Optimizing Brick and Mortar Retail: Increasing Conversion Through Localized Marketing
Published Sept 2019
While the relevance of brick and mortar remains stronger than ever, strategic retail and localized marketing is becoming a requirement for success in today’s omni-channel environment. According to a , an overwhelming 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, which means that understanding the landscape of options and tools available is critical and can make or break the ability to drive in-store growth and conversion.
The good news is that retail technology today has the power to transform communication between HQ and stores, transform how the frontline staff are empowered to do their job, and ultimately create an enhanced client experience. The same Salesforce survey found that 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as products and services, so as consumer behavior and preferences evolve – as they do rapidly in retail – brick and mortar stores must be one step ahead in evolving with them, adjusting personalized and locally relevant store specific strategies and execution accordingly.
Localized Messages and Merchandising
As retailers look for ways to drive in-store conversion and optimize localized retail operations to drive customer engagement, loyalty and conversion, today’s technology provides opportunities that seemed impossible only a handful of years ago. Today, there are platforms such as Unefi’s Retail Management Software (RMS) that provide retailers with the option to develop store profiles based on multiple data sources, resulting in a powerful predictive modeling tool. With those local insights, store profiles are created that lead to localized and personalized products, messages and campaigns, which drive conversion rates.
While many apps provide value and insight for retailers, the reality is there isn’t one app that can do it all. As a result, many are now relying on a single platform that incorporates third party apps as a way to streamline those insights and capture them in one place along with all other relevant information such as store-specific planograms and store audit information, among many others.
Platforms like RMS have an application program interface (API) that can integrate with business platforms such as SAP and Oracle, link to sales forecasts pulled from tools such as Salesforce, all while pulling data from Google Search, Google Analytics, and Google Trends, and collaborating tools such as Json. Further, those data-driven insights can be coupled with behavior insights and trends such as shopper traffic patterns, customer engagement at the store level (including digital brochures, and lift and touch) and marketing platforms such as Marketo, resulting in a powerful tool.
Combined with store related data, the opportunity to localize becomes significant. Store-related data is abundant and comes in many forms and from various sources. Store design teams have physical data around the design, construction, size of fixtures, number of windows and counters per store. Marketing teams also have a significant amount of data - think of the four Ps, then layer in additional information such as demographics (age and gender), seasonality, purchasing decisions and other physical factors that can be associated with your stores. Additional sources of powerful data can be found within Operations, HR and online teams. This vast amount of data can be captured and leveraged using RMS, helping to optimize product selection and placement, personalize conversations with customers, and ultimately increase same-store sales.
Intelligent retailing includes strengthened retail operations. In addition to localized marketing, RMS can reduce go-to-market timelines by 50%, and store associates can forecast staffing based on the complexity of a campaign outlined in RMS.
With the platform, HQ also has full visibility at their fingertips. They have more insight into what each store has executed, what is working and what is not working (through a dashboard and real time feedback), and visibility into store-specific compliance. With effective data analysis and integration, frontline staff are also empowered with more information and more time to do their job effectively. Effectively leveraging available technology can positively impact workflow management and minimize non-sellable time, ultimately uncovering revenue opportunities.
As more and more data gets integrated into strategy development, thought needs to be given to how to effectively incorporate a unified platform for store communications, how to assess and break down internal barriers, who to get involved within the organization – and when – in order to maximize success, and how all stakeholders can effectively work together to achieve shared goals. More and more retailers are realizing the business imperative of operating with full visibility and integrated communications across their organizations - only then can management systems and departmental silos work together cohesively.
As retailers look to create a seamless and elevated consumer experience that sustains or increases same store profit year-over-year, the optimization of physical stores is crucial to ensuring a competitive advantage. Effectively leveraging data is no longer a choice or nice to do. Consumer expectations are changing and personalized in-store experiences have become table stakes for retailers competing for consumers. With the right data insights and analysis, retailers can make intelligent, more informed decisions that elevate the in-store experience, strengthen performance and optimize operations.