VOICES – THOUGHTS FROM OUR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
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Michael McEnaney
Editorial Director
Dealerscope
Connecting The Dots
It’s hardly a stretch to declare that connectivity will be a dominant theme once again as we move through 2021. We clearly live in a hyper-connected, always-on, customer-driven world today, as a new playbook is being written for how to “connect” with consumers. The customer experience today has to be consistent, connected and cohesive.
It’s simply not enough to launch a marketing campaign any more; you need to link them. By that I mean you need to link the consumer conversations you’re having in-store and online, your various communication channels, your various marketing vehicles and all the touchpoints your customers experience during their shopping journey. This is essential in delivering that aforementioned consistent, connected and cohesive message.
The last thing consumers need in 2021 is more ads, emails, sales pitches, etc. They need (and crave) memorable/favorable experiences when they shop. This is what leads to initial interest, which leads to further investigation, which ultimately leads to the desire to purchase.
The way your customers engage with your location has changed; thus, changing the way you need to engage with them is critical. And it’s worth noting that, for your customers, the old concept of whether or not a product is “affordable” has now shifted to whether or not it is “worth the cost” – this is the line of thinking today.
The IoT Way This IoT-enabled world that is beginning to really take shape, of late, is all about connecting to, and finding out more about, consumers. From a retail standpoint, particularly when we’re talking about the physical location, IoT-enabled beacons and geofences are becoming increasingly popular with retailers, allowing them to better understand customer movement and browsing patterns while shopping in-store.
Adding tech such as the aforementioned beacons and geofencing, along with NFC tags and QR Codes into your physical location is far cheaper than you might think. More important is the fact that the payoff in customer data is invaluable. We’ll circle back on this topic in an issue later this year.
The point to all of this is that smart retailers are connecting all these dots – they are delivering consistent, easy-to-absorb messaging in all their marketing efforts. They are using behavioral in-store data to make brick-and-mortar customer visits more targeted and more productive.
In short, they are generally just realizing the “Next Big Thing” isn’t coming – it’s
already happening.