5 In-Store Marketing Examples from Top Businesses

Online shopping has already transformed the retail experience, both for customers and corporations alike.

With the ability to window-shop 24/7 and make purchases from the comfort of their own home, customers are now more likely than ever to opt for an online shopping experience over an in-store one.

So, how do the big names use in-store marketing to keep their customers coming back to their brick-and-mortar stores?

It’s simple: the shopping experience. The ‘shopping experience’ is a phrase you’re likely to hear often in the coming decades, and it’s what all the big brands are currently trying to monopolize.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at five big-brand names, and how they’ve used original in-store marketing techniques to create a unique, immersive in-store shopping experience for their customers. Let’s dive in!

& Other Stories’ ‘Smart’ Vending Machines

Since the early 2000s, the US has seen a steady decline in the number of vending machines operating in public places. Once a staple in every supermarket, cinema, and any public place frequented by teenagers, the COVID-19 spelled the death-knell for this relic of the pre-digital age.

Now, the vending machine is being redesigned to offer the same convenience and rapidity, but re-purposed for the digital era. In 2020, luxury clothing brand ‘& Other Stories’ launched their very own ‘smart’ vending machines in their flagship store in Paris (as seen in the featured image of this article).

While the technology remains loyal to the original concept of the vending machine, this ‘smart’ vending machine comes with a digital interface that shoppers can use to explore new products and try out new beauty offerings from the H&M-owned retailer.

With an interactive interface, shoppers can now spend time exploring new products, learning about the brand, and even make a purchase without having to approach the cash register. While currently exclusive to their Paris flagship store, the brand plans to expand their smart vending machines to further stores in the future.

Kroger’s digital price tags

In 2018, US supermarket chain Kroger decided to experiment with digital price tags for all their in-store products.

Nicknamed “Kroger Edge,” this technology allowed customers to explore the supermarket shelves digitally, with all price tags displayed digitally, and all food labels also displaying up-to-date nutritional information.

Not only does this offer an immersive and interactive experience for customers, this technology could also help businesses adapt to price changes with minimal cost. In just a few digital taps, a company would be able to change pricing information or update nutritional content.

Plus, digital price tags also offer a sustainability edge. According to Microsoft, who worked with Kroger to develop the technology, the digital interface is run on fully renewable energy, making it easier for the company to meet its sustainability pledges.

Great for customers, and cost-effective for companies, digital pricing is sure to become a permanent fixture in retail stores in the years to come.

Zara AR Marketing Campaign

With so much speculation about how VR and AR is set to transform the internet and the social media experience, there’s not much discussion on how virtual and augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize the world of in-store retail.

In 2018, global clothing chain Zara experimented with AR by launching an ‘augmented reality’ window display and marketing initiative across a small number of their stores. Using the power of augmented reality, this campaign allowed retailers to explore futuristic technology via their very own smartphones.

Customers were directed to stand in a particular area of the store, and hold up their phone to a motion sensor. This would launch a video stream on the customer’s phone, where they’d be able to see footage of models wearing clothing items from the retailer’s latest collection.

This could help customers see how certain clothing items fit on various body types, and how certain colors fared against certain hair and skin tones. While the campaign run was limited, Zara’s AR marketing initiative gives us a glimpse of how virtual reality technologies may merge with the retail experience in the future.

Audi’s virtual reality

Zara isn’t the only big brand now experimenting with AR and VR technology. One of the first retailers to explore the possibilities of virtual reality, Audi has now integrated a permanent VR element for customers buying an Audi car in one of their showrooms.

In 2017, the brand launched their virtual reality shopping experience, allowing customers to design and customize their own Audi car using VR technology. While the VR experience doesn’t allow customers to test-drive their cars, they’re able to go inside the car and custom-design the smallest possible elements, while being able to view the interior of the car from any perspective, or time of day.

By offering an in-store VR dimension, Audi claims an edge - both over its competitors and online competition - when it comes to that all-important shopping experience.

Nike’s House of Innovation 000

Nike has consistently been at the forefront of digital trends and evolving technology over the years, and the brand took this to the next level in 2018 when they created their flagship New York store.

Named the ‘Nike House of Innovation 000’, the store uses digital technology to transform and simplify the shopping experience for in-store customers. The store comes complete with numerous customization studios, where shoppers can personalize Nike products according to their wishes.

It’s also designed for convenience, with digital checkout points where shoppers can instantly make purchases without the need for a retail assistant.

Described as the “biggest, boldest, most immersive shopping experience” by the brand itself, Nike’s flagship store offers us a glimpse of how digital technology is set to transform the brick-and-mortar experience in the coming decades.