The Multi-Media Retail Store1 Sep, 2008 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
Today's retailers are finding that the only way to compete is to sell products in every outlet that the consumer is browsing — from traditional venues, such as store shelves and television, to more modern channels, such as online social communities and mobile.
Marketing Relevance, Trust and Value
Though Staples has successfully branded its office supply store, it still relies on DR marketing, especially to inform customers before they purchase. For Staples, the target audience is small businesses, and its marketing focuses on value and great customer service.
Like most other retailers, the company offers a rewards program for customer loyalty. But especially in tough economic times, Staples has to reiterate to its small business customers that it's the right place to make the most of their supplies and services budgets, no matter how small. So how do they help educate the customers before they buy?
Online E-tailer Overstock has now brought its television commercials to the Web. "A screen is a screen is a screen," says DeVon Fowler, Overstock's marketer in charge of customer acquisition and direct mail.
"Customers are excited to be able to touch and feel the products before taking them home," says Amy Shanler, a spokesperson for Staples. "There are many ways throughout the store, such as trials for shredders and business tools, that give customers a hands-on opportunity with our products to help guide them in their purchasing decisions."
While creating relevance for an underwear company may seem ridiculous, Jockey Intl. Inc.'s marketing department has found that it's even more of a necessity to create a need for a product that's in a saturated market than for a one-of-a-kind product.
TNS Top 25 Short-Form Rankings Retail/Consumer Products
"Direct response becomes a great place for creating relevance for the right people, once they've opted in and indicated what kinds of products they'd be interested in," says Tim Pitt, vice president of global marketing and advertising at Jockey. "It's the paradox of choice. The biggest challenge isn't rejection; it's indifference because there is so much to choose from," he says.
Jockey overcomes this challenge by target marketing from a psychographic standpoint, going after the self-directed life enthusiast that values freedom. But mostly, Jockey markets itself as a trusted brand, since the company was established back in 1876.
While Jockey targets customers through traditional media such as television, events and catalogs, mobile marketing company StoreXperience is taking a more technological approach. The Berkeley, Calif.-based company creates a platform for mobile shopping solutions for retailers, brands and consumers — both helping the in-store shopping experience while providing valuable data to marketers. It allows retailers to influence consumers when they are in the shopping mode — actually in a store — and when they're most receptive to products and sales. The company works across verticals such as consumer electronics, fashion, cosmetics and food and drink. Basically, the technology sends consumers offers and information to their mobile phones when they enter a store.
Like a loyalty program, customers opt in and then StoreXperience immediately works with the technology to enable the phone to receive special offers within minutes. For example, a grocery store can hang a poster featuring a perishable product that it wants to sell more quickly. If a consumer walks by and scans the poster with a phone, he can then receive a coupon for that item, a recipe and a list of other ingredients needed for the recipe.
Hervé Pluche, president of StoreXperience, says that in the past, beyond a consumer asking a sales clerk a question about a product, there was no way to track how much interest there was in a product on a daily basis. "Now, if consumers have an interest, they can go to the number on the flier, get info sent to their mobile device, and we collect that information as a way to direct market," he says. "From the time they leave the house from the time they show up at a cash register, every single screen they see on the mobile phone, we're aware of, we collect and it helps us understand consumer behavior. We're not focused on the individual, more in context with the interaction, which customer has expressed interest, in what product, on what date and at what time."
Pluche says StoreXperience is also about crossing mediums. Consumers can begin their research online at home and then use the mobile device at point of sale. "It combines the best of both worlds so you don't have to make a choice between online or offline — we offer the experience," says Pluche.
While StoreXperience is working with many companies abroad, it's only slowly starting to become more popular in the United States, since the use of mobile technology is somewhat behind in America. The use of the in-store mobile experience came into great emergence in Europe about a year ago, and Pluche predicts that the mature technology and best packages will be available to retailers and marketers in the United States next year.