Evolution of the retail brand experience

Evolution of the retail brand experience

What Is Retail Branding Today?

Consumers today are increasingly sophisticated, preferring brand engagement to brand saturation. Effective retail marketing needs to demonstrate:

• An understanding of the customer
• A creative and imaginative approach
• A pervasive and relevant message
• The Capabilities to apply digital technology
•  An awareness of Touchpoints in the Customer Journey
• A passion for continual improvement of the customer experience

 
Retail branding requires a nuanced approach within the digital sphere. Calling retail "omnichannel" is just a label, it doesn’t describe the continuity of the experience with a brand.
 
The best way to engage a customer is to enable them to own their data and experience, then give them the ability to use it to guide creation and context in future experiences. Building a digital relationship began with email and blogging, but the present approach is about product research, selection, payment, and delivery.
 
As social media has facilitated a dialogue amongst the crowd, omnichannel has the potential to evolve into “social commerce”. Personalization of the interactions online can mirror an ongoing relationship with a trusted salesperson or a store owner. Relationships need to pick up from where they left off -- and can with the help of data.
 
To implement the technology effectively, the experience must be seamless and easy. 
 
Branding Is Not Just a Logo. It’s an Experience.

A brand is not simply a logo. If you think matching colors and content across physical and digital touchpoints is omnichannel, you are missing the point. Your brand encompasses everything involved with your company’s identity and what it stands for. 
 
Logos fade into the background. A brand must attract the public consciousness. 
 
The next step in the evolution of brand development is creating immersive experiences both in physical spaces and the digital. But this transcends digital touchpoints and in-store signage
 
There is no longer a separation between the “virtual” and the “real.” With smartphones, smart devices, and soon the introduction of true VR technology on a mass scale, the internet is everywhere. The differentiation between our physical and digital worlds is blurrier than ever before as mobile devices proliferate daily routines.
 
 
From Online to In-Store to Community Events

This means increasingly ambitious, engaging, and inspiring retail venues, and promotions that respond to the savvy consumer’s hunger for the real and interactive. For example, in store, virtual reality can simulate participation in a sport for a retailer selling equipment.
 
Spatial branding can be more sophisticated also. It can be infused with a creativity and depth not previously possible. There is an adaptable and ubiquitous potential to extend a brand both digitally and physically outside of a location.
 
It can and should serve as an extension of the physical store. For example, you can create a retail space at an event that serves to support the event participants and promote the brand, or inform a Facebook audience about an event and encourage their participation.
 
This enables your brand to more deeply tap into the psychology that informs our longing for experiential and tactile stimuli. Branding should take advantage of the melded digital and physical world to touch consumers and address their pain points. You are creating a semi-virtual reality that encourages consumers to step further into your brand experience – whether literally in a physical space or virtually in a digital space – and retain their attention longer. 
 
Using the Digital and the Real to Shape Brand Experiences

Effective branding engages your audience at all critical touch points, uses webrooming to your advantage, and effectively balances the physical and digital to engage your customer base at critical touchpoints
 
It should be pervasive, consistent, present, and relevant. It makes use of both the digital and the real to varying degrees and in unique ways to attract and keep consumer attention. A brand cannot build loyalty and long-term growth through just a single purchase decision. It’s not something you create once and then walk away from. 
 
Instead, Branding should be an ongoing process that you analyze and nurture. It should build momentum at strategic points in the customer journey through a series of increasingly sought-after and trusted interactions with what the brand stands for.
 
The result is strong brand loyalty and brand ambassadors.
 
 
Bio
Shepard Morrow is the head of Location Traffic, a marketing services and business consultancy that works with Clients on customer acquisition and customer retention. He specializes in Retail Marketing Makeovers using the Internet as a strategic tool during Business Turnarounds.
 
He is experienced navigating engagement with clients (business owners) to assess needs, gather requirements, and provide consultative recommendations, and manage through short term periods of rapid change.

 
To learn more, visit LocationTraffic.com, or call 917-327-1800.
Posted: 2/3/2016 2:10:29 PM by Shep Morrow