The future of advertising is changing as much as the future of retail. In addition to becoming infinitely more measurable, the message is evolving. Moving away from the line-tapping zingers of the 90’s and 00’s, brands are striving to protect their image with “safer” commercials that rely heavily on artificial intelligence for a targeted audience that spans mobile, wearable and other online devices.
Does this mean advertising is everywhere in the future?
Yes. It’s everywhere – and multiplied. But, not always.
As brands continue to invest advertising dollars in mobile and consumer engagement, competition for attention intensifies. Think about all the noise that already exists when you go online, then increase it exponentially and put it everywhere people are plugged in . . . even at the top of a mountain via the smart watch.
Of course, the flip side of this means that when advertising the store of the future, stores must EARN a customer’s time and attention.
How does a store earn attention?
Your advertising must be:
AND in the right place at the right time.
Does that mean the store of the future must advertise on social media?
The future of social advertising is bright. But it doesn’t have to be exclusively online. Store owners who harness a little chutzpah and employ a few old school advertising methods may help their brick-and-mortar garnish more attention than “The ‘Book.”
What are these affordable ideas?
Teach a Class
You’re an expert in home furnishings and décor – which means that every Joanna wannabe wants to know what you know. Why not host a monthly gathering for furniture placement, small space storage or color trends you saw at market? It’s a great way to get people in your store, talking about your expertise and building a trusted relationship with you and your brand.
Time to unleash your creative canons and get some attention in your neighborhood. Think sidewalk chalk announcements, a room-scene in the window of an abandoned store on your street or a street corner living room where weary walkers can rest tired feet. This is an opportunity to create a powerful impression with thoughtful/outrageous/funny/shocking displays – that do no permanent damage to structure, persons, pets or society, please.
Flyers and Handbills
More than a neon sheet of paper left on a windshield, the right message in the right way can create an interesting buzz. And the best part? You can do it on the cheap. Get clever and quippy, offer style tips, throw out some free advice and deliver a discount when someone brings your flyer back into the store.
You already have the email addresses of people who love your company and/or need your products and services. Why aren’t you using them? Email campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with customers and get the word out about sales, specials and promotions.
If you’re a home furnishings retailer who plays nice with a restaurant down the street, why not help each other score a little extra business? You can set up a cozy display in the lobby, they can deliver delicious nibbles to your shoppers. You can tell people in need of refreshment to walk down the way after shopping, they can tell people where to walk off their dinner in the awesome shop a few steps away. It takes a village. So why not be a good neighbor and work up cross promotion deals with other businesses in your area?
While advertising the store of the future will lean heavily on digital, there are plenty of other options available to owners who don’t want to (or aren’t ready to) invest a ton in targeting. Simply put, it pays to get creative and find unique or inspired ways to draw new customers into your business – whether you do it online, offline, now or sometime in 2025. The store of the future is now – are you ready to advertise?