The Year of the (Content) Experience

February 22, 2018

By Chris Shindelbower, SVP, Creative & Content, Triad

Man holding phone showing augmented reality capabilities

With a new year comes change – there’s no denying that. Evolving retail trends, consumer demands, and the latest tools and technologies influence how retailers and brands connect with shoppers in a convenience-driven retail environment. But how exactly? It may be up to each retailer and brand to respond, but suffice it to say in the year ahead, the shopping experience will prove to be all about — well, the experience itself. 

First, let’s talk about experiential advertising. The lines between browsing, shopping, learning and socializing have all but blurred in today’s hyper-connected world. As such, retailers and brands will be challenged this year to integrate more interactive content and solutions, including AR and VR, into their strategies to move shoppers closer to the point of sale. 

Take Ikea, for example, who created an app that brings digital versions of its products into any room thanks to the power of AR. This type of experiential advertising allows for consumers to virtually “try-out” a product in real-time to see how a piece of furniture will look in their home before clicking buy – improving the customer experience and seamlessly connecting the digital and in-store shopping experience.  

Short-form personalized video will also be important to add to your marketing toolkit in 2018. As discussed in a previous blog post, digital media moves shoppers closer to points of influence and purchase. When it comes to digital engagement, video has proven itself to be king. According to Adobe Analytics, eight in 10 millennials look to video when making a purchase decision. This year, we anticipate an uptick in customized video content to educate consumers further and drive even more desired outcomes by delivering essential information in a concise and easy-to-digest way. 

What do you need to consider, you ask? The key to creating engaging and effective short-form video content is to tailor the content so it is personalized and catches the eye of the consumer. With the large amount of data now available to retailers, brands should leverage both macro- and micro-level insights to identify shopper preferences and personalize content from there. 

Another hot trend we expect to see take off this year is “shoppable” content. As we know, there is more to it than the content’s appearance alone when it comes to targeting a customer – it is about creating content that engages, educates and seamlessly guides the shopper along the path to purchase. In order to break through the large amount of advertising content consumers are exposed to per day, we will see brands creating personalized ad content that one can directly interact with. 

This interactive content serves multiple purposes. It provides key product details that you’d traditionally find on a product page, and it gives you easy access the checkout basket – without leaving the page! Instagram has made this concept really easy for brands to adopt. As more and more brands take to social media to connect with their shoppers, look out for augmented reality and virtual reality to play a key role in advancing this type of digital content. Think back to the viral success of Snapchat’s dancing hot dog – these types of 3-D AR graphics can be used as ads that link back to a product or a brand’s website. 

Collectively, these trends will not only influence the different touchpoints along the customer journey, but provide a more enriched customer experience both online and in-store. If you’re looking to drive measurable outcomes and make meaningful connections with your customers in 2018, be sure these trends are something your teams are discussing today in order to stay ahead tomorrow.

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