Online Communication Programs Positively Affecting Offline Business

Kevin Flight

This past Mother’s Day I purchased my mom a Kindle Fire. It was a typical trip to store. I walked through the doors, went to the tablet section, spoke with a sales associate, picked out the device and then broke out my iPhone to hunt down the online coupon I found earlier in the day. Does the smartphone savings scramble sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone and brick & mortar retailers are taking note to benefit from the trend.

Brands are going online to increase offline sales? It may seem like an oxymoron, but recent studies indicate that smartphones are helping to drive in-store sales. A March 2014 Gallup poll found that mobile technology has had a positive impact on in-person retail shopping with 22 percent of consumers stating mobile had increased their retail store trips.


No surprise, the group that is helping to lead the charge with in-store smartphone usage is Millennials. The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) recently surveyed 1,500 US Millennials to examine the generation’s grocery shopping habits. The study found that 41 percent of Millennials said they used smartphones to find coupons compared to 13 percent of all shoppers. Those are powerful numbers considering this generation is entering its prime spending years.

More interestingly for marketers is the underlying theme of why Millennials are using their smartphones in-stores – a lack of brand loyalty. Unlike older generations, the study found that only 5 percent of Millennials would put off a purchase if the desired brand was not available. The generation is also value-driven, stating that they find store brands more than adequate compared to national brands. They look for value and convenience with smartphones bridging the gap to both.

What does this mean for marketing and communications pros? To reach the one-hundred million Americans born in the Millennial generation your brand needs a well-rounded communication plan. A strong social media strategy is critical as the PLMA study indicated that 90 percent of Millennials are on social networks and 72 percent shared that their primary source for news is either their computer or mobile phone.

As mobile technology continues to evolve and in-store smartphone usage becomes more widespread, how is your brand adjusting its communications strategy to reflect these trends and reach this critical audience?



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