The Power of Purchase Persuasion: How C-Store Retailers Can Attract Consumers With Real-Time Incentives | MMA Global

The Power of Purchase Persuasion: How C-Store Retailers Can Attract Consumers With Real-Time Incentives

April 16, 2013

By: Alex Romanov, CEO, iSIGN Media

Sometimes, inspiring customers to purchase one extra item, make pricier selections, or impulsively fill their shopping carts with another article at checkout time comes down to a business’s nuts and bolts – literally. 

Take fellow retailer Aubuchon Hardware, a US-based hardware chain, as an example.  Last Spring, in partnership with BrightSign (a California-based digital signage company) Aubuchon conducted a study on their digital signage installation, demonstrating just how real-time incentives produce a "real life" result.  After following customers' purchasing behavior over a one-month trial period, the company concluded that their interactive digital signs helped drastically increase sales: unit sales of interior paint improved by 23%, there was a 45% increase for smoke detectors, and an impressive 178% for air filters. Talk about the power of technology producing concrete return on investment, while improving marketing efforts and impacting customer engagement levels! 

North American C-Stores are also beginning to embrace digital signage adoption.  Mac’s/Couche-Tard, one of the world’s largest convenience store operators, recently measured the results of their real-time messaging solution and how it impacted shoppers' behaviors within stores.  The company's digital signage campaign ran ads for a breath freshener brand, the content which playfully featured a dog with a toothbrush in its mouth, and speech bubble text that read: “How’s your breath?” and “We don’t all have time to brush like Otis.” The implied persuasion: breath fresheners work; use them. The real results?  Sales increased approximately 21%, and the campaign saw over 1,180 consumer impressions per location, per day - which generated over 118,000 impressions of the breath freshener brand.

The underlying message? Technology can go a long way in powering purchases. 

A Sign of the (Digital) Times -& How The Speed of Customer Engagement Affects Walletshare

The benefits of digital signage for convenience stores was a topic that took center stage at October’s The National Association of Convenience Stores show in Las Vegas. The conference discussed how digital signage is an ideal technology to not only drive purchases, but persuade purchases. 

Consider which is more effective: a static sign offering a discount for charcoal and lighter fluid if purchased together, or a 30-second video clip of a group of people on a sun-soaked beach, palm trees swaying, ocean surf crashing and a charcoal grill cooking hamburgers and searing steaks as music plays in the background. 

Digital signage works even better when those engaging (not to mention mouth-watering) images and experiences are paired with timely and relevant offers, delivered via mobile devices to customers' smartphones and tablets via SMS, push notification, email or social media, and thanks to Bluetooth™ and Wi-Fi connectivity. 

When it comes to mobile and tablets, US adoption rates are hovering around 55% and 30% respectively, and 80% of shoppers expect in-store mobile-optimized product information. C-Stores, like other shopping locations, will see more of their 58 billion annual customers using these devices. 

Simultaneously, they will grow more familiar with how digital signage can be more effective and interactive when persuading a purchase, especially if it links and sinks with offers delivers directly to customers' mobile devices. 

Purchase persuasion also comes down to a matter of the speed of customer engagement, and the number of customer metrics gathered. C-Store shoppers are some of the fastest around, with typical in-store experiences lasting 3-4 minutes – 240 seconds (and only 71 seconds to make their choice) with shoppers purchasing a wide range of potential items. From prepared food, beverages, household cleaners/toiletries, car maintenance products, lottery tickets, and even over-the-counter medicine or basic hardware like lightbulbs and extension cords, today’s convenience store has fast become the modern "General Store." 

If advertising offers can be redeemed by consumers just by tapping their mobile screen, rather than physically cutting out a coupon and waiting in line to complete a paper transaction, C-Stores will be sure to see increased revenue and foot traffic. 

This type of real-time advertising, like the mobile messaging solutions iSIGN offers, also means more real-time data to work with, allowing C-store operators to better tailor the customer experience - while still respecting user privacy.  This also means that C-Stores can merge advertising, distribution channels and transactions, to offer customers products and services that promote and seamlessly augment the physical store. 

With these insights as backdrop, it’s surprising then that according to a recent survey, only 33% of all retailers are using technologies like digital signage, and that an additional 20% plan to adopt digital signage “soon.”  

Real-Time Offers=Real-Time Potential

Of course, digital signage network startup costs aren’t cheap and there’s also long term IT maintenance considerations. But since their introduction more than a decade ago, digital signage costs have fallen sharply, with the most recent drops of around 6%. There’s also been an influx of competitors offering low-cost digital signage with wide-ranging screen sizes to meet any budget. Plus, with digital signage's ability to link and synch with consumers' own handheld mobile devices, advertising interactions can be monitored and monetized. 

The bottom line: digital signage combined with real-time offers, delivered in timely and relevant ways to today's tech savvy consumer is the best avenue for C-Store franchises and operators to help maximize ROI, improve the customer’s (albeit fast) in-store experience, and better connect consumers to the brands they seek.