Retailers want to use technology to manage in-store marketing, but very few do, according to a recent survey by Colateral and Taylor Corp. The survey is based on interviews with 225 leaders at multi-location retailers in the U.S. and Canada. One of the chief findings was that 97% of retailers want to use technology to manage in-store marketing, but only 14% use tools more comprehensive than email and spreadsheets.
Marketing Daily recently spoke with Colateral’s CEO, Dorian Spackman, about the findings. Below are some excerpts from the conversation, edited for clarity and length.
Marketing Daily: Ninety-seven percent is a lot. Why do retailers want to use technology to manage in-store marketing, but most do not?
Dorian Spackman: Marketing leaders have been tackling new challenges every quarter, from supply chain disruption to reduced customer spending -- putting out fires when they emerge. And, even though physical retail makes up close to 80% of retail purchases, in-store marketing is rarely considered "on-fire" despite the significant, expensive errors that often occur.
However, realizing the need for change always comes before the change itself. We are surely at a turning point now, where investment in improving in-store marketing cannot be ignored any longer.
Marketing Daily: What kind of investment is needed at retail? Can you offer an example?
Spackman: In our experience, retailers will save more by adopting technology than the technology itself typically costs. That's before you consider that technology can facilitate advanced campaign targeting and localized material production that can drive revenues. The biggest investment is implementing changes throughout the organization. It's not just in the marketing departments, but within the stores themselves, too.
Marketing Daily: What's wrong with relying on emails, spreadsheets or docs? What else should marketers use to manage their in-store marketing materials?
Spackman: There's an extraordinary amount of data required to deliver materials to the right locations, and retailers invest significantly to map store layouts. However, most retailers exceed Excel's data limits, and once data is collated, if indeed it even is, the data starts to corrupt, and this leads to poor campaigns and also massive needless costs on production (print and manufacturing) along with huge time wasted on the shop floor.
Marketing Daily: What are some recent changes in shopper behavior?
Spackman: For retailers, it is about differentiation and value, cross-sell and upsell in this channel. It's also about how channels work together.
Physical locations are as, if not more, important than ever. In the UK, monthly supermarket visits have reduced from 18 per person to 16, but basket values have increased. There's more focus
than ever on own brand; discounts and promotions, and signage is intrinsic to driving consumer behavior.
Marketing Daily: What will it take to connect the shop floor with corporate headquarters? Is anyone doing this right now?
Spackman: Solutions exist on the market but are usually an extension of "deskless workforce" software — in essence, "Smart MS Teams"-type solutions. Of course, these have a valuable place in helping control and upskill workers in a gig economy, but they're not focused on marketing and ensuring that marketing teams have control, insight and optimized tools for planning, executing and fine-tuning their marketing in alignment with other omnichannel marketing tools.