With the introduction of big box stores, franchises, and global online stores, it is becoming increasingly difficult for merchants to make personal connections with customers. This is a big deal because, without this personal connection, it is next to impossible to create a long lasting, trust filled relationship between seller and purchaser. Surprisingly, some retail outlets, merchants, and corporations have accepted this loss of relationship as a necessary progression in our increasingly digital world. This conclusion is both we erroneous and dangerous.
Without the development of relationships between product and consumer, especially in regard to products like ordinary household items, companies become susceptible to price reduction in an effort to remain competitive. Competition based on price is a no win situation for everyone involved.
Much like most changes that occur in life, the most effective way to thrive in an increasingly digital world is to embrace the new situation. Smart marketers are not blaming new media and new technologies for the loss of personal connection; they are not waiting for this wave of change to run its course; they are instead utilizing these new concepts to further the connection between product and customer. One example of technology helping to initiate and retain a certain relationship would be digital signs at the point of purchase. The best example of this would be a coffee shop or fast food joint with a drive-through window.
A customer will pull up into a drive through at any given location of a fast food chain. She is hungry and plans to purchase a sandwich and soda to tide her over until dinner. As she is waiting in line to shout her order into the crackling speaker box, she is provided with a distraction in the form of a digital display. As she watches a short “commercial” that includes the company’s founder describing their current family meal deal, she realizes that she does not necessarily have to cook tonight and, forgoing the sandwich she instead decides to purchase the family meal deal. A personal connection has just been made and an up-sell has taken place.
Digital signs are just one of the less obvious but incredibly effective mediums that smart retailers, food service companies, and other corporations are utilizing to recreate that personal connection of yesteryear. So, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain that warm fuzzy feeling that is evoked from a consumer’s favourite brand name product, innovative companies are finding surprisingly uncomplicated ways to do just that.