In today’s day and age, customer journeys have transformed beyond recognition in light of technological advancements in the retail space. As user preferences and expectations evolve, brands must unify their online and offline strategies to create a strong brand footprint. From presenting a consistent brand experience across all channels to enabling online and offline purchasing options, brands must ensure that customers have access to information about the product and the actual product within minutes. That said, here are some valuable tips for brands that can help them cement their cross-medium footprint:
Establish a Meaningful Relationship with Retailers
Maintaining positive relationships with retailers is as vital to brands as marketing their products to end consumers. Why? Because when retailers win, brands win. Retailers are the last mile between brands and end-consumers which puts retailers in a unique position to offer them an experience that is in line with your brand’s ideals. Thus, brands must go the extra mile to understand the goals and objectives of retailers as well. By integrating trust, communication, and respect into the relationship, both brands and retailers will be able to reach their overarching goals.
As mentioned above, customer journeys are now completely different than they were just a few years ago. Today’s consumer shopping behavior is fractured. They may see a product on offline store shelves and wish to buy it online once they get home. On the flip side, they may find a suitable product online and go to the physical store to check it out themselves before buying it. In such a scenario, the best bet for a brand is to be omnipresent and exist wherever its customers exist. Aligning marketing and sales strategies with consumer expectations, and revisiting these parameters periodically, can help brands hit that sweet spot where they have top-of-mind recall and effortless conversion.
Consistent Promotions and Visibility
Today, consumers want complete honesty, accurate information, and a unique, meaningful connection with their brands. This calls for a careful look at online and offline promotions and visibility – be it through TV ads, print ads, email promotions, social media marketing, or influencer marketing. Consistency in messaging and appearance can help brands achieve lasting consumer trust. Unified messaging across the board will also pique consumer intrigue and lead to a broader consumer base.
Market Visits are Important
When operating online, brands can get rich insights into consumer behavior and preferences thanks to data collection and analysis. In the offline world, acquiring such critical consumer information can only be made possible through on-ground intelligence gained through market visits. Regular visits to the actual retail stores will help brands understand how consumers interact with their brand. During these visits, they can also enrich the consumer experience by taking feedback from consumers and integrating it into your strategy. Finally, such visits will help the brand take stock of their segmentation and targeting, so they can make adjustments based on the end-users who are opting for their products.
Online and Offline are the Same!
While this may seem like an outrageous statement – it’s true to quite an extent.
There are more similarities than differences in online and offline purchases. The consumer is the same, the questions, queries, and objectives remain the same. We can get a lot of insight into how to optimize an online purchase by just closely studying offline purchases. Be it product information, cost comparisons, or just studying packaging, the objectives of the consumer remain similar at least for the first purchase. On repeats again, placement, promos and offers, and the range that is visible remain common across offline and online.
In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.
Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”
He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”
Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”
Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”
Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."
Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.
He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”
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