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In the last few years, the world of retail has changed almost beyond recognition. Now consumers can shop anywhere, any time and any way they like. So how can you make sure that your brand still gets noticed?
At Arc's exclusive FutureShop event, you'll get a truly global perspective on what ideas today's shoppers are buying in to and how the retail landscape is evolving.
Ecrebo’s POS-based technology opens up a marketing channel with unparalleled reach and precision, enabling retailers to deliver targeted offers and communications to customers at the till alongside their paper or digital receipts.
Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense tags enable brands to deliver 2-stage messaging on packages.
After a day of inspiring and interactive content, here’s what we at Arc learned:
Sales people no longer advise us, technology does
Not so long ago we relied on shop assistants to tell us which products were best and why, but not any more. Now shoppers can do own research using a number of different sources - the internet, friend’s recommendation, specialist magazines - enabling them to get the best prices and freeing them from being tied to just one retailer.
Innovative brands and retailers now have the opportunity to deliver targeted messages at key points on the shopper’s journey, all the way up to point of purchase.
At FutureShop, Arc’s digital display partner Scala showed how RFID technology placed into products can link to digital screens in store and provide interactive product information. Another company, CloudTags, demonstrated how its technology can offer detailed product information and recommendations via in store tablets.
Decisions are made before you get to the ‘shop’
Every single moment during a consumer’s journey matters. Knowing when and where these moments will occur, and then delivering messages that are relevant, can make all the difference.
Arc’s propriety research, Buying DNA, provides brands and retailers with a deep understanding of the path to purchase through a multi-channel study into the way people shop. They can use this information to be there when inspiration first strikes shoppers, and then stay with them as they carry on through the buying process.
Make shopper’s lives easy and they’ll spend more
The rise of companies such as Amazon, Arc’s global creative partner, through their subscribe and save programme have made consumer’s lives easier. It will be those retailers that tap into the growing demand for simplification and reduce friction in the shopping process that will be the ones who stand out. Put simply, make buying your products simpler, quicker and more intuitive and customers will keep coming back.
For example, Starbucks recently launched a home delivery service for its most loyal customers enabling them to order their coffee in less than five clicks via an app. The same app also allowed customers to avoid queuing in store by pre-ordering their drink online.
Going even further to help consumers shop for what they want, the mobile app Keep, allows you to select items from various retailers online, then put them in one basket and pay for them altogether via its ‘OneCart’ function.
Shoppable content is going mainstream
On the high street, in the supermarket, and online, interactive and shoppable video content and technology is everywhere right now. That’s because it helps brands target shoppers in a more intimate and engaging way than ever before.
According to YouTube owner Google, shoppable content ‘can create brand lift and loyalty while still driving conversion and sales.’ In the US, retailers Wayfair and Sephora are already using Google Shopping’s TrueView technology overlaid on YouTube videos enabling shoppers to buy as they watch.
At FutureShop, Arc shared examples of other brands producing content, such as H&M’s shoppable TV ad featuring David Beckham.
Social shopping is on the rise
Over the last 12 months or so, we have seen more and more consumers using social channels and platforms to make purchases. Examples discussed at FutureShop included Net-a-Porter’s new shoppable social network. Twitter has also experimented with ‘Buy’ buttons since last year.
One particular innovation we at Arc like is the London-based app ASAP54. This is a go-to search tool for all things fashion. Shoppers can find the latest must-have fashion item, as seen in magazines, style blogs, catwalk shows, social networks or on the street, and then shop it.
Consumers really can shop anywhere and anyhow
With the decline of traditional retail we see brands turning even the most unlikely of spaces into stores. For instance, fashion brand Comptoir des Cotonniers took their clothes to the streets by launching an innovative mobile commerce campaign that allowed shoppers to buy from interactive bus stops.
Vending machines are increasingly popping up in unexpected places, selling a whole lot more than just fizzy drinks and snacks.
The Internet of Things is also turning our everyday interactions with technology into direct shopping opportunities. For instance, Amazon’s Dash Button is a small button for home appliances that can order products such as washing powder with a single press.
Bricks and mortar stores are becoming experience destinations
Much has been written about online retailers being the death of the High Street but ‘bricks and mortar’ stores are fighting back. Arc and its clients are now creating engaging shopping experiences that cannot be replicated online.
Research shows that actually being able to touch a product makes consumers 40-60% more likely to purchase. Retailers are also using things like scent, audio and visual technology to fully immerse consumers in their brand and get people talking.
Projection Artworks talked at FutureShop about how they’ve used projection mapping in retail to create stunning displays for the likes of luxury brands like Cartier and Faberge.
The VR specialist Rewind also demonstrated how augmented and virtual reality experiences can be used in retail environments to really engage and inspire shoppers.
Stores that use digital instore, sell more
Simple, but true. Research shows that shoppers that use digital technology while they shop in store are 20% more likely to buy than those who don’t. This is because shopping innovation when used correctly makes life easier for consumers who are constantly switching between channels and devices.
McDonald’s, one of Arc’s key long-term clients, uses the weather temperature to promote certain products via digital screens.
In its presentation at FutureShop, augmented reality app Blippar used examples from brands including Lucky Charms, Converse and Somersby Cider to demonstrate shopper’s hunger for more digital experiences.
Shoppers don’t differentiate between offline and online
It seems that consumers don’t mind where the information they need to make a purchase comes from, as long as they get it. Which is why the most innovative retailers are now integrating mobile technology into their stores and bridging the virtual and real worlds. This gives them the opportunity to deliver more personal, relevant and targeted messages.
As we heard from Arc’s partner AppFlare, mobile devices like beacons help to provide both context and bespoke content. Using diagnostic information, retailers can reach shoppers with messages that matter most in a particular location and time. In return, this helps shoppers validate the item they are putting into their basket.
Consumers want experiences and will pay more for them
Smart retailers and brands understand that making the most of new opportunities is not about gadgets or technology. It’s about human nature and understanding how to integrate digital tools like mobile, context, and videos alongside more traditional sales, marketing and customer service. When these things are used well, the technology becomes invisible.
At Arc, we focus on solutions that recognise the fact that the new point of purchase isn’t one place, it’s wherever your shoppers are. We call this MeCommerce. By providing a deep understanding of your shoppers, their needs, wants, emotions and attitudes and then mapping them against the array of digital innovations available we can inspire shoppers and change their behaviour.