Digital media is emerging in the retail world as the preferred marketing medium. Digital media includes any or all text, graphics, sound and video using computer technology. As retailers embrace the new trends, how will Commercial Real Estate follow suit?
As technology evolves, the path to purchase for consumers is transitioning as well. An abundance of information is now readily available to influence the purchasing decision of consumers from reviews to prices at every major retailer. Last year, 89.9 million American consumers accessed retail content on their smart devices in July1. Retailers are now capitalizing on technology to draw these consumers into their brick-and-mortar stores with Social-Local-Mobile or SoLoMo. Customers searching online through a mobile device are finding relevant local information for retailers in searches and receiving location-based offers on a retailer’s mobile app. The cohesive uses of social, mobile and local approaches are the savvy retailer’s strategy to close the gap between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar. In the great debate between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, retailers are finding it’s not a black or white approach; it’s in the grey area with mobile. Especially when smartphones are expected to represent 19% of total stores sales by 2016, amounting to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales2.
The increase use of digital media also brings the increase in big data. The analyzation of the data now allows marketers to personalize consumer interests to increase sale conversions from digital media. The ability for a local brick and mortar store to be able to know a customer’s preferences when they walk through the door is now an actuality with mobile apps. Also, online retailers can suggest products to their customers based on previous selections or popular items. The amount of big data collected from digital media can be daunting; many national retailers are just now getting their hands wrapped around sorting through all the data collected and utilizing the data to increase the consumer experience.
Commercial Real Estate is beginning to follow the lead of retailers implementing digital media campaigns. Early adapters to the social media are now seeing the benefits for networking, lead generation and self/company branding. The rise of social media has proven people have opinions and comments and they want to share them. CRE start-ups like Popularize and Fundrise are capatilizing on the social aspect of digital media. Popularize is a website where landlords or developers can post a project, then the public can post what retail they would like to see in the new development. Local residents with an invested interest in their community can fund local CRE projects in their area through the site Fundrise. The gain from the communities input and funding for CRE projects can only further increase the success of the retail in local communities.