Augmented reality marketing campaigns and rewards programs are shopper marketing examples used by brands that have been found to improve sales. These companies are leveraging both emerging options, like augmented reality marketing campaigns, along with traditional ones, like rewards programs, to engage consumers and gain attention for products. While retail leaders often use massive, highly expensive campaigns, brands can scale down and create their campaigns based on the most successful ones.
Brands must be prepared to compete in a variety of marketplaces, both in brick-and-mortar locations and via mobile commerce. These brands can take their cues from what major retailers are doing to improve their marketing efforts. Three major industry names—Starbucks, Target, and Amazon—have all successfully created unique campaigns which drive sales and enhance the customer experience.
Amazon and Target Merge the Physical With the Digital
Amazon recently took a step outside of the digital realm and began operating a store where consumers can view select items in the physical world, rather than just online. This strategy was a shrewd move on the retailer’s part, as one of the biggest things holding people back from making online purchases is the inability to physically touch the product.
The unique store still uses Amazon’s digital savvy to replicate the online experience. Rather than having to wait in line and check items out, consumers fill their baskets and pay automatically as they leave the store, as part of a unique sensor system. The Amazon Go program uses the physical space, in conjunction with an innovative app, to streamline shopping.
Of course, the development of this store was a long, expensive process. However, brands can add high-tech features to their existing shopping apps and websites to recreate an in-store experience even in the digital space. A smaller scale example of this comes through Target’s augmented reality app.
The store focused on using this app to sell furniture because that is typically a hard online sell as consumers are concerned about the difficulty of returning the piece if it doesn’t fit their space. The app allows consumers to use an AR overlay to view how a specific piece of furniture will look in their space with to-scale dimensions. This AR app solves the issue of size concerns because consumers are able to see if the item will work with their existing décor. It essentially brings the shopping aisle to the consumers, making online shopping less risky for them.
In both Amazon and Target’s cases, technology was used to solve problems that consumers had with online shopping. In Amazon’s case, they streamlined checkout while giving consumers access to a brick-and-mortar location. In Target’s, they simplified online furniture shopping by allowing consumers to interact with the products virtually. By merging physical and digital spaces, the brands were able to connect with consumers on another level.
Using Starbucks’ App as a Shopper Marketing Example
Starbucks currently boasts the most downloaded, brand-specific app in the world. Starbucks’ app leads the mobile payment industry even though the app can only be used in Starbucks or via their online store. The app does so much more than provide an avenue for payment. It also:
- Offers automatic rewards: Consumers who use the Starbucks app can participate in the rewards program and—when using the app to pay—have their rewards points automatically added or subtracted from their balance.
- Provides timely notifications: When Starbucks is rolling out a new product, the app can notify consumers and even encourage them to participate in new product events.
- Gives product information: Consumers can browse menu items, get ingredient information, and even order ahead of time for pickup.
- Sends personalized messages: Members of the Starbucks’ rewards program will receive customized advertisements and notifications regarding products and other deals happening in their area.
Starbucks’ app is the perfect example of value-added marketing because the consumers receive an additional service through the app. This strategy is one Shopkick also implements. The app is used to enhance the consumer’s in-store experience by providing many of the same services that the Starbucks app offers such as allowing consumers to collect rewards in-store, view branded content, and receive messages based on location.
Brands that work with third-party app providers get the benefit of the app’s features and access to a new audience of consumers.
For brands that aren’t in a position to implement and manage a mobile presence like Starbucks’, using a third-party app program offers a lower cost alternative. Brands that work with third-party app providers get the benefit of the app’s features and access to a new audience of consumers.
Many major retailers and brands have successfully leveraged high-tech options to improve sales, add value to their existing offers, and merge physical and digital experiences. We can see several in-store shopper marketing examples which can be scaled to work for any size brand. Learning from the successes of others and partnering with third parties can help improve a marketing ROI while enhancing the customer experience.
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