Retail must connect online and offline

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Retail must connect online and offline to map personalized, omnichannel paths to purchase

As retailers continue to realize the need to adapt strategies for reaching consumers in a digital-first world, many are adopting a hybrid approach that blends digital and physical experiences. To better explain how retailers can embrace this approach and build loyalty in brick-and-mortar, today Blis, along with WBR Insights and Future Stores, is releasing Brick and Mortar Loyalty: How Brand and In-Store Engagement Strategies Go Hand in Hand. This study surveyed retail professionals to offer insights into the ways in which their brands are leveraging data to gain a competitive edge in today’s digital economy.

So, what did the study find?

Digital channels build consumer engagement and loyalty for physical stores

It’s clear that there is a lot that brick-and-mortar locations can learn from online strategies and there is a huge value add to integrating digital and physical channels. This study found that a whopping 91% of retailers are using digital channels to increase engagement and loyalty for their physical stores, including 76% that have successfully modernized stores and branding to span both online and offline environments. Much of the integration of online and offline experiences are driven by the implementation of digital and other in-store technologies such as personalizing in-store experiences using apps, QR codes and video content.

Inclusive, personalized in-store experiences are on the rise

By combining experiential technologies with the convenience and personalization many customers are accustomed to in an online environment, retailers can improve the in-store experience and create highly unique experiences that cannot be replicated via digital channels. Less than half of retailers are currently supplying their in-store teams with data to help increase personalization and drive loyalty. Location data has proven to be extremely valuable, providing marketers with the real world intelligence they need to create tailored experiences for the customers. While there’s not enough being done to convert the data into stronger retailer-customer relationships right now, the good news is that 40% of retailers do plan to find ways to improve this strategy in 2019.

Mobile-first strategies are key to driving in-store foot traffic

As more customers seek tailored shopping experiences, retailers are adopting a mobile-first in-store strategy (including leveraging push notifications, coupons, mobile apps and more) to increase foot traffic and drive engagement. What many retailers have found is that a tailored experience that combines traditional in-store retail models with modernized technology-driven strategies is the perfect combination for consumers. For many physical stores, ensuring all tools can be accessed both in-store and on a mobile device is key, and integrating those experiences – like leveraging augmented reality in-store that customers can use with their mobile device – is proving to work best.

Understanding that today’s consumer requires a unique, customizable buying experience, retailers are doing more to offer consumers a more seamless omnichannel solution to shopping. What this survey found is that the most successful brands are combining offline and online data, including location-based data, to create a seamless experience for customers between digital platforms and physical stores. The lesson here? Learn from the best – by leveraging technology, retailers can combine elements of both traditional and modern online and in-store shopping experiences to maintain consumer engagement and strengthen brand loyalty.

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