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Digitalizing the retail path to purchase

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May 14 2020

Within the drastically changing retail landscape, one common thread is appearing: the blurred lines of sales channels. Previously siloed functions such as ecommerce or social media marketing are now evolving into one integrated, multifunctional marketing team, where the end-to-end consumer journey takes precedence over individual touchpoints. With our POS expert Ash Smith, Business Director at Popcorn Global (a Tag company), we discuss how this change will transform the retail environment as we know it.

“The path to purchase is no longer linear. Social media is now an ecommerce channel, while the in-store experience is becoming digitally enabled.,” said Smith.

A “new matrix”

Your consumer’s path to purchase is changing. Many are turning online, whether to shop via ecommerce or to seek information prior to making a purchase. Likewise, those who are shopping in-store are expecting enhanced physical retail experiences, with digital capabilities transforming the in-store shopper landscape. A holistic view of the customer journey is now integral to understanding where you can add value to your customer at each point along their path to purchase, with personalized content solutions at every touchpoint now becoming the norm. The new retail path to purchase, previously described as a linear or cyclical journey, should now be considered as a matrix of interlinking touchpoints that your customer may encounter at varying stages along their journey.

Speaking of this shift, Smith acknowledges that “modern retail should involve a frictionless path to purchase for all customers, whether they choose to engage online, in store or via a combination of channels.”

Brands must consider that this change will result in increased volume demand in your marketing and content. Businesses are having to quickly adapt, reassessing marketing priorities based on real customer data, and many are relying more heavily on agencies to act as business partners in supporting this transformation.

Scalable content production

A scalable content production strategy must be implemented to keep up with the sheer demand for successful cross-channel content execution. However, the content you do produce will now be able to work harder for you, whether it be linking your top-selling ecommerce products to your in-store digital displays to inform your customers as to what is in high demand, or taking live ambassador content from a store visit and pushing it to your digital channels to leverage an influencer’s appeal.

Sephora’s cross-channel capabilities are an often-cited example of best practice customer experience. The cosmetics retailer uses digital tools to connect with the customer on all touchpoints, including a virtual try-on tool that can be used on mobile or activated in-store, and sales staff are armed with digital libraries to allow them to look up a shopper’s profile and offer more relevant personalized recommendations. The true power of this new customer experience lies in the brand’s ability to align their content with multiple different consumer touchpoints in a cost effective and scalable way, maximizing relevancy to drive engagement with their customers like never before.

Seamless channel transition

Other verticals such as FMCG or consumer healthcare are also undergoing significant change in the shopper marketing space, with consumers increasingly turning to digital product navigators or consultation tools in place of visiting physical retail locations such as a supermarket or pharmacist. An opportunity exists for these brands to create an integrated approach across channels boosting consumer engagement and facilitating a more seamless path to purchase. Connecting with your customer at every step along the sales pipeline and formulating highly relevant, personalized product recommendations will boost brand loyalty and ‘stickiness’, yet in highly regulated industries such as OTC medicines or oral care, it’s imperative your brand partners are able to navigate the complex regulatory landscape while still producing compelling content at speed and scale.

At Tag, we support our clients through holistic retail transformation, with multidisciplinary teams that deeply understand each facet of the end-to-end retail value chain. With our team of retail marketing experts and network of global creative production hubs, we quickly build, adapt and deliver valuable content for your customers across each of your brand touchpoints in a cost-effective manner, while ensuring your brand is represented to the highest quality. We work closely with our clients to produce high impact marketing campaigns that add real value and appeal to the modern customer.

Schedule a call today to discuss how Tag can support your brand’s changing creative production and sourcing needs.

Related reads:

First in, first out: Lessons from China’s COVID-19 recovery

Data-driven marketing: Why effectiveness matters more than ever before

Adapting in a crisis: 3 lessons from the FMCG industry

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