There has been much lamenting about the decline of large retail centers and in-person shopping, and not without reason. For example, foot traffic in shopping malls has declined by 57%. But, we shouldn’t be so quick to write the shopping mall eulogy. While foot traffic is down, the value of every in-store visit has nearly tripled, so there is still plenty of revenue to capture in the in-person shopping space. The key, as most retail owners have learned, is to provide a more personal and engaging experience and video can help you do it.
An Unrestrained State
During the last Christmas season, ABC news reported on a new trend called “retail-tainment,” an increasingly popular technology strategy being used to address current challenges in all retail spaces. Most shoppers are familiar with retail technology such as lighting, sound, self-checkout and even video walls. In fact, in 2015 retail accounted for almost 40% of all digital signage deployments. But more and more retailers are taking traditional retail technology and applying more sophisticated audio visual tools that offer user-focused, simulated experiences. Golf virtual simulators and treadmills in athletic shoe stores are just two examples of the spirt of experimentation retailers and brands are learning to embrace.
Making in-store shoppers aware of special offers, product features or other real-time information that will push them toward a purchase is a constant retail challenge. Opportunities to interact with shoppers directly are limited and even the most knowledgeable associates can be unsure of how to start a conversation or how to help a guest. Live video can bridge the gap and start a conversation for retail associates to finish. For example, promotional videos can highlight time-sensitive sales and offers. Informational videos can increase visibility of certain products and their benefits, while also creating a unique shopping experience.
And shoppers aren’t the only ones sometimes missing key information. Among retail associates, 32% report not receiving any formal training. Video can also help provide training, communication from management and communication from brands to their retailers, and the extra effort will be well worth it. Well-informed and engaged associates are 44% more productive, which translates into better engagement with customers, too.
Satisfying the personalization your shopper craves
Shoppers keep coming to brick-and-mortar retail locations because they want an engaging, unique experience – something no website can provide. Live video is less expensive and less complicated to implement than ever before, and holds the key to giving in-store shoppers the live, interactive experiences they want.
Do your shoppers want to see how a kitchen appliance works? Stream a live product demo. Want to increase awareness of a particular brand? Show shoppers video testimonials while they browse. Are you launching a new product? Use streaming video to create buzz and entice shoppers with exclusive offers.
Live video can also integrate with other real-time technologies such as live chat and messaging to provide more instant interactions. Instead of looking for a sales associate to answer a question about a product, for example, shoppers could use a video kiosk to enter a question and receive a real-time video response. Invite your loyalty and reward members to a live product launch and have them interact via social media with you.
Stores can also use video to prompt shoppers to sign up for membership cards, loyalty programs or mailing lists, which provide further opportunities for targeted, personalized offers and customer outreach.
Call to data
Increasing points of customer interaction improves the amount of data retailers can gather about their customers. And, if more data means retailers and brands can relate better to their audience, customers don’t mind giving it up. A recent study by Accenture found that 49% of consumers in the US and UK are happy to offer data in return for a relevant shopping experience. And a relevant, enhanced store experience, created with the shopper in mind, is what will keep those shoppers coming back.