Everywhere you look in the retail landscape, it's about technology and innovation. What is the latest and best way to track sales? How can loyalty programs leverage the data they collect into news they can use? How is your social media presence? It's about taking in what is all around the retail environment and carefully crafting it into information that can be used to advance your brand.
While tech will always play a role, increasingly the in-store experience is getting overlooked, like a middle child, sandwiched between shiny new online solutions and reliable brands that have a story and a reputation. It's a myth that consumers with ready cash will not climb out of their sweats and get off the couch to shop. Customers want convenience; sure, we're all busy doing something next to nothing, right? The stores are still full of shoppers though. Once your customer is in your place of business, it's about buying not browsing. How do you use the sales floor environment turn a looky-loo into a paying patron?
Take Target as an example. They bank on the fact that a suburban soccer mom who's running a quick errand to her local store to pick up dish soap is going to walk out of there with, on average, $100 worth of merchandise she had to have. They call it, oddly enough, the Target Effect and other stores are scrambling to come up with ways to emulate it.
A customer who comes into a retail location will usually spend more than someone just pointing and clicking on a website to buy more lightbulbs. At ShopTalk 2018, Zia Daniell Wigder, the chief global content officer for the conference told an audience, "Our view is that retail is neither in a free fall nor is it business as usual. Rather we see the retail industry as being in a phase we call the new normal." That phase is a balancing act between offering convenience while still cutting costs associated with online shopping like free shipping and returns.
In-store pick up is one concept that was big at ShopTalk 2018 and attendees this year can plan on seeing more discussion on it. Much of what consumers dread about shopping in person centers on, wait times, inventory availability, and easy access. The average Target customer has children, a job, and a busy schedule. The last thing they want to do is wander around the aisles looking for something that could be out of stock, wait in line to pay for it, and then haul it home. Incentivizing in-store pick up solves this problem. The customer can order what they like online and have it ready and waiting, or even delivered curbside.
For the customer that is browsing the aisles, how can you make your brand stick out from the others? In big-box retailers, shelf space is at a premium, signage and POS design has to be flawless, and customers have to be able to get information on an item they are considering. Brand reps that are matched to specific products are an excellent way to engage customers with your brand. ThirdChannel's field management tools can bring uniquely qualified reps that will showcase your products exclusively.
A customer looking at hiking gear in a sports store can be overwhelmed with all the choices. Enter Brand Rep Bob, an avid hiker with a background in geology and forestry. He's going to be able to offer insights that dovetail with the features of your company's product. Brand reps are no longer just standing around spritzing perfume and offering samples of mini-cheese dogs. They are there to engage the customer and lead them to your brand. As ShopTalk 2019 approaches, has your brand taken advantage of a field force to maximize the past year's trends? Let us show you how our network for hire can bring the in-store experience up a notch.