You have undoubtedly seen them. They have permeated just about every aspect of consumer/brand interaction you can imagine. I am not talking about QR codes — that is a whole other topic, and a path we may well want to avoid entirely.
I am referring to digital in-location engagement. In layman’s terms, I am talking about digital signage, interactive kiosks, quick surveys, custom applications for product and brand information, etc.
This in-location engagement component has fast become a valuable, if not essential, aspect of what is referred to as the “system of engagement.” In this case, the system refers to a series of sequential and simultaneous devices or screens that consumers interact with while on their buyers’ journey.
In order to capitalize on this digital ecosystem, there needs to be a change in the way we approach the development of these experiences. Forrester Research refers to this as the mobile mind shift — a shift implying that brands (and the agencies that develop experiences on their behalf) need to create experiences that offer real value to the consumer and focus less on the devices. Basically, brands must put an emphasis on the changes in consumers’ attitudes and buying habits ecosystems can produce.
That’s all well and good, but let’s take a look at some of the ways in-location engagements can increase revenue while lowering operational business costs.
1. Create upsell opportunities.
If you have ever so much as browsed for products online, you have already been exposed to a calculated upsell tactic: “people who purchased this also purchased this” or “related products”. The same principle applies when considering in-location upselling. Offering similar or related products while customers are browsing in your location is a proven method of increasing revenue through the promotion of similar items.
2. Improve customer experience.
In-location applications can vastly improve the experience that a customer has with a general retailer or a specific brand. By offering services such as product comparisons, in-store product locators, interactive catalogues and customer loyalty programs, brands are developing a connection with consumers by removing hurdles and moving them along in their decision-making process
3. Reduce the cost of doing business.
By including in-location engagement into overall strategy, a company or brand can offer a variety of services at a much lower cost. Kiosks, digital signage and interactive applications can offer answers to consumers on-demand. This gives the consumer a self-service sense of empowerment while allowing in-store personnel to focus on other tasks to help increase total sales volume. By offering a variety of in-location engagement services, retailers can decrease the number of staff that was once required to service the same number of footfall consumers.
4. Gain efficiency through diverse applications.
In addition to streamlining the general consumer experience, interactive kiosks are very expandable and offer the ability to streamline many other aspects of the retail business that typically require human interaction. These applications include accepting job applications, processing credit applications, managing gift registries and purchasing gift cards, to name a few. As mentioned above, by providing these services through an on-demand electronic interface, the consumer is able to accomplish multiple tasks in a single, multi-functional kiosk, which makes for a highly efficient user experience and high customer satisfaction.
5. Attract new customers.
By placing kiosks at strategic locations, a retailer gains the ability to reach more customers without a costly investment in additional brick-and-mortar space. This approach increases revenue opportunities by expanding the customer base, which increases the potential for the retailer to improve sales.
6. Understand consumer behavior more clearly.
Creating a better customer experience is dependent on a keen understanding of how your customers are behaving in your locations and leveraging that behavior to deliver a relevant, timely message in the proper context. By collecting and analyzing in-location usage analytics, you can create and optimize the message you’re presenting to ensure you are providing the right content at that critical phase of the decision-making process.
7. Directly engage with consumers at the point of purchase.
Conversations are happening in your location even if you’re not there. This is the reality of the socially connected world. Monitoring all the social channels and conversations is best practice; however, the in-location experience has the unique ability to own the topic of conversation. What do I mean by that? It’s pretty safe to say that everyone in that store has a personal device, and the device is just that — personal. Customers have all the control over the interaction that occurs on that device. By harnessing the benefits of in-location screens and interactive applications, retailers and brands have an opportunity to guide the conversation while collecting valuable usage metrics.
The value of having tailored customer experiences in location isn’t just speculation anymore — it’s the reality of the market. In his latest book, “Ctrl Alt Delete,” Mitch Joel discusses the concept of a one-screen world in which the screen that matters most is the one directly in front of you. This is exactly the type of opportunity that in-location engagement offers — a medium where brands can control the conversation and content on the screens that are directly in front of consumers, not in their pockets.
Originally published Nov 27, 2013 12:00:11 AM, updated December 02 2014