Re-engaging in the physical retail world

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tms’s (formerly The Marketing Store’s) SVP Chief Creative Officer Jim Eby and SVP of Engagement & Strategy Tania Wendt took the virtual stage and shared their expertise at Ad Age Next: Retail, a leading retail experience innovation event in the marketing industry.

With a focus on the increasingly prevalent blending of the physical and the digital, they spoke candidly with Ad Age editor John Dioso about what it means to be “Re-engaging in the physical retail world” post-COVID-19. You can watch the full conversation here.

5 key takeaways from their discussion:

1. High Tech, High Connect. With the need for human connection remaining strong in the face of uncertainty and disruption, think about innovation as “High Tech — High Connect” instead of “High Tech — High Touch” when building retail experiences.

2. Science + Art. Marketing should be a marriage of science and art. To unite technology and personal connection, start with data and employ tech to facilitate, amplify, and connect brand content and retail spaces in ways that are more beneficial, effective, and efficient for consumers.

3. Customer-controlled Retail. As it becomes safer to shop in-person, consumers want to be more connected in-the-moment, but each desires control and wants a say in the “where, when, what, and how.” Optimize your strategies across retail channels, ensuring you’re saying the right thing at the right time to drive meaning and relevance.

4. Make it personal. Brands like Nike and Ikea are successfully integrating tech innovations in personally engaging ways:

  • Bridging Instagram to in-store displays, Nike showcases real-time user self-expression inherent to the brand, enhancing the position of “localization” and strengthening tactics like personalized digital offers.
  • Using AR/VR, you can see Ikea furniture in your home. And the Ikea app tells you where in its massive store products are located and suggests accessories to help complete your design.

5. Make it count. Give customers a reason for every interaction, whether it be digital or live in-person. The experience needs to be connected, convenient, and memorable.

  • Connect social media and retail. Allow your consumers to participate and share how they feel about the brand — more importantly, start a dialogue.
  • Use digital objects to bridge the gap. To create meaningful interactions, we can, for example, place digital objects at retail locations, which a customer can virtually “pick up” and use to purchase a physical product as a gift.
  • Meaningful offers matter. Inspire more two-way interactions by making an offer customized and individually meaningful to customers as they engage. As you provide information and offers, you’ll drive purchase behavior and then collect more data to make better, more informed marketing.