Want To Push Social Media? Have You Considered Using Your Stores?Written by Todd L. Michaud
Todd Michaud spent years leading retail technology teams for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins and today serves as the VP of IT for a billion-dollar franchise restaurant company. He also runs Power Thinking Media, which helps restaurants and retailers with social and mobile challenges.
How’s this for ironic? Retailers complain about how difficult it is to get shoppers to explore their social media efforts. And yet these same retailers have the almost undivided attention of these shoppers, often for hours every month, in an environment where the retailer has complete control of the surroundings, the store layout and the staff.
Almost all retail marketing efforts are based on the not-so-simple premise of getting people to purchase from them, either online or in person. The problem is likely a mesh of old-mentality thinking with a heavy dose of channel conflict. What if those marketing resources were directed at building a deeper relationship with consumers, one with more engagement? Although that may work for a digital marketing team (it is actually the foundation of most successful digital marketing strategies), what about using in-store technology and even the sales associates to start or enhance those digital conversations?
In my mind I can see the CEO’s face as the marketing chief explains that he wants to grab some of the consumers attention while they are in the store to “build a deeper relationship with them online.” I have to imagine that is about as close to heresy as it gets in traditional retailing. “Wasting” precious time and attention of a shopper and “distracting” them with things that do not involve a sale in that very moment, at the point of purchase!
Then there is the small fact that the retail operator doesn’t feed his family based upon how well his customers are engaged online. He’s paid to sell products. I can also see his face as he’s told that he has to staff additional labor and purchase additional technology “just so the E-Commerce guys can get a sale.”