Skip to main content

Influencing in-store behavior, buying and customer bonds

Store-level shopper engagement is crucial.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw noted, "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." 

Nearly 75 years since Shaw’s passing this insight is still relevant, especially for marketers who should understand that just because they have “said something” doesn’t necessarily mean shoppers will hear it and be prompted to buy.

Today, we can demographically dissect audiences and target with laser-like precision, but it won’t matter if we fail to successfully engage the shopper at the in-store level. And as chain store environments grow, delivering the messages you want customers to hear can become increasingly difficult. 

What’s needed is behavioral intervention that will shift the focus from messaging to action.

Gaining influence

Retailers normally want to keep brand noise to a minimum on-site. What’s more, tools for measuring things like the impact of display media are often unreliable, considering only a small slice of communication that’s taken place. 

Then there are pandemic- and sustainability-related concerns. Many people are still wary of spending time in crowded stores, others view cardboard- and plastic-heavy displays as wasteful and environmentally harmful.

Still, chain stores can bring attention to their painstakingly created messaging with something that rings truer than the loudest of voices – personal experience. 

Understanding shopper behavior can enable you to directly intervene and influence outcomes. No idea is too trivial. In fact, the smallest innovations are sometimes the best when it comes to getting shopper buy-in. Here are some examples of how in-store behavior at the chain store and general retail level is being shaped.

Contact-free soft drinks

Beverage brand pioneer Coca-Cola developed contactless vending solutions for a number of in-store purposes. The dispensers automatically display size and flavor options on shoppers’ phones. No need for downloading an app, signing in or signing up – they can even finalize purchases via their own device. It not only adds safety to the buying experience; customers find it engaging and convenient. 

Shopping naked

Beauty brand Lush created an augmented reality app that uses artificial intelligence to scan products without any need for packaging. It can produce product info, ingredients and more, minus the environmentally unfriendly material. 

This naked approach allows customers to really dig into and understand products without removing them from shelves, forging particularly strong bonds between a brand and customer because they’re teaming up to tackle a major issue.         

Augmenting customer beauty

Innovative beauty retailer Sephora has been equally innovative when it comes to in-store displays. It created ones that augment reality, enabling customers to test brands without directly applying them. 

Beauty products aren’t usually easy to sample, and if a customer already has makeup on and are on their way somewhere, they won’t even stop to look. 

However, these displays enable customers to virtually apply products via an interactive screen. No mess and no fuss, in fact, customers often end up trying and buying new products they otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

Experiences matter

Increasing your presence by just spending more and being "louder" offers diminishing returns and even loss. Each of the examples above reaches a shopper more effectively than any claim or call to action ever could. And what influences customers most - when they’re in a store and making decisions - is the immediate experience. 

Seeing is believing, and as customers are drawn in by unique displays and presentations, they feel a brand’s message more deeply and forge stronger relationships. As retailers and chain stores become more digital, the brief journeys they are able to take customers on while they’re on site can not only sell products, but raise profitability and create bonds to deliver significant short and long-term benefits.



More Blog Posts in This Series

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds