The explosion of digital is forcing retail brands to transform their relationships with shoppers.
Retailers and brand marketers face a hugely complex and fragmented new world. As the uncertainties of the global economy create a sea of change in shopping behavior, the digital world has been exploding. Shoppers are approaching their decision making with a whole new bag of tricks to guide them.
It used to be that the path to purchase was linear A brand would build brand affinity outside the store, help drive traffic to the store and then engage with a call-to-action to trigger the shoppers to put the product into the shopping cart. Now, with all of the digital tools at the consumer’s disposal, the path to purchase is more of a circular one.
Thanks to the likes of social media and geo-social applications, consumers have toppled the linear path to purchase. They now have the ability to research product information via Google, Facebook and other social media, and access information at point of purchase with their smart phones. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know but the convergence of change demands that innovation and creativity become business essentials.
Brands are pushing their agencies and media partners to be clever in leveraging digital opportunities in a more cost-effective manner. And because many retailers aren’t able to invest in bricks-and-mortar capital improvements, they may focus on the digital arena as the one place where they can make a difference for their brands.
In fact, one of the lasting effects from this past recession is that consumers remain price sensitive and value conscious. Because times have been tough and could get tough again, they are demanding greater transparency and engaging experiences from retailers and brand marketers.
So when you evaluate the new path to purchase for your category, keep in mind the shopper is empowered and seeking richer retail experiences. not less.
“In the 80’s, brands were striving to become a part of the popular culture,” recalls Morrison. “Nowadays, it is about going viral. The trick is to integrate rich experiences online with bricks-and-mortar.”
About the author
Gwen Dixon Morrison’s career has been devoted to heightening brand connections throughout the retail environment as consumers move closer to purchase.
As CEO of The Store, Gwen is responsible for extending WPP’s leadership in retail innovation and supporting resources for WPP group companies throughout the Americas.
The Store, WPP’s unique retail practice, provides expertise and added value to WPP client initiatives in retail and fast moving consumer goods. Through a network of communications & retail professionals from WPP companies around the globe, The Store builds on collective knowledge and skill sets to help clients navigate the changing landscape of retail, shifting shopping behaviour, format development, technology, and sales activation.