The role of in-store media channels for omnichannel shopper engagement

Omnichannel shoppers are here to stay. According to Natalie Berg, co-author of the book Amazon: How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer Will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce, “very few people exclusively shop online or only in stores. They marry the best of both worlds”.

Today’s shopper is omnichannel. Omnichannel shoppers can be defined as those who use a combination of offline and online channels throughout their shopper journey, from initial purchase consideration to the checkout. 

A channel is anywhere your shopper connects with your brand, be it through offline channels such as bricks and mortar stores and pop-ups to on-site and social channels. The marketer’s role is to develop a sales and marketing strategy to influence shoppers on their path to purchase along this omnichannel labyrinth. Whether consumers shop online or in-store, modern marketers need to understand how to reach consumers where they are. 

Shopper Marketing is a proven strategy to engage the omnichannel consumer on their path to purchase. 

Brand marketing activities focus largely on making a potential customer aware of a brand or product, as well as on strategically nurturing them toward a future purchase. 

Shopper marketing, however, focuses on getting through to a consumer when it truly matters most in their online or offline journey – right at the point of purchase. It has the proven ability to significantly impact the probability of shoppers choosing one brand over another. And for today’s modern marketers, it is now evolving beyond the ‘shopper marketing’ budget into the broader consumer marketing budget. 

In-store is still the largest sales channel and should be a shopper marketing focus for marketers and retailers alike. 

The pandemic may have accelerated online sales adoption but in-store sales still account for more than 50 per cent of sales across all retail categories, with grocery still sitting higher at upwards of 80 per cent of a shopper’s journey. 

What this means is that those brands that command attention in-store can significantly increase the probability of being chosen over a competitive brand on this final purchase leg. In simple terms, the brand with visibility in-store wins. 

So what in-store shopper marketing tactics can brands adopt and retailers offer, to drive in-store conversion? 

Brand accessibility: Brands are competing with thousands of SKUs in stores and with consumers’ competing priorities, interests and desires. It is no easy feat to be chosen on shelf but what has been proven time and again is that location matters. Aisle ends, off-location displays and front-of-store positions, tap into impulse buying and solve decision fatigue – making it easier for shoppers to make a purchase decision.  In fact, studies suggest impulse buys across most categories account for 40 to 80 per cent of retail purchases making location a key differentiator in store for brands.

Tactical experiences:  The big drawcard when it comes to in-store is the physical brand experiences that can surprise and delight shoppers on their buying journey. Take sampling, for example. This art of trying before you buy is a tried, tested and proven tactic for de-risking purchase decisions for shoppers. Whether it be food or non-food products, people are loyal to brands and will purchase the same brands time and again. These repeat purchases are made without consideration as the consumer trusts the brand. Sampling is a great shopper marketing tactic that disrupts this repeat purchasing behaviour. Take shampoo, for example: people will purchase the same shampoo every time. To disrupt this pattern, a competing brand may offer free shampoo and conditioner kit samples to drive awareness and encourage trial of a new product launch. 

Reinforce out-of-store messages in-store: With 81 per cent of consumers completing pre-store research online,  it is vital that businesses’ online and social presence provides consumers with as much relevant information as possible to assist them as they commence their purchase journey. Once in-store, the reinforcement of these messages via digital screens, in-store radio and other touchpoints can reinforce the social and online proofing and convert shoppers from consideration to final purchase.  

Retailers require ad-tech solutions to meet the omnichannel media needs of their suppliers and claim a bigger slice of marketing budgets. 

Marketers are looking at the role of retailers more closely across the entire marketing budget and are ready to move more dollars closer to the point of purchase – but are retailers ready to deliver on these media opportunities? 

The adoption of on-site retail media has been largely supported by the transparency and ease that these platforms have offered marketers. The same cannot be said for the in-store and offline media ecosystem. It is still largely the domain of disparate systems, offline spreadsheets, PDF media kits, and countless emails. 

Melbourne-based technology startup, Brandcrush is solving the ad tech gap in retail media, unlocking and scaling the omnichannel owned-media opportunity for retailers globally by making it easier to buy and sell in-store and offline media. 

 “Around 80 per cent of all retail media properties, including in-store, out-of-store, and online assets, are bought, sold, and managed offline. Without a digital solution, the media potential of retailers is being entirely unrealised” says CEO & co-founder, Teresa Aprile

The owned-media management platform transforms antiquated PDF packs and spreadsheets into scalable self-serve portals, centralising media sales and operations with smart inbound and outbound sales tools, full inventory management, workflow solutions and reporting capabilities. 

The media startup is driving a collaborative approach to capture the full omnichannel media value for retailers and solve brands’ and retailers’ needs for a single media solution. 

“A 360-degree retail media solution requires a partner approach – our platform supports integrations across a number of complementary partner platforms from on-site media solutions such as Criteo and Zitcha to production, delivery and finance platforms, making this media easy to sell, buy, manage and measure,” she said. 

If retailers are to win in this media monetisation space, Aprile suggests brands must be winning, accelerating their growth by increasing conversion rates, maximising their return on advertising spend and seamlessly identifying mediums that drive the greatest conversion.