From AI to VR: Current trends in trade marketing
There are some developments for over-the-counter retail that manufacturers should also be aware of in their marketing:
Integrating online and offline channels should create a seamless shopping experience for customers. They often research online, then test products in-store and buy either online or offline. Inventory, payment systems and customer data must be integrated across the board.
- In-Store Technology
Technological innovations such as interactive displays, mobile payment solutions, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are expected to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience.
- In-Store Experience
Events, product presentations and interactive elements are intended to promote new customer acquisition on the one hand and to foster customer loyalty on the other – by creating a memorable shopping experience.
Customers increasingly expect personalized shopping experiences. Their behavioral information is used by brands and retailers alike to provide tailored recommendations – for example, via loyalty programs, individualized product suggestions, or personalized marketing campaigns.
Customers are increasingly attaching importance to ethical consumption. Brands and retailers are, therefore, increasingly focusing on environmentally friendly packaging, sustainable procurement and transparent manufacturing processes.
- Social Commerce
The importance of integrating social media is growing. Retailers also use platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to present products and enable direct purchases there. In addition, customer reviews and recommendations promote sales via the trust factor.
- Artificial intelligence
Brands and retailers use advanced data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and thereby optimize processes and the effectiveness of marketing activities.
Omnichannels: Broadcasting and selling across all channels
Even if many customers return from the digital to the analog world of retail stores after the Corona crisis, things will never be the same again. The vast majority of end consumers are now accustomed to obtaining information online first before making a final purchase decision.
For in-store retailers, this means that anyone not to be found there remains constantly under the radar of potential customers. If, on the other hand, they are visible online, the chances of conversion in the store increase – and the more valuable and authentic the digital presence appears. However, given the effort involved by many retailers, this challenge is almost impossible to overcome.
Many large retail chains are showing the way – and more and more smaller stationary retailers are following suit. The question today is not e-commerce or classic analog retailing – in the meantime, various players in the market are practised every conceivable hybrid in-between form.
From awareness to the buying experience with personal service
Brands and retailers are also vying for customers’ attention in digital spaces. After all, if you want to score points with digital natives, you can’t avoid being present in their very own habitat. But the online generation also appreciates the feel and appeal of the tangible – even the best 360° image on the web can’t come close to replacing the immediate and emotionally charged presence of original merchandise.
In addition to the direct, hands-on experience of merchandise, local retailers have a second unbeatable trump card in their hands. Even the best chatbot on the Internet cannot (yet) replace individual service from one person to another. And even when it comes to eye contact that inspires confidence, the call center’s performance is relatively poor. Suppose a direct and personal connection between buyer and seller has grown over the years. Resulting trust also pays off regarding the image and status of the brands represented in the retail sector and offered in the product range. For manufacturers, this is a benefit that should not be underestimated.
Finally, suppose the design and staging of the actual PoS in retail consciously utilize the power of direct experience. In that case, the mundane digital conversion is countered by an authentic experience that is highly immersive on a wide variety of levels. Combined, perhaps even with a small, gastronomic offer for the shoppers, the customer journey becomes a true little journey, which sometimes degenerates into a mere buzzword. This is how customer loyalty works in the age of digitization!
Digital touchpoints: The bridge to the web
However, without digital touchpoints, it is now difficult for many local retailers to attract new customers despite all the previously mentioned advantages. A medium-sized regional retailer can’t counter the massive online presence of online retailers with anything equivalent anyway.
No wonder many smaller stores focus on easier-to-handle social media activities, given the effort involved. But even these still want to be continually fed with new content. And even if the brands represented in the store provide content for precisely this purpose as a service for their retailers – the regular updating of this content is already overwhelming given the daily workload.
What’s missing is a bridge that helps brick-and-mortar retailers cross over into the virtual spaces of the web. A bridge that connects the premium content of brand campaigns with the online activities of brick-and-mortar retailers. And it should be as simple as possible – ideally with just a few clicks. Automation is the keyword of the day. Simple, automatic, transparent. And that is precisely our DNA at socialPALS.
For retailers, this means using professionally produced campaigns to promote sales in the simplest way imaginable – and the associated image transfer for their digital activities. In return, manufacturers gain access to touchpoints for their communication that can be focused precisely on the target group and are equipped with the highest credibility and technically integrated into a structure that keeps the course of the campaign transparent at all times and makes the success of the measures transparently measurable. This is reliably CI-compliant and can be adapted quickly and flexibly at any time.
Analog retailers – digital marketing
At socialPALS, we are certain that brick-and-mortar retail is here to stay. On the contrary, it will also become increasingly present in the digital space, closely intertwined with the activities of its suppliers. We are happy to help with our software solutions. And, of course, we’ll be happy to show you how easy it is to implement!
Act today and use your MDF more effectively!
socialPALS brings brands and retail partners together, creating a win-win situation that unleashes previously untapped potential. The innovative software solution simplifies complex processes through automated trade marketing and strengthens stationary retail through regional brand campaigns. Get your obligation-free platform demo today and become part of the socialPALS success story.