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Customers Prefer Conversation, Not Communication…

By Adam Devey Smith | December 10, 2018

For the future of in-store communication, most consumers aren’t looking for brands to manage their journeys, but to design one-off experiences that help to create unique journeys. This fundamental shift away from traditional communication models to inclusive conversations will enable brands to provide a more fulfilling customer experience.

Customers like hyper-personalisation but there has been an overwhelming trend for brands to appeal to the vast variety of customer needs using blunt media strategies. In trying to appeal to everyone, brands are finding they are falling short. 

With many consumers feeling burdened with choice, they see much of brand communication as just ambient noise that is emotionally ignored. But in-store communication can act as a solution. By creating an ongoing and collaborative conversation across all customer interactions including their own mobile device, brands can create highly personalised and relative content for shoppers to engage with and respond to.

Customers themselves are also willing to be a part of creating this content with the majority of them sharing their shopping preferences to improve service, despite privacy concerns. Customers recognise that by contributing they ultimately add value to their own retail experience and are therefore prepared to be willing participants. 

This evolved communication strategy goes beyond basic choices such as product categories and instead captures true preferences which then evolve with the customer through their interactions with the brand. Transparency is key here, customers expect personalisation, but they also want to feel that they can trust in the relationship between themselves and the brand they are shopping with. 

Brands and businesses will succeed in creating these relationships when they focus on creating an in-store communication system which makes it easier for customers to buy and consume in the way that is best for them. 

A good example is the work The One Off have done for Nike. They have worked with Nike to create lift and learn RFID tagging in store, face recognition campaigns and 360-degree digital mirrors which create a one-to-one, personalised customer experience tracking customers through the store. This experience acts like a digital sales assistant by allowing the brand to pre-empt customer desires and needs pre and post sale, whilst improving the try-to-buy ratios as the fitting and trying experience is bespoke, it’s more tailored and consequentially has better sales results.

This style of communication also reflects an emerging trend where physical fights back by using digital to optimise and personalise communication experiences in-store. The One Off’s work with Samsung to partner with music discovery experts, Shazam answered this trend. By using a VR headset and the customer’s own device, visitors could enter a prize draw, explore Samsung technology and download music. This campaign turned the usual retail experience for the masses into a curated one designed for the individual and was device agnostic improving customer acquisition rates.

For the future of in-store communication, most consumers aren’t looking for brands to manage their journeys, but to design one-off experiences that help to create unique journeys tailored to you.

This fundamental shift away from traditional communication models to inclusive conversations will enable brands to provide a more sophisticated level of personalisation, trust and ultimately, a more fulfilling customer experience. 

About Adam Devey Smith 

Adam Devey Smith, Managing Partner, The One Off Bentel, has over 30 years of experience in the creative industry as Client Services Director for top UK design agencies, prior to founding The One Off in 2003. He has worked on global strategies with leading brands including Walmart, Samsung, and TJX.

Adam has worked and presented at events with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on trade mission to Asia, and is a guest lecturer at Nottingham Trent University on Brand Communication and Retail.

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