In-Store Engagement is Increasingly Personalized. Privacy Should Be at the Heart of it
As we move further into 2024, the in-store retail landscape continues to shift from transactional spaces to powerful mediums for engaging and communicating with consumers. This shift presents a pivotal opportunity to redefine the dynamic between brands, retailers, and consumers. Retailers are looking to invest in physical enhancements to stores to personalize customer experiences further. Shoppers can expect more in-store display technologies with QR codes, personalized offers, inspirational content, brand ads, and messages. Brands want to use the physical store to increase their influence over purchase decisions and to develop consumer affinity.
However, whenever consumer data is involved, privacy considerations are mandatory. There’s an imperative for brands to re-evaluate consumer engagement strategies with privacy at the heart of this very personalized interaction. With consumers becoming more outspoken about their desire for greater control and transparency over their personal information, it’s mission-critical that customer preferences and privacy boundaries are baked into in-store marketing strategies.
With a consumer’s explicit consent over how their data is utilized, privacy and control are no longer mutually exclusive from tailored, innovative experiences. As retailers look to digitize interactions with brick-and-mortar shoppers — think digital displays, "try-on" mirrors, and intelligent dressing rooms as a few examples — truly bespoke, physical-exclusive experiences can be provided to enhance the customer shopping experience.
For example, delivering contextually relevant digital ads to customers as they shop is an increasingly popular practice. This strategy allows marketers to connect with buyers in real time in the final stage of the customer journey, resulting in more attention, better campaign performance, and increased revenue. Customers feel more connected to the brand at the point of purchase, especially if they feel rewarded by a tailored deal.
At the same time, these shoppers don’t want to feel as though they’re being “spied on” while they shop. As consumers draw a line in the sand, refusing more and more to engage with brands that aren’t transparent about their data collection practices, there's a pivotal paradigm shift in how retailers personalize the in-store experience in a privacy-safe way. Customer “check-ins” or checkpoints as they come in the door allow retailers to give shoppers transparency while incentivizing them to opt in to share their data, bringing value to the experience through offers and new ways to engage while shopping.
However, challenges around consumer privacy can be colossal for midsized retailers. As they look to transform physical stores digitally, they need the resources and technological capabilities that big-box brands have. They need to infuse innovative technology applications without disrupting daily operations, receive physical impression detection on in-store ads, and understand specified aisle or location placement to maximize these ads, all while integrating privacy measures and compliance into these practices.
A balance must be struck between how midsize retailers approach being good stewards of their customers’ data, facilitating the influence of brands, all the while remaining transparent with shoppers when using their data to personalize experiences for them. While a bit of a paradox, the desire consumers have to both receive targeted ads and understand how advertisers use the information they collect remains an unalienable truth that demands careful attention be paid. The opportunity lies with marketing solutions that can safely work with, understand and activate data. As the digital ecosystem continues to evolve, retail brands that provide this transparency will have the advantage. This kind of marketing, with privacy baked in, will ease consumers' minds, making it easier to build brand influence and drive business growth.
Hans Fischmann is vice president of product management at Vericast, a marketing technology company that provides a data-rich approach to influence consumers and drive meaningful commerce.
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As the Vice President of Product Management at Vericast, Hans leads the digital product team, delivering omnichannel programmatic advertising solutions across various media platforms.
With over 15 years of experience in the media and advertising industry, Hans has a proven track record of successfully commercializing and scaling innovative products that drive engagement and revenue for clients and partners. Hans is passionate about guiding innovation – from building a problem-solving culture to developing market-defining solutions. By leveraging data and technology, Hans believes that exceptional experiences can be created – providing value to customers and users alike.