As we enter 2019, it’s important to reflect on the conversations I’ve had with brands last year, to highlight some of the common challenges faced and how some brands are planning to combat these in 2019.

1. Enhance in-store product experiences

We know that over 90% of purchases are still happening in a brick and mortar environment yet we haven’t really seen in-store shopping experiences evolve like online purchasing experiences. To make things tougher for product brands they have little or no control over the in-store experience in most cases. Retailers are the gatekeepers and in some ways digitisation and the merging of online with in-store consumers experiences is reliant on each retailer’s digital transformation journey. Some retailers like Walmart have taken significant steps in recent years, but not many of these enhancements have helped brands provide better experiences for consumers with their products specifically. So how can you help differentiate your products in-store?

Product brands using our Shping app are delivering content to consumers in-store while they are looking at your products. These brands are getting an advantage over their competition in closing that sale, when the shopper is in final decision mode. Whether it be product images, in-situ photography, detailed descriptions, ingredients, nutritional information, videos, social placements, user reviews, certifications and user generated content from social, it’s all at their fingertips and accessed by a simple product scan. Don’t allow your product to be the scan that delivers no content.

2. Building a 1-1 audience with your consumers

One challenge that keeps getting highlighted is the ability for a product brand to build a 1-1 audience of consumers to be able to engage with. Retailers own point of purchase so they own all of the customer data. While having a social presence with relevant and fresh content is really important, growing that audience is becoming more expensive as you bid against competitors lining Google and Facebook’s pockets. With increasing levels of ad fraud (sometimes as high as 60%), who/what are you actually buying?

One of our clients has grown their database of customers by over 20% in 3 months using the Shping app. Everytime a consumer scans one of their products in-store, they become part of their in-app audience. Within the Shping app they are able to set up customised and personalised lifecycle marketing campaigns to target and communicate with them, building brand loyalty and referrals to their network.

3. User-generated content as social proof

Shoppers want to see user-generated content (UGC) that’s real and authentic. In a recent survey, 60% of consumers say content from their friends or family influences their purchase decisions, compared to just 24% who say they are influenced by content from celebrities. UGC was also found to be three times more authentic than brand-created content. When you factor in that 86% of consumers say authenticity is an important factor in deciding which brands they support, it’s clear that user-generated content is a key tool in any marketing arsenal. The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to create authentic UGC. Brands can encourage customers to leave reviews, upload photos or comments, and engage using social media campaigns at a fraction of the cost of an in-house advertising campaign.

On top of the current user generated content available in the Shping app, brands will soon be able to have user generated content from over a 100 social platforms worldwide flow seamlessly into each of their product pages in the Shping app. How will we do it you say? Well, it’s a little complicated and uses advanced AI to automate the process of acquiring the user generated content, but also selects the relevant content for that product, location and person. Our current brands are anxiously awaiting the go live date on this new feature and we know many more will love it too.

If you’re marketing and branding a product into retail stores and some of the above challenges sound familiar, then register for a demo to see how the Shping app can work for you.