Spark Readers - This week I have included another piece from the ever-growing library of Medium articles. As I further in my retail "adventures," I continue to be surprised by the expectations we, as brands and retailers, have of our consumers. "Share your experience with our hashtag", "Please post about your experience in-store today" etc.

These unauthentic, dispirit asks could not be further than what consumers of today are looking for as successful brands are thinking beyond these types of CTAs to create experiences and memories that customers can't wait to share and talk about organically.

That's what this week's article is all about. Enjoy!

-Carter

Share vs. Sell — A new KPI for physical retailers.

Physical retailers today have fallen into a sad slump, begging and pleading with passing customers not necessarily to buy or even try their products but rather, share their content on a preferred social media channel.

The following phrases have come all-too-common as they seem to pollute the retail experience just as the typical “25% OFF TODAY ONLY” sale signs have in years past.

“Post a pic with your friends and tag #ILOVEBRAND #BRAND” And so on…

This is not to downplay the importance of a moment, shared with thousands of friends via a platform like Instagram Stories or Snap. A win like this can cut cost-per-impression from dollars to mere pennies and, more importantly, add a layer of verification to followers that almost no brand communication can match.

But, in the world of social today, retailers and brands must put themselves in the shoes of the consumer, realizing that a simple brand filter or promoted hashtag will no longer cut it.

Yes, users today are posting more, but the focus on a perfect, polished outward appearance to the customer’s list of followers is something not to forget. (heard of a Finstagram?)

With this new mindset of perfection ever-prevailing, brand content, endorsements and other efforts to integrate with these posts will be more difficult and in some ways, more costly.

Ask yourself; what are you as a brand or retailer, doing to add actual value to the experience? Why should the user post about their experience with you rather than a moment or memory with their friends, family or other, more notable event? In addition, why would this person choose to positively talk about your brand or moreover, include a logo or product in one of their precious posts? What value is any of this to them?

This overall trend has pushed the retail world and other venues alike, into a place where the pure physical design of the experience and the shareability of the retail space is key. Looking beyond the branded tags, filters and other digital gimmicks to creating experience that only a brand-owned space can embody.

Though this type of effort, brands have found ways to organically show up in the feeds of their most avid fans…

Examples of these Instagram-focused experiences like the above have been coming into the scene around the world for the last few years. First, it was art that found this niche as places like the Museum of Ice Cream and other like-venues captured the attention (and Instagram cameras) of users. From there, media publishers caught wind as experiences like 29Rooms came into focus and finally, today, we are seeing retailers begin to understand the concept.

Moving away from the brand tags, shameless asks and direct promotions to find their way onto a feed, retailers today must look to their physical footprint as more than a place to sell goods and focus more on the holistic impression the space makes and the value, on behalf of a brand, to the customers who visit.

What can brands do to hack their way into the feed?

  1. Look to find a way to heighten the in-store experience for the customer by supplementing it with media and info shared via the consumers’ favorite platforms. i.e. Point your customers to your store on Instagram to see how products have been styled on influencers or other people users idolizes. (See Instagram’s Shoppable Stories)
  2. Create looks, feels and aesthetics that play well to heightened the capture experience. i.e. Colors that work well with Instagram filters or novel objects that give the user, and their following, a unique perspective of everyday items.
  3. Offer design elements and other creative assets that heightened the digital content of the user rather than simply slapping a brand or logo on top of the image or video.

Supporting Resources —

The Existential Void of the Pop-Up ‘Experience’ (New York Times)

Inside the most Instagrammable place on Earth (Fast Company)

Selfie Factories — The rise of the Instagram Museum (Wired)

This post was originally written on behalf of Latitude. Want to learn more about some of the amazing things we are up to? Let me know! :) 

 

Khol's Fills Old, Empty Retail Space with a Planet Fitness Partnership

As more commerce moves online, retailers with larger physical footprints and shrinking in-store inventory are often left looking for creative ways to fill space and improve the store experience. Department store Kohls has come up with a unique way to utilize excess floor space: replace it with a Planet Fitness gym.

This is the second partnership Kohl’s has entered into to maximize its store space: The retailer announced a deal with grocery retailer Aldi in the Spring of 2018. The goal is to drive foot traffic to its store locations by offering value-added services and experiences.

😅 Learn More
Text and research sourced from PSFK.

The Next Step
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What is Spark all about?
Consumer Connections - Beyond stereotypical social and e-commerce platforms, we look to focus in on new and emerging ways consumers are connecting with each other and brands. These stories are then summarized and paired with actionable next steps for marketers, brand leaders and really, all who are curious.​

We write these pretty fast so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. We're trying.
Topics this week were quoted or directly sources from a variety of sources.

Copyright © 2019 CJC, LLC.

The information listed within has been sourced from the noted publisher.


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