Photo credits: Photo: Lebensmittelzeitung 01.11.2019
Online is great. But only brick and mortar stores can address all human senses. Many companies have lost this ability although the point of sale is the ideal place to appeal to multiple senses and arouse emotions. The communication task is enormous, yet manageable.
Retail is detail – a common saying, both unpopular but yet so accurate. Numerous retailers are struggling at the POS and are complaining about the lack of success of local stores. The reasons are often sought within the customer base, whose needs can hardly be satisfied, and who are assumed to eventually buy everything online. Amongst others, progressive digitalisation can be blamed for this, which stresses the question of how the brick and mortar store can be transformed back into an effective and successful communication and sales channel.
In the past, when salesmen matched their stores to the needs of local residents, personal commmunication and customer proximity was key. However, communication nowadays does not start at the store itself since the customer journey, touchpoints and sales channels became more diverse.
In order to convey a clear picture, everything from brand positioning up to the POS and even beyond that must by communicated consitently and congruently and be targeted to not only acquire but also retain customers. Every thouchpoint represents a means of communication and often has an unconscious emotional impact on the customer which allows especially brick and mortar stores to appeal to all human senses. We see products, the physical store appearance, employees and other customers, we hear conversations and music, can experience and touch both the products and the brand, perceive odours and probably even flavours. This is termed as a multisensoric, superadditive perception which has an up to twelve times more intense effect on the customer, both positive and negative.
Using a target-group-specific approach is crucial when it comes to addressing different target groups at the right place, touchpoint or channel. But not everyone’s buying impulses are triggered by the same communication. Since digitalisation has changed communication, local stores also capitalise digital signage like screens with animated content, tablets or interactive sales assistants. They attract attention at first sight but may not be expedient if not being perfectly integrated into the customer journey, because the attitude towards new technologies ranges from analogue to digital preferences.
Many retailers tend to equip their POS identically or, if at all, differentiate in terms of turnover to determine markting budgets. Thie procedure cannot be considered as target-aiming since it disregards customers’ needs and wants. Instead, every POS should be treated differently: Appropriate communication features as well as product ranges will only fit the respective customers by location-specific decision-making, involving store managers on site to contribute substantially. This seems to be costly and time-consuming, however, on further examination, POS with similar customers’ needs, motives and general conditions like rent or area size can be summarised in one cluster and can therefore be treated equally.
Location-, channel-, touchpoint- and target-group specific communication is indispensable as only through differentiation brick and mortar stores can address the individual customers and therefore become a success story.
Source: Lebensmittelzeitung 01.11.2019