Digital features heavily in any list of retail marketing buzz words so what does this mean for the way we talk to shoppers in bricks and mortar environments?

As the new boy here at The Market, I’ve inherited a couple of ongoing client briefs which will let me get my teeth in to merging finite traditional retail spaces with the endless possibilities of the digital world.

What does digital innovation mean for traditional retail marketing?

Using digital solutions in a retail environment to enhance a brand’s marketing communications undoubtedly has some real benefits. Below are what I consider to be key but it’s by no means exhaustive:

  • The ability to easily demonstrate the breadth of range available
  • Innovatively merchandise in an unusual or limited space, as Tesco and Waitrose have both done successfully at commuter hotspots with QR codes replacing physical products
  • Customisation or personalisation of products and services
  • Enabler to a multichannel proposition being developed and adopted amongst the shopper base
  • Increased engagement in brand communication
  • Increased control over the execution of a brand in a retail environment
  • The ability to react or be proactive to trends and opportunities in your customers world

But in the interests of fairness there are a few key challenges discussed below that may never be overcome by the machines.

The pleasure of shopping! At The Market Creative, that’s what we’re passionate about. A big part of shopping is the ability to get your hands on what you’re looking for; be it a lie down on your potential new mattress or the opening and closing of your soon to be wardrobes there’s something reassuring and affirming about touching what might one day be yours.

Less interaction with a brand’s retail colleagues. For centuries people have bought from people, there’s a distinct and often important relationship between buyer and seller (even if we use the brand as the seller in this context) and that’s unlikely to change for centuries to come.

Having your questions answered. Working for one of Britain’ most brilliant brands, Pets at Home, I’ve had had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most knowledgeable, well trained and informed retailers – their passion, skill and warmth would be hard to replicate in any digital environment.

And last but by no means least, the eternal challenge of maintenance and technical support. I’ve been to stores up and down the land and found the promise of digital retail marketing innovation crashed, broken, switched off or unplugged. Will there be a day when it can relied upon to deliver everything a brand needs it to in a retail environment? It seems some way off.

So is digital a friend or foe?

There’s no doubt that the use of digital can enhance a retail environment for a brand whatever shape or size or products come in.

For me, the clearest benefit, and something I’ll be talking to clients about over the next few weeks, are the ways that we can use digital retail marketing tools to help demonstrate the breadth of their brilliant ranges and reinforce their reasons to buy in new, dynamic and engaging formats. Retail marketing isn’t dying.

Neither are bricks and mortar. Instead, they’re evolving into clever spaces, with modern (and probably) digital solutions to challenges that both businesses and consumers face on a daily basis.  To find out how The Market can help you and your business tackle the retail marketing challenges you face then visit our website for more information.

Shaun Watson

Account Manager