a game changer. Listen to the market and install touchscreens for the video-driven-self-educating-process consumers are flocking to.
9. Content, content, content!
You know content is important, but not all content is king. Content needs to remain sharp and contextually relevant. It’s a whole new ballfield using listening skills coupled with real-time seamless offers that align more than they interrupt. Interacting with great content allows users to dive into areas important to them in a fun way.
But, there’s a problem.
It needs to be good. That means it needs to be intuitive and super easy to navigate. The last thing you want is a consumer touching a screen or display, something that should be interactive, to find out it’s not. It also needs to be quick. Save the flashy splash and cut right to the chase. It also needs to be expansive. It’s frustrating when any amount of time is invested interacting with a display hoping to learn something only to walk away with nothing other than a bad experience and realization of wasted time.
In order to up the marketing game, retailers need to invest into an interactive experience that rocks and which drives results. Finding an excellent software that delivers these metrics and results will make your job easier. You may be lucky enough to find a touchscreen software that actually tracks how close you are to your goal and does some of the analysis for you.
These marketing trends are not new. They’ve just slowly been evolving and now they are ready for your interactive experience. Marketing is still about the customer and delivering value. Now though, you have to add some creativity in your marketing strategies.
It’s almost 2016 and the year belongs to interactivity. It should be a part of your marketing too. It’s not mainstream yet but what the technology provides is. This whole list culminates into a great customer experience and a confident consumer base.