“Need to shop? Let’s Amazon it.” This statement appears to be the modern day consensus among shoppers across different age categories, and rightly so. There is no denying the marvel that online shopping is today. It’s time-effective, cost-effective, and above all convenient.

One must admit that off late, Brick-and-Mortar has lost its’ mojo. However, it would be improper to call them dead.

Now the question is, “can brick-and-mortar retailers compete with e-commerce stores?” Ask me, and I will tell you that they have the potential of a mighty resurrection.

Shopping is an experience — “Don’t confuse it to be something else.”

Out of everything that online shopping brings to the table, there is one aspect that it lags on – customer experience. You have to understand that shopping and buying are two different things. Buying sounds transactional. Shopping sounds experiential. It won’t exactly be a crime to say that online shopping is predominantly transactional in nature.

Fact File: Recent findings by the Temkin Group found out that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience.

Now imagine this. You go out on a Friday evening to one of this fancy store at the mall that boasts of incredible graffiti on the walls, and centrally powered with Artificial intelligence and other new world technologies. Whether you end up buying something or not, you will come back home and say that you went shopping. This is the customer experience. What’s shopping without customer experience? This is the one aspect which I believe can lead the offline resurrection.

Retail Graphics – ‘The Potential Game changer’

My primary aim is not to ask you to choose between the mediums, nor is this a retail-technology blog bragging about the modern-day retail breakthroughs. I am here to talk about retail graphics.

What I mainly mean to say, is that retail graphics can play an immense role in enhancing the in-store experience of visitors. Every brand wants to ensure that its messaging and persona is perceived correctly by both existing and potential customers. Moreover, they would want people to get the right vibes and feel once they are in-store, and also before and after. How and what the person sees and senses can be the difference between him walking out of the store, as opposed to signing up as a customer for life.

It’s all about wowing customers when they walk inside the store. Retail Graphics & design certainly can make a world of difference. Adopt great retail graphics solutions and see a surge in your bottom line. Let me elaborate on how.

Retail Barricade Graphics — Turning Unsightly Walls into blissful display areas

I am sure that we are all acquainted with large areas of walls and partitions in malls, constructed for safety and security during constructions and renovations. These are called barricades, and to brands, it’s worth more than just blank, empty spaces. Barricade graphics can turn this space into an area of absolute visual delight. Brands can ensure accurate customer-perception by making the most out of their retail barricade graphics.

Retail barricades
(Image Courtesy: solidretailservices.com)

It’s important to get the graphics right as these spaces are easily visible inside malls, and in more ways than one, the customer buying-decision journey begins from this point. Yes, you might say that this avenue has been looked at by brands for quite some time now. But, the fact remains that customers still feel weak in the knees at the sight of an exceptional barricade graphic. Besides, when it comes to branding & advertising, you wouldn’t want to believe that you are doing excellently, especially when it comes to retail barricade graphics. Time for deliberations is over. Go ahead and get the perfect retail barricade display and watch your in-store fortune change.

Traditional print Material – Don’t make the mistake of underestimating its’ power. Yes, even today.         

The advent of digital media and its’ role in marketing has been tremendous. As a result, advertisers and marketers have shifted focus on the medium to quadruple their returns. The Print and Digital debate has been reverberating for quite some time now. Digital media have come out on top on most occasions. Count my vote in for digital too. However, I am not one to believe that print is completely baseless. If anything, I believe a resurgence of sorts is on its’ way up.

Fact File: As per findings not too long ago, print marketing return-rate in 2017 jumped by 190% with around 43% of more customers responding to direct mail, in comparison to 2016.             

Come to think of it; it doesn’t really surprise me. I mean, Yes digital does give you the reach and convenience. But, think about the kind of cut-throat competition these days. Almost everybody has gone digital, and as a result, the floodgates have opened. Customers online today get more than they want, almost to the point that they are starting to feel invaded.

Personalization and customization are the buzzwords in town, and to be frank; people are flooded with information digitally. I know I am. Now think from a marketer’s shoes. What are the chances of your digital messaging negating all the noise and clutter and making it to the person’s eyes consistently?

Hold on. Eyes are not enough. One needs to read and derive insight out of it. Add lips and brain in there. What I am trying to say is that you are just a drop in the ocean and you are just one click away from being ignored. The word ‘overdose’ comes to mind here.

Now it’s a little different for print friends. Traditional print materials (brochures, catalogs, flyers, newsletters) apart from having a physical and tangible side to it guarantee the readers’ particular attention. It’s a permanent thing on the table that can be viewed at the readers’ leisure.

You can choose to ignore it at the outset, but what are the chances that you might pick it up again? It would be a folly to underestimate the power of traditional materials. It is okay to concentrate on your digital marketing endeavors, but don’t just rule out print yet. It’s been there for ages and come what may it’s not going anywhere.

Way-finding Retail graphics – ‘Getting them awe-struck is not enough, Get them in the store.’

You might have scored huge brownie points in luring your customer to gaze at your barricade graphic, or won them over with attractive banners. But all of that is of no avail if they don’t land up in your store. There are other brands and brand-categories with their own barricades and banners. It’s only a matter of time before your prospective business gets distracted. So the trick is to remain within the vicinity of the customers’ eyes at all times possible.

This is where internal way-finding signage and decorations can captivate customers for long. It shouldn’t be a task for people to find your store. Proper signage distributed evenly from the mall entrance to your storefront will make things easier for customers. Along with the signage, powerful brand messaging through well-crafted banners and POS displays also help in re-instating brand value.

If you want to go into overdrive, then printed floors story-boarding the customers’ journey from mall-entrance to store-front can be the icing on the lovely baked cake thus far. The idea is not just to generate desire, but to create multiple impulses till the time the customer comes knocking on your store-door. Let me repeat it, folks, ‘Get your Retail Graphics right and watch the magic unfold.’

Large Format graphics – Buildings & Buses alike, ‘Leave no stone unturned.’   

Do you still feel you aren’t doing enough for your retail store visibility? Well, go big. Large format graphics are definitely the most vibrant to look at and also the easiest to catch the collective eye. If backed by expert collation and proper messaging, it can indeed work wonders. If you agree with what I am saying, you must be thinking of building wraps.

Well, nothing beats building wraps. In my view, it will forever continue to be the big daddy of all outdoor advertising activities. Pick your spots wisely and curate your messaging with utmost relevance. Unless you have done terribly, it’s hard not to get noticed. Whether it’s buildings, construction sites, stadium backdrops, or whatever, don’t miss a chance if you think you have one.

Building-wraps

Now then, how can you miss out on vehicles? Remember? Leave no stones unturned. As a vehicle, graphics have a tremendous opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to reinforce brand values and increase exposure. You can target trucks, buses, vans, trailers, cars, metro-rail, etc. Go for alien-spaceships even if you ever find one.

Truth be told, if you have all bases covered, you will not miss out on the opportunity to reach your prospective customers. We all appreciate large format graphics if they are good, don’t we? People have not stopped looking. Maybe you have stopped trying.

Store Lighting matters – ‘Make no two ways about it.’

Lighting directly impacts the way we think, act, and see things. Well, it is no different in the stores really. From setting customer mood to stimulation of demand, and then to the eventual purchase decision, lighting has a critical role to play. Imagine walking into a store with dull, and boring white lights spread out across the entirety of the length. While there won’t be any lack of brightness, I am not sure if it would qualify as the perfect ambiance.  Several studies over the years have found lighting to impact ones’ mood and cognitive purchase behavior directly.

Proper lighting can illuminate a brand’s strategy and messaging. There is a reason why premium products are placed on well-illuminated shelves. Not only does it amplify the overall product display, but it also sends across a message of luxury and domination. Similarly, accent lighting can be used to highlight architectural elements. Dramatic lighting, on the other hand, can almost make a product look superficial.

Has it ever occurred to any of you that a product appeared to be all glitz at the store but appeared a little diminished when unwrapped at home? This is the role lighting plays. It can almost draw a consumer to the shelf and score a purchase. There is a reason why retailers across the globe are investing in lighting. They understand that it could be the biggest game-changer ever.

Fact File: Findings reckon that a German-based fashion retailer (Gerry Weber) saw a hike of 10% in sales after investing in strategic store lighting.

Note to Offline Retailers – “Don’t Resign to Fate, Try reviving it.”

I believe everything I have mentioned in this post here is something all you offline retailers and brands already know. My objective was not to educate but remind. Somewhere you will agree that amidst the whole digital revolution, many of you have run out of steam and almost surrendered in so many ways. I agree it’s difficult times to feel rejuvenated. But there is no denying the fact that the definition of shopping has changed with e-commerce.

However, I firmly believe that despite all the perks and convenience that online shopping has to offer, there is still a lot of places for offline retail to bring about an experiential resurrection. For starters, “Get your Retail Graphics Right”.

Aditya Kathotia

Aditya Kathotia

Founder & CEO of Digital Polo

Aditya, through his company Digital Polo, has reached the zenith of brand-design expertise by delivering true value to brands & marketers. He believes that every brand deserves to unlock its true branding prowess. Through Digital Polo, he aims at comprehensively serving the same.