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:
- Interestingly, a third of all people surveyed favored the presence of salespeople over other retail marketing strategies
- Surprisingly, in-store tech like video walls and kiosks impressed fewer people than POS displays and innovative use of in-store real estate
Additionally, these preferences were further broken down between men and women, and among different age groups:
- Point of purchase displays are the most impressive of all retail marketing strategies among women, with women favoring these displays twice as much as men
- Alternatively, men were twice as impressed by in-store tech like kiosks
- Among all consumers, younger people (18 – 24) were far less impressed by the presence of salespeople than those 45 and over
- Middle-aged customers (35 to 54) were more impressed by in-store technology than any other age group (47%)
It’s Hard to Find Good Service
One surprising conclusion from this survey – having salespeople available is one of the most effective retail marketing strategies.
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. These people assist customers in exploring their devices and teach about their services. Additionally, customers can troubleshoot any technical issues at the “Genius Bar.”
Apple’s retail strategies are virtually unmatched by other consumer tech companies or online retailers. Hence, people are willing to camp out in front of Apple stores for new product launches.
Point Customers in the Right Direction
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. In fact, the possibilities are endless when it comes to drawing customers’ attention.
Almost one-third of respondents 25 to 34 found innovative use of in-store real estate the most impressive retail marketing strategy. 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. They can also use video walls to draw foot traffic in a certain direction.
Find Your Target Audience
There are general trends in this survey. However, it is important for businesses to view these results in relation to their target audience. For example, in-store technology displays ranked low except with men 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 like this can help retail businesses narrow down their marketing focus and drive sales as a result.