December 16, 2017

Retail Focus: Product Photography & New Tools for Brick-and-Mortar

Lee Steely

VM Weekly Roundup #thisweekineverything

Welcome to our industry news roundup, where the rubber meets the roadmap.

Social Media & Retail

Social Media Marketing for Brick-and-Mortar

Most brick-and-mortar retailers these days know that some kind of online strategy is important for business, but there are still many out there who don’t realize the impact social media presence and social media marketing can have. This cute, illustrated infographic lists a lot of the benefits for retailers in a handy, accessible format. Remember: 72% of millennial shoppers will check you out online before visiting a store, so it’s important to cultivate your presence there just as you would your storefront.

10 Second Tip: While a broad presence on multiple platforms is great if you have the resources to maintain multiple accounts, quantity doesn’t matter as much as quality. Pay attention to which platforms your customers prefer, and focus your efforts there.

Test Drive: If you do nothing else, make sure you claim a Google My Business account for your company. This gives you more control over how your listing displays in Google search, allowing you to upload photo galleries, operating hours, contact information, and even 360-degree tours embedded in Google search results. If you can go just one step further than that: Facebook is the social media network with the largest reach and best targeting for retail.

Product Photography & Design

Stunning Product Photography

If you’re selling a product online, it’s absolutely imperative to have the best photography possible to showcase that product (high-quality video is also a good bet, but we’ll stick to photography here). To keep your product photography harmonious with your website’s overall layout, look, and feel, you need more than just high quality images on a clear background. Although these things are obviously important, it’s best to have photography done in collaboration with your web design team to ensure a consistent, cohesive vision that users instinctively latch on to.

10 Second Tip: Need a little inspiration? Try the link above for some great examples of product photography and web design working together.

Test Drive: Does your product look best photographed starkly on a plain background? You might want to complement that with minimalist web design (already a popular trend). Do you know your product sells better when it’s presented as part of a certain “lifestyle” niche? In that case, some art direction and thoughtful product staging might be in order.

New Features to Boost Brick-and-Mortar

New Online-to-Offline Features On the Cusp of Holiday Shopping Season

Combining offline and online customer reach strategies has become critical for retail, and Google has unveiled new tools for integration just in time for the holiday shopping boom. Any retailer can now upload product inventory into the Google Merchant Center to have those products automatically display within local inventory search for in-store pickup. This also makes your store more likely to be displayed in voice search queries for your product categories. For retailers using Display Ads through Google, uploading an inventory list with images will now allow you to create a tailored Display Ad for every product a potential customer might search for–eliminating the need for calls to ask if something’s in-stock!

10 Second Tip: Along with the changes that encourage inventory uploading, Google is also expanding the level of detail you’re able to add to Google Shopping ads and adding tools for measuring in-store visits.

Test Drive: Voice search is on the rise, and the majority of customers search online before buying in-store, so the ability to enable a little “window shopping” with real-time inventory could make for a major boost in drawing motivated shoppers.

Bonus Tip:We also enjoyed this key stealth takeaway thrown in at the very end of the linked article: a new video type called “walk with me” is trending now on YouTube. These are simple, usually customer-created videos of one person’s customer walk through a store, with commentary. These are often sought out by motivated consumers debating a store visit, which makes this a ripe potential avenue for retail influencer marketing.