Your Customer and Their Journey
By Ben Hale
As a marketer who works with retailers, every time I walk into a store my spidey senses go off. I take notice of what I like, and maybe more importantly what I don’t like about the experience.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of walking into a store needing a few items and not knowing where to find these precious needles in a haystack? I feel like that happens every time I walk into a big box retailer, and sometimes event smaller store concepts.
We are in a time when consumers’ have high expectations of in-store visits. And if they don’t get that, it’s easier and easier to go online.
Several impending trends make that decision even easier. Amazon recently announced a Prime membership targeting lower income households, by offering a $5.99 membership to those who receive federal assistance https://goo.gl/nQxIzd.
Walmart is also making it easier for consumers to avoid coming into the store, and is even testing a program where employees drop off your online order on their way home https://goo.gl/sD3qHC.
At the end of the day, the best way to combat these trends is to have a user-friendly, enjoyable consumer experience. Retailers are quick to update store layouts today which is smart. However, if you overdo it and confuse your customer, your time has been wasted and may even be detrimental to long-term success.
Here are a few key things to consider…
When customers walk into your store, no matter the location, they want to know where everything is. Nothing is more frustrating than walking into a Big Box retailer and going straight to the far right aisle only to find out this store is upside down. Of course you’re going to evolve your store layout over time, but that doesn’t have to you should keep the customers guessing where the air filters are!
Keep Signage Clear and Consistent
Signage is king in store. It identifies where everything is, and how much it costs. Similar to a consistent store layout, the same goes for aisle and price signage. Some retailers constantly change the color, shape and design of the in-store signage. While the attempt may be to freshen up the place, it can also lead to confusion for your customer. This is especially true for your customers as they move down the aisles trying to identify the best deals. One week, red may mean clearance while the next week it means 20% off. If you frustrate or confuse your customer, they’ll move probably move on down the road.
Make Your Store Flow
You can optimize the in-store experience without revamping the layout or adding a bunch of signage. Flow is vital to consumer perception. Here are some fun tidbits that may help you think through this process:
• Most people coming through the door are right-handed, meaning when they come in, they’ll turn right and work their way around your establishment in a counter-clockwise fashion.
• Aisle shouldn’t be too wide, or too narrow. Wider aisle aisles encourage customers to walk quickly to their intended target, while smaller aisles can enhance browsing and will increase impulse buys. If the aisles are too small, your customer will become claustrophobic and make them quickly leave the store.
• Capitalize on promotions in high traffic areas by anchoring complimentary high-profit items close by. To draw customers to lower traffic areas, think about moving items that may be in high demand to those areas. This encourages consumers to really navigate the store, creating the opportunity for some impulse buying.
At the end of the day, price is king for many consumers. However, most consumers understand the variance of pricing between stores or even going is negligible. That said, the best way you can differentiate your store and keep your consumers offline is by creating an easy, efficient experience. You know the old saying…keep it simple…stupid!
May 30, 2017
The Impact on In-Travel Experiences by GPS
Account Supervisor, BOHAN Advertising
My wife and I recently celebrated a wedding anniversary by spending a week in New York City. We have two sons, and our typical trip planning consists of weeks of work and preparation beforehand. We approached our anniversary trip a little differently; we booked a hotel, flights, and made 2 dinner reservations, the rest of the trip, we decided to just “figure out.” We ended up loving every minute of the trip.
What made the idea of this type of trip easy to entertain was located in our pockets. Our mobile phones, and specifically, GPS. With all the applications that use GPS it was easy for us to get around, find places to eat, shop and tour.
There are countless ways that GPS has changed travel in recent years. Applications that incorporate Google Maps in its core functions such as The Weather Channel, Uber, Yelp, and Facebook, let visitors to a new destination use only their phone to map directions from an airport to a hotel, schedule a ride, ensure the weather is favorable, make a reservation at a restaurant, and share updates for the world to see throughout their journey. And there is so much more!
Consumers are more open to the idea of allowing deeper levels of access into their mobile device and data, to experience the benefits that sharing their location offers. An Ipsos study commissioned by Google just two years ago showed that 88% of consumers make local searches on smartphones, while 61% want mobile search results customized to their immediate location. As consumers continue realize the benefit of allowing that access, this number will only continue to grow.
For travel brands to begin to assess how they can take advantage of GPS or location based technology in their marketing efforts, first it must consider how their customers use smartphones while traveling:
· Is it to get directions?
· To look up an address or phone number?
· Are they searching for restaurants, hotels, or other businesses?
· How many make social media posts to share where they are with the world?
· How many read reviews?
· Do you have a larger percentage of coupon/discounts hunters?
A simple assessment will help a brand to begin to identify where it should focus its efforts. And, likely, consumers are doing all of the above, and more.
Some of the first steps in an assessment should include a review of all online business listings to insure information is accurate. Google claims that over one billion consumers use their Maps product. Maps now allow consumers to direct-dial a business, read reviews, see peak hours for a businesses and restaurants, and all of this on top of still providing an address and directions. Ensuring this information is listed and accurate is critical. To reinforce how important this is, during our New York trip, my wife and I utilized map applications to help identify restaurants for various meals, those restaurants that did not include a link to menu, or additional details through the applications, were automatically passed on.
More creative opportunities for travel brands can be based in an understanding of the traveler experience and anticipation of traveler needs. When a business is able to provide an immediate response to an issue or need, that moment can create a regular, and loyal, customer.
Consider the application Hotel Tonight, which is based entirely on location, and allows users to find real-time, short-notice hotel deals based on their current location. Or, Starwood’s mobile app which offers driving directions from airports to hotels in local languages, which is hugely beneficial to international travelers. These applications, based on GPS location, are giving consumers an added, intangible, benefit that will keep them coming back.
Brands must keep in mind that leveraging tactics using location based services can bring positive, standalone results, however these services should always be used as part of a omni-channel marketing plan. Having a complete understanding of privacy concerns and rights is critical. Mobile location lends itself to this level of access, but brands need to treat that accessibility to the customer with respect.
In the end, it's all about using location based technology to give travelers what they want, and when they want it.