In the current retail climate, brand awareness and innovation go hand-in-hand. In the past, retailers relied on signs at their business, television commercials or print ads to advertise and market their business and products to customers. But with changing shopping habits and innovative technology, there are unique opportunities to use new avenue to attract customers and drive revenue. The key is to use a mix of marketing strategies from in-person to digital tactics.
Retailers should consider the emerging technology of “anywhere ambassadors.” This means you harness the power of virtual and in-person ambassadors. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, T-ROC conceptualized and launched VIBA, which stands for Virtual Interactive Brand Ambassador, as a touchless tool for retailers to improve the customer experience. VIBA is essentially a freestanding totem display that connects retail customers with a virtual, multi-lingual associate and be used by clothing retailers to big-box retailers. Utilizing this type of technology, a knowledgeable sales associate can interact with a customer and answer their questions in real time through a Facetime-like experience. The virtual assistant can also demonstrate a specific product, showcasing how it works and its benefits; and even play videos that explain a product, and ultimately, influence purchase decisions and help sell products.
If used correctly, virtual ambassadors can also be an incredible marketing tool for retailers. The virtual assistant can text or email special offers, coupons and actionable links directly to customers. QR codes are also a popular tool in advertising now. For example, VIBA can also display QR codes, which customers can easily scan from their smartphone. This offers customers the chance to wander a store at their own pace, while engaging with different virtual experts to receive assistance with various products and even create a shopping cart. It’s a way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Outside of virtual sessions, QR codes can also be used on any type of promotional ad from print to television.
Your best ad is your ambassador, whether it’s via a Facetime-like experience or with an in-store sales associate. Another approach is to commission a vetted brand ambassador program, something T-ROC Global saw a need for and created for our retail customers. Brand ambassadors are more than sales associates, who simply point a customer in a direction of an aisle or a line of shelves with different products. They are a walking, talking ad for a brand or a particular product. They’re trained with in-depth product knowledge that can help customers compare and choose the right product for them. Brand ambassadors can assist with product launches, host special events like pop-ups, and even create social media posts and email promotions. The key is using these brand ambassadors to engage customers with friendly service; knowledgeably answer customers’ questions; and showcase the benefits of a particular product or brand. Retailers who employ a brand ambassador program have powerful advocates that embody their DNA. If they’re excited about your products/brand, so will customers.
Bottom line: there’s not just one answer to advertising anymore. Retailers must be willing to try new technology and tools, and similar to an omnichannel business approach, be willing to use many different avenues to reach customers.