The Role of Proximity Marketing in Shaping up New Retail in India
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Over the last 50 years, a constant challenge for companies anywhere has been to keep themselves on top of their game. By constantly adapting new approaches and evolving with market changes, these companies have been doing a significant job at establishing themselves and building their scalability. How? Fortunately for them, back then the Government was a major source of long-term funding in the economy. These companies had ample backing from the government through the availability of umpteen government loans and grants. At that time even the licensing policy of the Government was such that it facilitated the growth of large industrial houses. They would provide assistance and sanction licenses of new enterprises to experienced people having proven their business abilities, rather than giving a chance to budding entrepreneurs with better ideas but fewer resources. These very generous lending’s only made the rich, richer and a number of small and medium companies who could not showcase their mettle would simply fall off the business radar.
Pushing The Scalability
There was no successful endeavour being made to push the scalability of small and medium businesses, until the advent of the internet in early 2000. Internet seemed to have a multiplier effect on the reach of these brands giving small and medium businesses enough backing to put themselves out in the market in front of the consumer. A whole new breed of brands surfaced into the market that used the power of the internet to build their presence, awareness, and scalability. This interactive platform was so participatory that many businesses got a chance to push themselves, enhance their brand awareness and their equity. The attention soon started turning away from government aids towards the internet that was leveraging technology in order to reach out to the customer in the most convenient, efficient and cost-effective way. In spite of not having heavy investments, these companies were able to increase productivity, reduce operational management costs and enter into new markets that were till now inaccessible.
The New Technology
Those in the retail space would know how crucial a role technology has played in allowing retailers to provide product and services with added value to their customers. Not only did they shape the way customers could behave and interact with brands, but retailers knew precisely every shopping detail on the consumer which could be modified to work in their favor. Telemarketing moved to website marketing which further moved to mobile marketing, which has now shifted base to proximity marketing. Either way, each one of them is constantly paving the way for a more profitable and productive approach that could help retailers make a presence and reach out to more customers without actually having heavy investment backing.
The Modern Customers
It is important to understand that a customer today has come a long way from its initial stage. Owing to the western influence, the advent of e-commerce and access to a hyper-digital ecosystem, our modern consumer is on the lookout for constant connectivity and contextual relevance. They are all distinct personalities who need a sense of freedom from those generic messaging and ads. Therefore you will find a majority of them glued to their mobiles, tablets, and laptops. They value those brands who value their individuality and will make sure that whatever is being advertised it extremely personalized. They have higher expectation, in addition to being better informed they are empowered and are seeking an immersive customer experience all around. With so many options at their disposal, their focus is no longer restricted to consumption; they are on a quest to purchase something unique, experience something more customized and lastly all set to disrupt shopping experiences.
It is extremely challenging for retailers and brands to connect with such customers through all these phases in real time. It is not possible unless they don’t understand the concept of new retail. Very soon one-click secured billing, wallets for easy payment and many such convenient services won’t be enough to get people to visit a mall. They will soon become a competitive disadvantage. New ways are needed to discover all the experiences as they Shop, Dine, Entertain and Browse around. Something that could enhance their end to end shopping experience in ways they can’t imagine; something that could build value proposition across digital and physical channels. Something that is only possible through proximity marketing.
Proximity marketing positively exploits activities that consumers are currently involved with, while giving retailers a new channel that reaches out directly to them both in-store & in the vicinity. It provides a win-win strategy where everyone involved in the ecosystem benefits from by making it a digitally-empowered society.
Retailers can focus immensely on proximity marketing in order to attract and retain shoppers. They can easily reach out to customers let’s say all those within the range of 200 meters and lure them in the form of text, images or videos to make a stop at the mall. Consumers within the specified range will receive a relevant, contextual and personalized information or offers through their Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. If you think physical signage, display boards and banners could do the same trick of getting people to a mall; think again. They will not create an interactive touch point with them. As a customer, I will be more receptive towards a mall that is providing me a highly personalized interactive customer experience which is seamless and combines correct context of location and time.
Now, imagine a customer inside a mall gazing at some item on a particular brands display window. While there, the customer suddenly receives a notification that gives them a discount offer or lucrative voucher that piques their interest and makes them want to take a look inside the store. Proximity marketing has thus, been successful for the brand. Now once inside there are tools which will further help the brand in collecting data from insights like the shoppers wish lists, purchase history, ordering status, income level, brand preference, buying behaviour and more. This information can be optimized to boost communications and conversions by the brand. They can even analyze footfall and configure in-store promotional activities to boost customer loyalty basis proximity marketing.
Smartphones and Business
As India’s adoption rate for smart-phone rises, the amount of people who can have access to a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled phone is at least around $220 million. This, this one strategy is reaching out to millions in a segmented way. Consumers are getting a holistic in-store shopping experience that is relevant, targeted, unique and engaging. On the spot, personalized offers, coupons, and rewards will not only inspire instant customer action but add synergy to create a competitive advantage over others.
An interesting advantage of using proximity marketing in boosting new retail is that results of proximity marketing can be immediately measured. Brands can actually alter their messaging depending on previous day’s results. They can formulate strategies that lead to maximum impact and the best in class customer experience. Campaigns will become more innovative and messaging is likely to become more accurate.
As we progress towards a digital India, it becomes all the more important for us to be in sync with a strategy that enhances and simplifies the complete retail business while addressing the needs of the retail ecosystem. The sooner we begin leveraging this concept the sooner small and medium brands will be able to enrich the shopping experience, communicate better with their customers and deliver better result that will help them scale themselves up.