How innovative in-store advertising is driving sales post-Covid
For many physical retailers doing business in the post-Covid world is proving to be nearly as challenging as it was in the eye of the storm. Many stores are now able to let more customers through the doors, yet sales have not bounced back as hoped.
US consumers continue to spend more online post-Covid
There are several reasons for this, but at the top of the list is the fact that many people have become more used to shopping online. In Q2 of 2021, the value of online sales rose by 9.1%. The growth rate has slowed considerably compared to Q2 2020, at the height of the pandemic, when US consumers spent 43.7% more online than they did during the same period in 2019. But it is clear that people are still being drawn away from malls and are gradually making more of their purchases online.
Retail footfall is still down
The fact that as of the last week in August 2021, retail footfall is still down by 26.5%, is also cause for concern. This Statistica graph demonstrates that while there have been surges in footfall since restrictions started to be lifted, a significant percentage of consumers are still choosing to shop at home.
All of this means that physical retailers are having to up their game to remain profitable enough to stay open. They have to convert as many of their customers to buyers as possible, while they have their attention.
Using more targeted in-store advertising is proving to be one of the most effective ways to do that. Physical retailers are increasingly turning to technology to make their ads more responsive and relative to each of the different demographics that they serve.
Blending old-school marketing with new tech to draw customers into the store
In the past, many retailers relied heavily on their branding to attract customers into their stores. For example, people know which stores sell the style of clothing they like. So, whenever they go shopping those are the places they visit. To some extent, this still happens. But because fewer people are going out to shop retailers can no longer rely on enough footfall being generated this way.
As a result, they desperately need to attract passers-by into their stores. In the past, their window displays would have been the way they did this. Many are now adding a digital display screen or two into the mix. Something that enables them to keep the window display fresh and relevant, throughout the day.
In places where it is allowed, all kinds of retailers are going back to deploying outdoor sandwich boards. Those that use a digital screen for this can change the promotions they share to suit the types of shoppers that are in the mall at the time.
Digital signage boosts sales and customer satisfaction for retailers
Something that is also happening with in-store advertising. Digital signage for clothing stores and many other types of retail outlets has quickly gone from being a nice to have to a must-have. Retailers are waking up to the amazing power of this flexible, yet affordable advertising medium. Numerous studies show that consumers respond especially well to digital signage. According to a Journal of Business Research paper that pulled several sources of research together, retail outlets that use digital signage see customer satisfaction increase by as much as 46%. As well as enjoying a 32.8% increase in repeat buyers.
Examples of how fashion retailers are using digital signage
Take for example a fashion store. Clearly, they would like most customers to buy a full outfit rather than just one item. This is increasingly being achieved simply by offering deals on complete outfits. Then, featuring those outfits in the digital ads that are displayed in-store. People respond much more to seeing someone like them wearing something than they do to seeing a mannequin dressed in those same clothes.
Many stores are also experimenting with using their screens to play videos of some of the influencers that they use for their online marketing. Prompting fans to pick up the recommended items while they are shopping in the store.
Changing ads to fit in better with what people are thinking about
Fashion retailers that tweak what they are advertising to fit in with local weather conditions will usually see an uplift in sales. In the autumn and spring, when the weather is changeable, switching to advertising cold-weather clothing on colder days boosts sales. Fitting in with what the customer is thinking about at the moment they are in-store works much better than just running generic ads.
Innovations like these are increasingly being used in conjunction with AI data that helps retailers to understand customer behavior. For example, shopping demographics information that tells them which age group or socio-economic group dominates at any point in a typical week or weekend day. Enabling stores to tweak and focus their in-store advertising even more than they do now.