By Jerry Soverinsky
This article is brought to you by Abierto, a NACS member.
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Marketing and advertising failures fall into one of two generally accepted buckets: beautiful concepts that no one sees; and horrible concepts that everyone sees. For convenience store retailers overwhelmed by a growing list of competitors (Amazon, dollar stores, grocery and warehouse, among others)—not to mention a labor shortage—the advice is timely and underscores an urgent industry need: how best to create an engaging in-store experience that builds brand loyalty among consumers.
For Rick Sales, president of engagement solutions provider Abierto Networks, “Brand messaging must be eye-catching as well as consistent. Having great digital content is just half the process. The other half is making sure that it plays at all of the right stores at the right times and in a way that will achieve the desired frequency of exposure.”
Sales’ answer: Big, Bold and Beautiful, an alliteration of value propositions that equals results, according to Sales. “3B content is not simply a playlist of large, pretty pictures,” he says. Rather, it combines five distinct elements:
- Simple: The content must be clear and easy to understand, with messaging as succinct as possible.
- Large: The content must be visible, incorporating high-quality, accurate imagery and pictures.
- Moving: Motion and animation, including video, are most effective.
- Creative: Quality is as important as quantity.
- Precise: Messaging must be on brand for messaging, colors, fonts and imagery.
For convenience store retailers, the advice produces a paradox: The need to differentiate one’s brand is more important than ever, yet internal resources are stretched thin. The answer, Sales said, rests on technology: Retailers can deliver engaging and consistent brand messaging by leveraging smart, integrated tools.
And there’s no time to waste, Sales said.
IMPROVING THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
“There are three main reasons why the on-premise, in-store experience is critical now,” Sales said. “Consumers’ expectation for high-quality digital content is already high, driven by their existing mobile and online experience.” Unless you are able to match that expectation, you risk losing credibility and engagement.
“This is about perception,” he continued. “How well you are using digital content and technology and delivering a robust digital experience directly influences a consumer’s perception of your brand.” He likens this to the foundational need to provide clean bathrooms: “A memorable on-premise digital experience will significantly influence how consumers think of your brand.”
Finally, to maximize your digital campaign, you must be able to cut through the media clutter. “Generating awareness is a contact sport in today’s c-store,” he said. “With thousands of messages assaulting consumers’ senses, you must get them to focus on your limited time offers, loyalty program and your coffee. This is not a sales lift initiative. It is a survival initiative.”
But successful execution is not a matter of becoming a first adopter. Before embarking on any digital commitment, it’s best to view things through the proper lens. “Digital is not simply a cost,” Sales said. “It is an investment in generating sustained sales volume.”
Learn more on how you can integrate the correct technologies in your stores and read about Abierto’s OPEN Platform, a portfolio of modules that retailers can use to build a seamless network of digital touchpoints.
This article is excerpted from “Big, Bold and Beautiful” in the September 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.
Jerry Soverinsky is a freelance writer and NACS Magazine contributing writer. See his work at www.jerrysoverinsky.com.