In the retail industry, the primary objectives remain the same for the majority of brands: offer an inviting assortment of goods or services paired with a compelling pricing strategy to your target demographic to push goods out the door and keep customers coming back for more.

But in today’s day and age — where digital commerce has armed consumers with countless mechanisms to comparatively shop — retailers are forced to fight for market share and customer loyalty by offering the best deals.

'Every Day' Sale Risks

Though it’s true that consumers jump at promotions, a monetization strategy predicated on discounting your wares (and, ultimately, eroding your margins) not only discounts the perception of your brand, but also trains your customer to always expect a sale.

We’ve seen it happen already. Brands have discounted so much and so often that their customers simply won’t pay full price anymore.

In the quest for the immediate almighty dollar, they’ve mortgaged their future.

Though the drive for revenue and share has led to promotion-driven marketing, it isn’t sustainable. Promotions might seem like an immediate win, but they are not viable growth tools.

Leverage Customer Intent

With today’s tech-savvy consumer that has every brand at their fingertips, discounting strategies must consider the long-term impact on brand loyalty and customer expectations.

As retailers must constantly look for new strategies to drive sales, loyalty and traffic, leveraging intent based tactics can help to maximize success in the digital era. 

When it comes to in-store promotions, change started a few years ago with the ability to provide promotions based on in-store, real-time shopper location. This beacon-driven change was fairly short lived.

We’ve all read stories of a promotion for a shop that was actually next door being pushed to consumer — an issue that comes down to proximity versus location. Not only that, but even if the promo was for the right store, it was purely based on location and not intent — that is, a customer's interests, preferences, etc.

These geo-fenced promotions were quick wins that proved not to pay off in the long term.

Many customers considered them an intrusion of privacy. And even those who did engage seldom developed any long-term loyalty to the brand.

Deliver Tailored Information

Today, in-store digital experiences are more sophisticated and thoughtful. For example, technology providers are getting close to being able to correlate a visit to Facebook and an ad click on that social platform to personalized in-store offers and conversions.

This is an order of magnitude better than beacon-based promotions were capable of just a few years ago because the user is getting tailored information based on existing intent.

Tomorrow, this opportunity will look like in-store product search and intent-based recommendations.

That means showing consumers products they are looking for, and recommending items or promotions that are relevant to their existing basket and previous interests.

'Timely, Relevant, Helpful'

For consumers, offers based on intent data, unlike retargeted offers or cart abandonment promotions, are welcomed and do not seem like an intrusion in their privacy as they are timely, relevant and helpful.

By providing insight into something they’re actively searching they’ve opened the door for the mall or retailer to curate their experience to their needs, which ultimately results in higher brand satisfaction and loyalty. 

As indoor technology gets more sophisticated, malls and retailers will have more tools at their disposal to bridge the physical and digital customer experiences.

This means they are empowered to build long term personalized, relevant experiences for their customers versus focusing on the next conversion.

By understanding their shopper’s intent and personalizing the shopper’s journey, the retailer can help curate the experience for each user to ensure that each person gets what he or she wants, at the right time, for the best price possible.

This will provide its shoppers with confidence in their purchasers, and in turn, the shopper will reward the retailer with their loyalty.  

Title image  "Sale" (CC BY 2.0) by Kevin Dooley