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Video Makes the Omni-Channel Retail Star

BY Dan Berthiaume

A former editor used to tell me “A picture is worth a thousand words – a thousand words you don’t have to write.” For omni-channel retailers, the value of video is even greater than that of still photography to journalists. As the popularity of online video content continues to climb with consumers, retailers ignore its potential as a means of customer engagement at their own risk.

The continued popularity of YouTube and prevalence of Facebook video postings, as well as soaring popular interest in social video platforms such as Twitter Vine and Video on Instagram, all demonstrate the fact that consumers are increasingly making online video a part of their daily lives. News sites increasingly offer popular stories in video format.

Any medium involving an electronic screen inherently lends itself better to video than text, which in digital format can be taxing on the eyes and hard to digest in bulk, especially on the smaller screens that are coming to dominate the world of Internet access. Many consumers probably expect your e-commerce, m-commerce and social pages, and even in-store digital devices, to feature video. Many more may not expect it but would surely appreciate it.

However, an intelligent omni-channel video strategy involves more than simply collecting a bunch of video content and throwing it in consumer’s faces. Retailers need to consider where consumers are, what type of Internet access they are using and what services they require.

Different video platforms fill different customer needs

For example, Lowe’s uses Twitter Vine videos, which are capped at six seconds each, to provide quick demonstrations of simple DIY tasks like removing a stripped screw from a hole. Obviously consumers using Vine are not seeking in-depth instructions on complex tasks and the high degree of mobile Twitter usage makes it an ideal platform for delivering real-time, how-to tips.

Meanwhile, YouTube is a good home for longer videos guiding users through multi-step projects or the features of complex, expensive products such as automobiles and home electronics. Social networks like Facebook and Pinterest are ideal platforms for letting consumers share their own videos evangelizing a retailer’s brand and/or products. A retailer’s home page, as well as in-store digital displays, are good locations for displaying shorter promotional videos and demos. Retailers may want to display different videos on their mobile sites that are better suited for a small screen.

Video evolves as full-fledged channel

Video technology is also evolving to the point where retailers can conduct video commerce. Using interactive video solutions, retailers can let customers click on items displayed on videos for purchase and also select different parts of a video for close-up views, customize certain aspects of a video and even engage in simulated conversations with video characters.

Thus the video format is moving beyond a means of promoting, demonstrating and explaining products and evolving into a separate channel in and of itself, rather than as simply an add-on feature for existing channels. Any omni-channel retail strategy truly worthy of the name needs to incorporate video to some degree today; before long video will stand on its own as a customer engagement and transactional tool equal in importance to brick-and-mortar, online, social and mobile.


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Rite Aid courts seniors with new ad campaign

BY CSA STAFF

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid, the third-largest drug chain in the nation, is pursuing the lucrative senior market with its latest marketing campaign centered on its new extension to the Wellness+ loyalty card program.

The integrated campaign for Wellness65+ features seniors actively engaged in activites like swimming laps, riding a roller coaster or having a water fight with grandchildren. It promotes the various features of the program, which is aimed at seniors and provides several benefits in addition to the standard Wellness+ program. Ad agency Marc USA created the program.

"Amid new healthcare legislation and the growing array of options, heath care can be more confusing than ever," Rite Aid SVP marketing John Learish said. "A key goal of Wellness65+ is to create ongoing dialogue between Rite Aid pharmacists and their patients to better help them reach their wellness goals. Retail brands have an opportunity to create in-store experiences and offerings that foster stronger relationships and truly build loyalty. It’s just one more way we can provide value. Wellness65+ provides seniors, one of our most important consumer bases, with products and services specifically targeted to meet their needs."

Wellness65+ will be supported by direct and digital channels, including social media. A cross-country mobile tour will visit more than 30 Rite Aid markets between now and March 2014, with partnerships in each city between Rite Aid and local organizations to host special community wellness events for seniors and their families. These will include free health screenings, pharmacist consultations and local experts on fitness, finance, legal and technology issues.

"Each Wellness65+ TV spot opens with a senior reflecting… ‘How did I get here?’" Marc USA chief creative officer Bryan Hadlock said. "The scenarios personify health and wellness as being able to do what you enjoy most whether it’s a physical challenge or special moments with the people you love. The spots complete the loop by showing the role of the Rite Aid pharmacist in the senior’s life — helping each customer get to a place where he or she is living life to the fullest."

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Samsonite taps M19 to deliver omnichannel platform

BY Marianne Wilson

TORONTO — MI9 announced that Samsonite Company Stores, the North American retail and ecommerce division of Samsonite, has selected MI9 to provide its omnichannel retail platform.

“We selected MI9 Merchant because we felt it offered a ‘best in class’ package connecting all retail merchandising and marketing elements into one integrated omnichannel solution,” said Mike Zucker, Samsonite Company Stores VP of merchandising and marketing. “We went into the market looking for a technology partner to provide us with one operational data model for merchandising, forecasting and CRM, but that would also continue to provide the innovative technical infrastructure going forward to help us further grow our leadership position in the market. It was also important that this company had the capacity to tailor mission-critical applications to the way we do business.”

MI9 Merchant is a complete merchandise management and omnichannel solution leveraging full data warehouse and BI analytics (MI9 Business Intelligence). Data and information from these solutions is made available to users and systems companywide through MI9 Retail Hub, a data delivery system that provides real-time data on demand.

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