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Omnichannel commerce | Mobile

Creating Digital Moments... in Your Store

image: Shoppers outside a retail store viewing there phones and walking past
Prevent shoppers from checking competitors' prices on their mobiles by providing them with your own in-store digital content

Shoppers are going to be using their smartphones in your store: It's a given, and there's really nothing you can do to stop them. But you just might be able to direct them away from comparing prices on Amazon and toward making a purchase from you, if you make the most of digital opportunities in your store. As Josh Johnson, senior manager, digital innovation for AT&T, said during a presentation at NRF Big Show 16, "How do you leverage it so that they're making the smartphone an active part of their shopping experience?"


Digital experiences—not limited to mobile—were the focus of his session, "Capitalizing on Key Consumer Moments at Retail." Johnson's co-presenter, Russell Young, senior vice president, marketing and creative services for digital signage provider Stratacache, said that in-store, it's a matter of "creating a story around the store. Where do we welcome them, where do we inform?... At what part in the store do we reward the customer?" To state an obvious example, the first few feet beyond the entrance door—aka the transition zone is not where you want a verbose digital display going into great detail about your most complex new product. Instead you'd want to put that deeper in the store, in the pathway toward the product in question.


As for the digital experience itself, whether it's a beacon-generated message on your store app, a QR code on a shelf tag, or an interactive kiosk, make certain that your content offers something of value to the consumer. "You shouldn't do digital for digital's sake," Johnson cautioned. "Don't force technology. Don't force digital. Just be mindful that digital is part of how everyone is shopping today."


The purpose of your digital content should determine its form. Let's say you have a product that is difficult to explain and needs to be seen in action to fully communicate its value. In that case, a display featuring a short video—one that you might already have posted onto your website or YouTube channel—near the product is ideal.


Or perhaps, as was the case with AT&T, you want to make customers feel less dissatisfied about long wait times for service. That's why the company has in its stores oversize screens providing entertainment (and why many car-repair shops and medical offices have TVs and free Wifi in their waiting rooms).


Or maybe "you want to create a wow moment that people will want to share," Johnson said, in order to increase brand awareness. In that case, consider a promotion with a hands-on component—think a video-game demo in an electronics store, a dog-adoption fair in a pet-supplies shop—paired with the capability to take photos or shoot video that consumers can then share on their social media feeds.


Regardless of the form your digital integration takes, make sure it has what Russell said are three critical elements: immediacy, simplicity, and context. The in-store experience in general is about immediate gratification—otherwise shoppers would no doubt have simply ordered online and waited for their goods to arrive within the week—so any digital content must provide information or entertainment at that moment. It must also be intuitive for the shopper to engage with, and it must be relevant to your offering.


It should also show, rather than tell (as per the demo video cited above). If a picture's worth 1,000 words, just think how many a video or a game or a quiz is worth. Visuals and interactivity—two strengths of digital media—both aid recall.


And if the content can be repurposed to or from your other channels, so much the better. "The big win is when you have something that can be spread across all your platforms," Johnson noted. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it also provides a sense of consistency across channels.


author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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