In-store shopping is alive and well; with all the talk of omnichannel and connected shopper experiences, that much is obvious. In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, customers who conducted prior online research led to 13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers. For Millennials, and even more so for Gen Z, and beyond, there won't be such a division of online vs. in-store. It will just be whatever is convenient, or makes sense for the mood they are in or the place they are at. They will expect both digital and physical touchpoints to be seamless, and right now it's up to it's up to the retailers and manufacturers to make sure the customer experience stays front and center.
To do that, brands and retailers today have to work together, which isn't always easy. In the volatile retail ecosystem we find ourselves in, it can feel like it's every company for themselves. But, with the right strategies, brick-and-mortar stores and the brands and products that reside within them, can make collaboration not only more efficient, but more effective as well.
During the 2017 Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago, Kimberly Clark's Tony Long explained how Huggies partnered with Vantage to run a digital ad campaign to drive traffic to the baby aisle at Walmart. By running this type of fluid campaign, it reached the right shoppers, and yielded a 10x return on investment. He put it this way: "Consumers don't care about your traditional business models. It's time for retailers and brands to create new ones." Examples like these are popping up around the retail space. The latest technologies are making collaborating on campaigns more data-driven than ever before.
Virtual reality is one way to revolutionize collaboration between brands and their retail partners from a customer point of view. Using InContext's immersive VR capabilities within ShopperMX™, a brand executive and a retail partner across the country can each enter a virtual store and make changes to a shelf--move products around, switch out data points, add a whole new shelf layout--in real time. They can talk to each other while iterating virtually. This saves time, costs, and the back and forth that traditional collaboration can entail.
"We know now that basing new concepts on how we think they should look isn't going to fly anymore," said Mark Hardy, CEO InContext Solutions. "Working together within an immersive virtual reality store environment cuts out time, and more importantly, provides a data-driven way to visualize new concepts, and make changes as you go."
When collaboration becomes more seamless, so does the shopper experience.