Over the past decade, there has been a measurable shift in consumers making purchases online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. Instead of burdening themselves with a trip to a store, customers find the comfort and ease of shopping from home to be a much more convenient and efficient experience.
This makes the challenge of attracting shoppers even harder for retailers, as they have to create a sales experience that is somehow better than what can be found on the internet; the experience must be enjoyable and well-worth customers’ time and effort to come to the store.
In a recent survey we conducted with GetApp, customers were asked to pick out specific retail marketing strategies that they would find impressive in a shopping experience:
Additionally, these preferences were further broken down between men and women, and among different age groups:
One of the most surprising conclusions derived from this survey was that having salespeople readily available at the store is still one of the most impressive retail marketing strategies for many consumers.
It would be easy to infer from the general transition to online shopping that shoppers would prefer to do things on their own. However, it appears that they still appreciate direct service in the store.
One company that implements salespeople very effectively is Apple. Although many customers have a sense of what product they want to buy before entering the store, Apple provides dozens of specialists who can assist customers in exploring their devices, teach customers about their services or troubleshoot any technical issues at the “Genius Bar.”
These retail marketing strategies are virtually unmatched by any other consumer tech company or online retailer, which explains why people are willing to camp out in front of Apple stores for new product launches.
Point of purchase displays also proved to be impressive to consumers, especially women. These displays help shoppers find deals and special items right away, making their experience more efficient and enjoyable.
The other benefit of point of purchase displays is that they lend themselves to a broad variety of styles. The display could be as simple as a plastic sign on a clothes rack or as complex as a wall-spanning video wall. The possibilities are endless when it comes to drawing customers’ attention.
Almost one-third of all survey respondents aged 25 to 34 found that innovative uses of in-store real estate were the most impressive of all retail marketing strategies. This indicates that younger audiences care significantly about the layout of a retail store, and businesses should make it a priority to arrange their products in an efficient but thoughtful manner.
Other retail marketing strategies can be integrated into the layout for increased effectiveness. Shops can break up long aisles with point of purchase displays, or use video walls to draw foot traffic in a certain direction.
Although we can see general trends within this survey, it is important for businesses to view these results in relation to their target audience. For example, although in-store technology displays ranked as the least impressive of all retail marketing strategies, it ranked very highly with men and customers aged 35 to 54, so a store targeting that specific market could use that to their advantage.
Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” approach to retail marketing strategies — businesses need to mix and match methods to keep customers interested and pleased with their sales experience.
Studies such as this one can help retail businesses narrow down their marketing focus to key audiences and drive sales as a result.