Retail needs to up its digital game further to thrive not survive

How retail needs to up its digital game further to thrive not survive

The year is 2017, it’s summer in Australia and its stinking hot. You don’t have air conditioning and are in need of a fan that will fit into your tiny apartment. You check websites that sell fans to see stock availability, and a chain store shows in stock the fan you want. Success! Off you head to your local shops and on arrival a digital sign for a competing store tells you they’re having a sale. Entering the store’s app alerts you to an “additional 10% off when you purchase heating and cooling appliances together”. You need a heater soon, so your day just got better – as did the retailer’s.


Unbeknownst to you, in the same centre was a smaller retailer offering the same fan at a bigger discount, however they hadn’t added it to their website which in any case hadn’t come up in your search, and they didn’t update the paper posters within the store to reflect it. How were you to know?


It’s moments like this where retailers can win – or lose out.


In order to grow, you must evolve to deliver customers’ needs 24/7 using the array of digital tools available from online pre-research and comparison to digital tracking, analysis and merchandising once they are through the door.


Is bricks-and-mortar retail sustainable without strong, integrated digital touchpoints right through the shopper’s journey, both online and instore? It’s debatable. But in any case, survival isn’t what you aspire to, growth is, and brands that understand the new consumer journey will win.


Take a look at the facts:

  • On average, brick and mortar retailers that opened a comprehensive online store are raking in 28% more revenue in under 6 months*.
  • 40% of social media users have bought an item online or in-store after sharing or marking it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter and 74% of consumers look to social media before making a purchase**.
  • 55% of consumers can recall a specific message that they had seen on a digital sign***.


Now in order for you to actually benefit from using digital channels, they need to operate in synergy, delivering a constant customer experience, with one channel complimenting the other.  In-store messaging also needs to be in line with online messaging which needs to compliment above the line marketing. Customers are no longer hoping to have a seamless experience across all touchpoints, but are demanding it.


Sure, most retailers of scale have now opened up most of the major comms channels, web, social etc. Maybe they’re even playing nicely with one another (though few have achieved that in practice). So what’s next? This is where personalisation and dynamic content come into play – communicate with consumers on a more intimate level to facilitate explosive growth. By communicating like this, customers feel valued, unique and are getting exactly the experience they want, and they’ll reward it with engagement, purchase, preference and maybe even loyalty.


That’s the why. Now let’s talk about the how.…


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