• Jacobs Communications

Store checks in the digital world

We have all done store checks. We might stroll around the entire store a bit, commenting on what’s interesting and what catches our eye. We then walk towards the aisle that is the home location for our products. Now we really start to hone in on the details. We take note of what is on display – the products, the presentation, the pricing, any messaging. We then scan the shelf. We look for the positioning and space of our brands. If our brand isn’t in a visually obvious place, we wonder what it would take to improve its presence. Then we might notice a couple of out-of-stocks. Whether it’s real or only a visual out-of-stock, we know that the Guest doesn’t care – if you can’t easily find it, they can’t easily find it.

More and more, we are finding that a digital store check is very similar to a physical store check. And just as we wouldn’t quickly dismiss a problem in a physical store check by saying “oh well, that just happens”, we shouldn’t do the same during a digital store check. The digital health of your brand is critically important, and here are some common themes to think about as you build your plans:

Some Guests are “Browsing” and some Guests are “Shopping”

​In a physical store, the browsers need to something in the aisle to catch their eye and bring them in. In a digital store, the category navigation cues need to be clear and compelling enough to get a Guest in the area that gives them a chance to buy your product.

If a Guest is actively shopping for a product (on a “mission”), physical store needs to have logical adjacencies, clear and simple signage, and an intuitive shelf presentation. In a digital world, logical “adjacencies” still matter, while relevant search terms are absolutely critical to finding your product. Additionally, getting to your brand is one thing, but it needs to be incredibly easy to then find the right flavor, size, color of the product that you want.

The Basics Matter the Most

In both environments, getting the basics right is job one. Is the product in stock? Is the price right? And in a digital world, can it be fulfilled in the way that I want it? If these basic requirements aren’t in place, absolutely nothing else matters.

The Presentation Needs to be Engaging

In a physical store, a Guest can pick up the product, hold it, smell it, and feel it. Obviously, in a digital world this is not possible. What IS possible in a digital store is to include assets that provide enough context, excitement, and information, to let the Guest know if this is truly something they should buy. Key bullet points describing the features and benefits of the product. Long copy that explains in greater depth what this product is all about. Images that show the product from multiple sides (mirroring the physical ability to “pick up and hold” the product). And finally, add video that either excites the Guest about what the product can do, or informs the Guest on how the product is used.

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