5 Steps to Personalizing the In-Store Experience

The instance a shopper encounters a product at retail is sometimes called the “moment of truth.” Now the action she takes at that moment can lead in a number of different directions.

Both McKinsey and Company and Harvard Business Review have attempted to describe the new path to purchase. McKinsey and Company uses a looping model  to illustrate a circular journey with four phases: initial consideration, active evaluation, moment of purchase, and post-purchase experience.  One brand marketer has even likened the path to a pretzel instead of a loop.

The Harvard Business Review blog describes the buying process as both continuous and intermittent and identifies six key states in which a consumer with mobile capability can exist.

A study by Compete identified multiple paths to purchase involving anywhere from 3 to 35 steps. One wonders what shape the path with 35 steps would be.

Whatever the path, consideration of the customer journey is a preamble to effective execution. We’ve identified five steps that can help those involved in retail merchandising plan for a more customer-driven experience:

1) Evaluate the Effectiveness of Current In-Store Displays

Are your displays truly differentiating for your brand? Do they take into account customers’ varied paths to purchase? Do they serve as a call to action to connect to other digital assets that impact the point of decision or post-purchase communication?

2) Research New Display Options

The range of displays and interactive merchandising is always evolving. The availability of floorstands and counter units with iPads and other kinds of streamlined touchscreens has given rise to new category-specific or promotional uses for interactive merchandising. Kiosks and digital signage can combine to create persuasive interactive experiences.

3) Learn from the Success of Others

Look to leaders like Macy’s and Target who have already invested in understanding the kinds of experiences that will draw shoppers to stores with doors and keep them engaged.  Look to innovators; there are products that have traditionally been behind counters that can benefit from in-store merchandising that allows customers to touch and feel products.

4) Understand How to Evaluate an In-Store Merchandising Provider

Retailers need a qualified provider that understands retail, their consumer and the cycle and timeline of how a merchandising display program should work. They need a partner that can help them evaluate new technologies. Knowing what questions to ask in the evaluation process will lead to the right partnership.

5) Decide How You Will Implement and Evaluate Your New Display Strategy

A realistic budget and a timeline are critical to success. A timeline that takes into account set store dates for installation and deployment can establish a solid foundation. Determining what the test phase and full rollout will look like will obviously impact the progression of a project. Tracking the project on a continuous basis once it has been deployed will help evaluate success.

There’s more to be said. A new resource is now available, Five Steps to Personalizing the In-Store Experience.


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