Content Marketers, don't forget the Shopping Floor!

Content marketers, don’t forget the shop floor!
For many organisations, content marketing is (still) primarily a kind of novelty for the online marketing department. But there are countless ways in which you can integrate your content on a much broader scale within your retail organisation, and involve your physical shop floor. On the one hand - logically – this content integration helps you reach your target audience, realise new instore brand and shopping experiences and product relevance and, on the other, offers broader inspiration for the creation of your content.

Add valuable storytelling to your brand experience
Traditionally speaking, there has always been a great deal of space reserved on the shop floor for product, price, promotion and campaign. Content-related storytelling was primarily a tool used by personnel when speaking to customers one-on-one.
But even here content can contribute significantly to the shopper journey by:

  1. adding value to the shopping and brand experience thanks to inspirational (visual) storytelling (optimising the brand perception);
  2. offering inspiration on trends and applications, in the form of curation, inspiration (upsell, cross sell);
  3. providing convenience and oversight, for example with To-Do and To-Buy lists (guided selling).

Make it personal and hyper-relevant
Digital devices help build an important bridge between the content and the shopper. Naturally, digital signage tools - screens, tablets, projection – are an interesting way to convey your content (relatively) dynamically in the store, but, as we touched on earlier, it’s predominantly the smartphone that allows you - in combination with location based services – to reach your receivers in an extra-relevant and personal manner.

Foot Locker transforms its shops to sneaker museums
Take Foot Locker, which turned 300 of its stores in America into “sneaker museums”. Visitors with a Foot Locker app on their smartphone were notified via beacon recognition to take an audio tour along a number of iconic sneakers. NBA stars, footwear designers and other celebs talked – each from their own viewpoint – about the backgrounds of all the specially curated sneakers that were exhibited in dedicated areas in the store.

A clever content marketing campaign if we ever saw one that offers added value for the shopper experience, creates topical, appealing and enriching product information, and stimulates conversion.

Kohl’s makes an impression through personal relevance
In combing the smartphone, apps and location-based services, there are a lot of other interesting options to explore. Kohl’s Department Stores, for example, introduced a consumer app with a special Store Tools setting, specifically aimed at enriching and simplifying the instore experience. The most eye-catching feature is the indoor positioning system, which tracks the specific location of every shopper and can align with the most relevant content at that particular moment. If you’re wandering through the women’s section, the app will inspire you with the latest fashion trends and, what’s more, can link this directly to your purchasing history and store account balance, meaning they can offer you a personalised on-the-spot deal. A great mix of inspiration and conversion that’s personal and relevant.

Bijenkorf Room on the Roof – with a panoramic content marketing view
A fantastic illustration of how you can integrate the physical floor space with a mix of storytelling, online marketing & PR is the ‘Room on the Roof’ concept by Bijenkorf Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum.
Perched high above their iconic Amsterdam department store on the Dam Square is a picturesque little tower, a place that has been specially set up as a creative studio and where Dutch artists are invited to create unique works of art and then to exhibit them online as well as in the store.

Bijenkorf not only creates fascinating reports on the artists and their work they created during their time in the room, which are published online and given the necessary PR support, it also integrates the Room on the Roof much further within the department store.
There was the exposition of the work ‘Seven bars of gold, dripped’ by Sarah van Sonsbeeck, which could be admired in the window display for some weeks. The music of Wouter Hamel and Benjamin Herman was played in the fitting rooms, shopping bags by artist Rop van Mierlo were handed out to customers and, during the opening of the newly renovated designer departments, shoppers were given an unique signed drawing by fashion illustrator Piet Paris with every purchase.

The latest accomplishment is a permanent VR exposition of the work ‘Drawing Room’ by Jan Rothuizen, in the department store’s café: with the Oculus Rift VR glasses, the virtual experience takes you inside a hand-made 360-degree panorama of Amsterdam. This 21st century artwork even received an IDFA award.

With their Room on the Roof, Bijenkorf not only addresses inspirational brand values such as creativity, authenticity, expression, artistry and good taste, but particularly also how you can create an inspiring and activating mix of online content marketing, PR, instore experience and shopper activation.

The bottom line
Slowly but surely, content marketers and (digital) storytellers are discovering the shop floor as a useful stage for their content. Thanks to connected touchpoints like smartphones, digital signage networks and VR solutions, there are more and more cases that blend personal relevance and immersive experiences into inspirational concepts, adding immediate value to the product, the brand and the shopping experience. Content is king and the borders of its kingdom are expanding by the day.

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