Magazine article CRM Magazine

Retailers Solidify Multichannel Strategies to Drive Customer Engagement: Digital Technologies in Stores Are Vital, but How They're Being Used Is Also Important

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Retailers Solidify Multichannel Strategies to Drive Customer Engagement: Digital Technologies in Stores Are Vital, but How They're Being Used Is Also Important

Article excerpt

As channels merge and customer activity becomes even more unpredictable, retailers are finding it trickier to figure out how to engage customers. Evidence suggests that most purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar stores, but companies can't afford to keep their physical locations disconnected from their other channels. Retailers have had to find creative ways to blend physical and digital channels to successfully connect with customers, and, for many, that has meant trying to distort the illusion of distinct channels and bring their stores to life, explained a number of speakers at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York in mid-January.

While one wouldn't usually expect gamers to be a particularly social bunch, they are, in fact, very attracted to the prospect of gathering in a place where they can meet other gamers, suggested GameStop's president, Tony Bartel. The company took this into account when designing its newest store model, which aims to engage shoppers primarily through their mobile phones. Under GameStop's model, iBeacons can be used to send push notifications to customers while they're in the store. The notifications keep customers updated on deals and new releases. Likewise, they enable customers to view exclusive game trailers and share them on the larger screens found around the store.

GameStop has also taken advantage of an asset in the store that many other companies take for granted: the sales associate. "Our number one value is the associate," Bartel said. "We want to expand their influence outside of the store walls."

To do this, GameStop leveraged its loyalty program--which boasts a membership that equates to roughly one-fifth of all American adults--to gain information on customers. Store reps, equipped with their own tablets, can connect to loyalty members through a social media platform well after the member has left the store.

If used properly, apps can also be used to maximize in-store experiences, as JCPenney found out. This past year, the company decided to give more attention to the fact that, though mobile devices are frequently being used to make purchases, orders are still being made on the devices in stores. …

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