Walking around in stores on your own and communicating with no one was once. Meanwhile, customers even distinguish between “cool” and “creepy” in-store communication with companies in their stores. Especially the benefits and the degree of personalization determine the reaction of the customers to in-store marketing and service communication. The study “Creepy or Cool 2016” by RichRelevance gives some insight. In this article, we will examine the attitude of customers to in-store communication and introduce practical tips and ideas that connect the offline world with the best of the online world.

Results of the study about in-store communication

According to the study, two-thirds of Americans use their mobile phone for shopping. For the 18-29 year old, it is almost 80 percent. Online shopping via mobile devices is nothing new, but consumers are increasingly demanding ways to use the online opportunities also in the stores. 84 percent of the millennials use their smartphone in stores. The mobile shopping companion is popular to compare prices, information and reviews on the product as well as to secure discounts and coupons. This informational interest is beneficial for marketing purposes. Marketers can take care of their customers, guide them through the shopping experience, and simplify it a lot. Many customers see in-store communication measures very positively.

What measures are “creepy” and which “cool”?

It is especially convenient for customers to scan a products QR code with their smartphones, which leads directly to customer reviews and other information. 79 percent of respondents in the study also like to receive cross- und upsell recommendations for products that they also might like. Half of the respondents like it when the company sends them a discount code after they left the store without a purchase. Personalized product information, recommendations and discounts via push messages while you are in store are “cool” for 40 percent. Digital displays, which support the fitting process, are helpful for 41 percent.
Salespeople who have access to transaction data of the customer and address them personally with suitable suggestions are, however, only ok for 32 percent of the respondents.
Especially if the customers are addressed personally by name after entering the shop, it’s uncomfortable and even “creepy” for most customers. As soon as too much privacy is involved, the attitude towards in-store communication changes from cool to creepy.

Conscious decision: Location-Based Marketing

Customers accept location-based marketing when they get transparent information that the company saves their location and their personal data for in-store communication, and they explicitly agree to the measures. It is important that the customer is able to decide deliberately whether he wants to disclose his location data or not. Location-based marketing is therefore to be emphasized, since only the information of the location gives a lot possibilities for marketing – offline and online. Example: If If the customer is near a shop, he can be enticed with an attractive offer via a push message.

Advantages of the online world in the offline world

The challenge is to integrate the best benefits from the online world into the offline world. It is important to begin where it is possible to optimize and facilitate the shopping journey for the customer. A good example and a useful measure for the customer is when he can save his try-on session on a digital screen in the changing room and send it to his smartphone. Therefore, the customer is less under pressure to make a quick decision and he cannot forget the products he was interested in that easy. While implementing such measures, it’s necessary to keep the focus on what the customer wants: more information. This works, as already mentioned above, for example with QR codes as well as functions to save items seen in the store on the smartphone (and to order them later in the online shop of the same provider). In emails, it is an easy way to get more relevance if the latest interaction between the customer and the company is included. An example are across channel spreading shopping cart dropouts. If the customer has left a shopping cart in the online shop, the company can inform him about the fact that the “left” products are also available in the store and he can try them and take them home directly.
As a result, the customers are not at all reluctant to creative and easy-to-use online solutions in shops, as long as they provide benefit for them to find relevant products.
We have more ideas for linking online and offline channels in our article: Webrooming vs.Showrooming