Monday, April 2, 2012

The New Consumer Engagement

(by Heather Reid on March 29, 2012)

The way we market to consumers has changed. Consumers want experiences that encompass mobile technology and create a unique experience. Sooner or later, Some retailers and brands are still reluctant to embrace technology as a new method of communication. However, more retailers are starting to bridge the gap between virtual and brick and mortar. The verdict is still out on many of these programs, but the mavericks are paving the way.
Krispy Kreme offers an Android app which incorporates geo-fencing. This helps donut lovers find the closest Krispy Kreme location, but also alerts them when fresh donuts are hot from the oven. The customer can control the alert settings, so it does not infringe on the retailer/consumer relationship. This app is a great consumer engagement tool that delivers a unique customer experience. More importantly, it drives sales.
Walmart and Angry BirdsA genius relationship was announced last week - Walmart has partnered with Angry Birds. For those of you living under a rock, Angry Birds is a game that swept the nation last year. This app invites Walmart shoppers and Facebook fans to scour the store to find clues that unlock bonus levels in the new Angry Birds Space game. Consumers can find the clues on a variety of Angry Birds licensed merchandise in Walmart stores. This demonstrates ground breaking innovation, as the retailer has gamified the shopping experience. While it is yet to be seen if this is a money maker for Walmart, my hunch is that this consumer experience will be a huge success and other retailers will follow their lead.
Ritz CrackersRitz crackers just launched a mobile banner ad that encourages consumers to click and save. This targeted mobile banner ad redirects to a mobile landing page featuring a new product coupon. This new method of couponing will eventually replace traditional coupons. Ritz is one of the first brands to debut the concept. Mobile coupons are a great way for a brand to promote consideration for a new product purchase. Say goodbye to the hassle of cutting coupons. Now you can just use your handy smart phone to save.
Neiman MarcusImagine walking into a department store and receiving a text message that welcomes you. You are asked if you would like VIP customer services such as a stylist pulling formal dresses in your size.  Neiman Marcus is testing this new mobile concept, this spring in San Francisco and Palo Alto stores. In addition shoppers can also check out new fashion trends or get product details. Once again, the customer controls the relationship by signing up for the app. Upon entering Neiman Marcus he or she is greeted and can elect to receive the red carpet consumer experience or pass and shop hassle free. This mobile app makes the customer feel important and allows sales associates the opportunity up-sell their customers.
How are you bridging the gap between mobile technology and the brick and mortar store? Your strategy need to match your demographic, and it should create a unique consumer experience this will drive sales, create brand loyalty, and if done right, create market buzz.
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