Retail marketing is changing rapidly to meet new challenges and evolving customer expectations. Having a winning in-store communication strategy is an essential part of guaranteeing success and keeping a competitive edge.
There are a variety of ways to implement digital solutions to make your in-store communication more effective and efficient. JRTech explains how to take your in-store communications to the next level.
What is in-store communication?
There are two types of communication that are important in retail: internal communication and in-store communication.
Internal communication refers to the communication between a retail business’ headquarters and individual retail outlets. Depending on the number of stores a company has, and how far apart they are located, communications between staff at the directorial level and individual store managers can become complicated, ineffective and time-consuming.
In-store communication refers to the communication between a brand and its customers within a physical store. This can include everything from promotions to product information to display prices.
For practical purposes, there is a link between both types of communication: if communication between headquarters and store managers or between store managers and employees (internal communication) is stalled or inefficient, stores are less able to communicate accurate and timely information to customers (in-store communication).
In-store communication is the final step in a chain of communication that has a huge impact on retail success.
Common problems related to in-store communication
In-store communication is vital to maintaining a positive brand experience for customers and a consistent and efficient sales strategy for a company.
Unfortunately, many retailers experience problems related to in-store communications. For example:
- Uninformed employees: Employees are sometimes given incorrect information, which they pass on to customers. This can be the result of poor internal communication or outdated methods of presenting and updating information within the store environment.
- Dissatisfied customers: Customers who cannot get the information they want or need about the company, products, promotions or policies will feel they have not had the brand experience they were expecting.
- Lost or reduced sales: When prices are not updated or displayed correctly, promotions are not presented effectively, or communications clash within the store environment, consumers lose trust in the brand. The result is lost or reduced sales.
How to improve in-store communication
Traditional communication between managers and employees relies on verbal and paper-based messages. This type of communication is often cumbersome and slow, resulting in confusion and delays. For example, informing employees of an update to store policy via a pamphlet distributed in staff rooms is not 100% effective. If employees do not see or read the pamphlet, they could remain uninformed about vital developments and misinform clients.
Likewise, informing customers of promotions and price changes via paper posters and tags also requires time and effort to implement. The solution lies in digital technology.
Retailers who rely on digital signage and messaging can benefit from many advantages: digital communication is fast, efficient and easy to implement.
Here are a few of the most effective strategies for making your in-store communication better by going digital:
1. Set up a corporate intranet
In-store communications and internal communications are dependent on one another. To ensure quick and effective communication between staff and management, some companies choose to create a web page that is only accessible to people within the organization.
There are many ways you can use a corporate intranet:
- To provide training and tutorials
- To notify staff of updates to promotions and branding
- To make documentation and handbooks available in reliable digital format
- To forge closer bonds between leadership and staff through sharing of information and creation of virtual events like Q&A sessions, contents and more.
Segmenting your intranet into spaces, departments or groups will make it even easier to manage messaging and information sharing within the staff community, which in turn will lead to better in-store communication with customers.
To encourage staff to use a company intranet, create a community by posting interesting on-brand visuals and engaging content:
- Broadcast company and individual accomplishments
- List community events
- Post job openings and hirings
- Introduce themed days of the week
2. Implement digital signage
Digital signage includes everything from price tags to in-store promotional screens. Gone are the days of printing expensive signs and tags that only lasted a few days, weeks or months. Digital signage reduces waste and allows for coherent, up-to-date communication with customers.
Installing digital signage can:
- Prevent in-store crowding by guiding shoppers to the right isles
- Bring your store to life via compelling animated content that drives customer engagement via point-of-purchase displays
- Allow you to quickly update signage content in real-time with the click of a button (without making staff install and uninstall hard-to-reach posters one at a time)
- Facilitate showcasing of high-profit margin products and limited-time deals to encourage impulse shopping
- Make it possible to implement data-driven advertising that you can tweak to improve interactions
3. Set up digital POS
One of the biggest challenges to internal and in-store communication is keeping prices up to date and maintaining a seamless and efficient purchasing experience.
Setting up a digital POS (point-of-sale system) makes it possible to check out a customer wherever you are using a POS app and an internet-enabled device, such as a tablet or phone. Other digitized tools offer similar advantages.
The biggest advantage of a digital POS is that it allows you to access price changes on a large scale, implemented instantly.
4. Digitize multiple communication channels
When you digitize multiple communication channels, you, your staff and your customers will benefit from communication that is quick, consistent, clear and brand-centered.
- Instant communication: Messages that affect customer or staff safety, such as public health notifications, can be distributed in real time and across many channels making it possible to take appropriate action immediately.
- Consistent communication: When headquarters communicate important information to store managers via digital means, multiple locations can receive the same message at exactly the same time, making it possible to transmit consistent brand, promotional and price messaging to consumers in different locations. For example, adjusting prices to follow inflation can pose a nightmare, but digital price tags make it possible to change tags quickly as many times as necessary.
- Clear communication: Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) allow stores to indicate prices and price changes clearly and efficiently. Without the delay of replacing prices manually, staff and managers can be assured of a coherent customer experience. It is widely acknowledged that visual communication is more effective than written words, and digital signage makes dynamic displays appealing and memorable.
- Brand-based visuals: The expense of producing printed visuals with brand-specific colours and images is significant. Digital signage allows a brand to communicate effective and attractive visuals that directly portray brand elements, reinforcing loyalty and company image for both employees and consumers.
Make your in-store communications digital with JRTech
Retailers looking to improve their in-store communication can gain a competitive edge with digital technology. By implementing digital pricing solutions and digital signage, and maintaining a corporate intranet, retailers and consumers can benefit from quick, clear and effective messaging.
Contact JRTech to learn about our digital signage and technology solutions. As a leader in digital pricing technology, we can offer you the best equipment for in-store communication in today’s competitive retail environment.