BrainTrust Query: What do consumers want from in-store media?
By Adrian Weidmann, Principal, Adrian Weidmann Consulting
A hot topic in today’s retail media landscape is trust and acceptance. As new and evolving retail media are appearing, the industry is looking to better understand how they will affect consumer trust in-store. To answer that question, let’s look at some history:
- The radio was invented in 1895 but it took 27 years before a business model emerged from this newfangled technology.
- Vladimir Zworkin followed in 1927 with the invention of the iconoscope – the basis for today’s television. It wasn’t until 1941, 14 years later, that the newly formed FCC authorized commercial television.
- ARPANET was commissioned in 1969 and became the birth of the internet. On August 9, 1995, Netscape had its IPO and the dotcom era began. It wasn’t until after the bubble burst in the late 1990s, that traditional rules of commerce emerged out of this technology boom.
- Networking technology spawned the introduction of ‘digital media networks’ in the 1990s and, not unlike the media technologies before it, this too was a tactical solution in desperate search of a meaningful business strategy. Technologists introduced digital media networks with a ‘field of dreams’ attitude blindly (and wrongfully) assuming that in-store advertising would pay for their displays and/or widgets.
At their onset, one common denominator that proponents of these technologies failed to recognize was lack of trust by their targeted audience. In every case, years passed between the introduction of the technology and when trust was established with the consumer so that commerce could begin.
The eroding efficacy of traditional media channels can largely be attributed to the fact that they have lost the trust of the consumer. If the consumer doesn’t trust the medium, they will certainly not trust, or be receptive to, the message. The consumer is taking control through media that have earned their trust.
Google is a terrific example. Google provides services that internet users find useful and helpful. It is only after these services are accepted in a trusted online experience that Google can reach out and develop commerce on the consumer’s terms. Banking ATMs, self-service airline ticketing and check-in have similarly gained the trust of their users and, hence, their acceptance.
To date, many in-store displays have been implemented as location-based store television networks or websites. Often, they are being utilized much like traditional TV – rooted in capturing people’s attention while they shop with little thought to the context of the shopping experience. It is only a matter of time until we see text scrolling diagonally across a screen, rationalized no doubt by claims of “engaging the customer.” These implementations are out-of-context “visual speed bumps.” If the consumer isn’t responding to your message in the comfort of their home, why would they respond favorably when you’re following them into the store like stalking paparazzi? Trust is gained by having a positive bidirectional relationship, not a one-way dialogue.
Discussion Questions: What will it take to nurture consumer trust in in-store media? How must in-store media differ in its approach, compared to TV and
In today’s media cacophony, what the consumer wants is helpful and enlightening filtration. Surprise and delight them and you’ll begin to gain their trust!
Digital media networks are inherently multi-channel (in both marketing and technical terms) but must first be architected in environmental context and implemented to help
the consumer (and retail associates). Upon that foundation, trust is built one brick, click and clip at a time. Having established this ecosystem, the consumer will then allow
commerce on their terms. – Adrian Weidmann