In retail marketing, connection is critical. Smart shopper marketers strive to connect with the customer, and to connect what happens in-store with experiences beyond its four walls. It’s personalization on the micro and macro levels.
Today’s shopper seeks a relationship with brands and products. She wants to understand, and be understood. She wants a return on her investment of time, money and loyalty. She craves experience and the opportunity to discover. She celebrates her individuality. And so should retailers.
One of the best ways to connect is through personalization. It’s a hot topic in current shopper marketing conversations for a reason. It works. We now live in a custom-made world (or at least like to believe we do). We celebrate (dare I say revel in) our individuality. The mindset is clear: If my car can adjust itself to my personal specifications, and if the chef can tweak an entrée to meet my oh-so-particular dietary needs, retailers can certainly tailor my shopping experience.
One-size-fits-all shopper marketing doesn’t fit anymore. So how can retailers personalize shopping (and connect)?
Engage in Store Theatrics. Shoppers want a little entertainment with their goods and services. They want to be delighted, amused, surprised. In-store events or unique services – especially if they are exclusive – feeds the shopper’s need for individuality. Giving them access to items and personalities and ideas they otherwise couldn’t access makes them feel special – and connected to your brand.
Create a smaller footprint. Artfully curated collections of merchandise – intimately presented -- draw shoppers. Small is big now. Big box retailers are creating stores within stores through designer partnerships. Mall locations aim for a specialty boutique feel. Pop-up shops present collections of merchandise that tell a story.
Enable Wi-Fi technologies. People shop with their smartphones in hand. Instead of fighting it, smart retailers will share the bandwidth. Not only is it a conduit to two-way communication between shopper and brand (there’s that connection again), it allows the consumer to personalize her experience through social interaction and by knowing what she needs to know when she needs to know it. She will appreciate the retailer who makes that happen.
Redefine the loyalty program. It’s not about collecting purchase points or punch cards anymore. A flexible, adaptable loyalty program allows the shopper to have a voice in how she is rewarded. She is invested in the process because she helped architect it. Give her choices in how she engages; allow her to personalize her relationship with the brand. Evolve the program as the shopper evolves so that the experience remains fresh.
How do you connect with shoppers?