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3 deadly reasons we haven't bridged digital and brick-and-mortar

3 deadly reasons we haven't bridged digital and brick-and-mortar Mike Amend

Employees still think and act in silos

Despite our world becoming more digital and online every day, companies still work in silos. Brands divvy up digital responsibilities among just a few people while everyone else continues to work in their professional comfort zone. The truth is, digital is everyone's responsibility. There is no more "traditional marketing." It's all digital marketing. The idea that you can hand off digital to a group of niche people who "handle that type of thing" is a huge reason why the retail world has yet to combine brick-and-mortar commerce with digital marketing. In a world where everyone carries around a geo-located technological device in their pockets, you would think brands would have found really cool ways to target consumers in-store. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, and it's in large part because employees are told to stick to their specific roles, which might be outdated.

Testing new tactics and learning from mistakes are not fully encouraged

It will take years before marketers can connect with consumers in-store without making the experience awkward or interruptive. This process will see a few casualties, and no brand wants to be one of them. Because of this, testing new tactics and learning from failure are not popular ideas. The risk of driving consumers away is simply too great, but with great risk eventually comes great reward. The brands that will win the race to connect digitally with customers in-store will be those that have made a gamble and hit the jackpot. If your brand is adamant about being successful, you need to accept a little risk-taking.

Few understand the challenge of bridging the physical and digital worlds like Mike Amend, VP of online for The Home Depot. He speaks with Ashley Bast, VP of marketing for AcuityAds about why the marketing world is stuck on this problem and key steps to solving it.

Current methods are awkward and make the consumer do all the work

When is the last time you scanned a QR code or used an app to scan a barcode for a discount? Currently, marketers are asking consumers to do all the work when it comes to connecting with them digitally in-store. QR codes, tiny URLs, promo codes, and other tactics the industry uses in brick-and-mortar environments still rely too heavily on the consumer's willingness to be a proactive shopper. The truth is that people are busy and don't generally want to do anything extra, especially during an activity as stressful as shopping. If you want to connect with and help shoppers, work backwards from the notion that it's not the customer's job to find value. In-store digital marketing should be as passive and natural as possible. Don't ask the consumer to jump through awkward hoops based on the promise of a small discount.

Mike Amend ends our conversation with AcuityAds' Ashley Bast about why the last few feet between the product and consumer in-store is the battleground in the war to connect with them digitally.

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Article written by senior media producer David Zaleski.

Video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Concept of difficult and risk in business affairs" image via Shutterstock.

Mike Amend joined The Home Depot in 2011 and is VP of the online business. He is responsible for the strategy, operations and customer experiences across all platforms – desktop, tablet, mobile web and apps. He leads many different teams...

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