While eCommerce has undoubtedly become a significant component of the retail landscape, brick-and-mortar stores continue to hold their ground. In fact, the in-store experience is still preferred by a number of shoppers, just for different reasons than online.
Consumers yearn for the tactile encounter—the opportunity to personally try and compare products, the ability to share their shopping experiences on social media, and the presence of compelling in-store displays that assist in making brand decisions, among other influential factors.
Unlocking the potential of brick-and-mortar retailers to raise awareness hinges upon understanding what entices shoppers to step foot inside. It all boils down to approaching the in-store experience in the right way. Here’s how:
The Role of Brick-and-Mortar Stores in Driving Brand Awareness
Even in an increasingly digital world, brick-and-mortar stores continue to play a crucial role in driving brand awareness of your products and company. These physical retail spaces provide customers with tactile and sensory experiences that online platforms cannot replicate. The opportunity to see, touch, and try your products in person can significantly enhance customer trust and product value perception.
Moreover, in-store service and direct interaction with sales personnel can lead to positive customer experiences, further elevating your brand image. Thus, while the digital presence is vital for growing brand awareness and reaching a wider audience, the traditional brick-and-mortar stores are far from obsolete, serving as pivotal touchpoints in a multi-channel branding strategy.
Strategies for Increasing Brand Awareness In-Store
Brick-and-mortar stores can play an important role in the success of your products. Shoppers are very visual, which is one reason why end caps, planograms, and other tactics are commonplace in brick-and-mortar retailers.
No. 1: Visualize Your Next Product Launch
Visual merchandising is key to any successful in-store product launch. Shoppers are naturally drawn to things that are new. Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, your target customer just needs to see your product in person before buying. Customers might feel nervous about dropping their hard-earned dollars on a completely unfamiliar product, even if there’s brand recognition.
Therefore, take full advantage of your in-store experience to launch new products. Make sure your displays across retailers are compliant, strategic, and visual. Make a strong first impression on your shoppers.
No. 2: Create an Experience Hub
Everybody loves to have a good time, and that goes for shoppers too. This is why brands are using brick-and-mortar to increase awareness among consumers.
Take the beauty industry, for example. Shoppers want to try on cosmetics. They want to see how they look before buying and they want guidance from experts. Naturally, this is much easier to do in-store than online.
The bottom line is that brands can’t easily replicate that in-store experience online. It’s worth making sure that the interaction is a positive one.
No. 3: Leverage Social Media
Brands have long known the power of social media to drive awareness. However, not all are leveraging social media in-store as well.
You should take a look at your brick-and-mortar partners to make sure your products are displayed in a way that makes them shareable. Displays should be visually appealing, colorful, fun, and engaging. Some brands have created displays that are designed for social media posts, such as photo booths. The rise of the pop-up store is closely linked to social media buzz.
On a more traditional level, a well-crafted planogram can make your display attractive and tempting to photograph and share. No matter your strategy, how shareable your in-store presence is should be something to consider.
No. 4: Develop a Strategic In-Store Design & Layout
A well-thought-out store design and layout can play a pivotal role in enhancing brand awareness through brick-and-mortar stores. It acts as a physical manifestation of the brand’s characteristics and values, creating a tangible brand experience that online platforms can’t match.
When customers walk into a shop, they interact with the brand in a direct, personal way. Every element of the store, from the colors and lighting to the product placement and signage, can reinforce the brand message and generate a memorable shopping experience.
Furthermore, an intelligently designed retail store and layout can influence consumer behavior, guiding customers to key products and promoting impulse purchases. This physical interaction with the brand helps foster brand recognition and loyalty among consumers.
No. 5: Train Staff for Improved Customer Service
Training store employees to enhance customer experiences can significantly impact brand awareness, especially in brick-and-mortar stores. Physical interaction in a store gives employees the chance to make a lasting impression on customers, something that is currently unachievable through online platforms.
When employees are trained appropriately, they can effectively communicate the brand’s values, products, and services to customers. This exchange of information not only guides customers in making a purchase but also facilitates a deeper understanding of the brand. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of customers associating positive experiences with the brand, thus enhancing brand awareness.
Moreover, well-trained employees can offer personalized customer service, fostering a strong relationship between the customer and the brand. This one-on-one interaction is a unique opportunity for the brand to stand out in the customer’s mind, creating strong brand awareness and a memorable shopping experience.
Examples of Successful Brand Awareness In-Stores
Several brands have been able to create a consistent and strong in-store presence using different tactics. For example:
- Barnes & Noble’s Reading Spaces: Barnes & Noble created cozy reading spaces within their stores to promote book-reading culture. These spaces encourage customers to spend more time in the store, thus enhancing the brand’s visibility and customer loyalty.
- IKEA’s Room Settings: IKEA has successfully leveraged room settings in their stores to showcase their products. This strategy allows customers to envision how IKEA products could fit into their own homes, thereby boosting the brand’s visibility and popularity.
- Lush’s Naked campaign: Lush, the UK-based cosmetics retailer, launched a campaign promoting package-free products in its stores. The campaign, combined with the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, significantly boosted its brand recognition.
By embracing innovative strategies and prioritizing customer satisfaction, brick-and-mortar stores can thrive and sustain their relevance in an increasingly digital world.
The Path to Improved Retail Brand Awareness
In conclusion, enhancing and building brand awareness within the context of brick-and-mortar stores is a multifaceted process that requires strategic planning and diligent execution. This endeavor goes beyond just stocking products on the shelves and hoping for the best. It includes creating a memorable in-store experience, forging strong relationships with customers, and employing effective promotional strategies that resonate with your target audience.
In-store events, collaborations with other local businesses, and personalized customer service can all serve as powerful tools for fostering brand recognition and loyalty. Remember that your store has something that online platforms lack: a physical, tangible presence. This offers you a unique opportunity to make a lasting impression and an immersive brand experience for your customers.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that your brand stands out in the bustling retail market. By embracing innovative strategies and prioritizing customer satisfaction, brick-and-mortar stores can thrive and sustain their relevance in an increasingly digital world. The road to enhancing brand awareness may not always be smooth, but the rewards are definitely worth the journey.
Editor’s Note: Contributing writer is Matt Ellsworth. This post was originally published in August 2018 and has since been updated and refreshed for readability and accuracy.