Bob Garfield

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

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Retailers know that digital is the future, but aside from e-commerce, its place in stores is still unknown. Here's why we've yet to overcome this challenge.

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this isn't the case, and it's in large part because employees are told to stick to their specific roles, which might be outdated.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.