Social media is a way of life for shoppers these days, and encouraging in-store social media interaction is another great way for retailers to get attention, increase engagement and create a welcoming environment.
The design is based on an international trend towards creating ‘Instagrammable’ spaces specifically for social media, featuring interactive sets, backdrops and on-trend areas. One such example is the growing popularity of photographic neon fixtures in stores. The bright, often customisable, accessories, are a grammers’ dream.
Tom Numan, creative director of Auckland based bespoke neon light store Radikal Neon, says the growth of the trend has social media to thank as customers gravitate towards things they can share with their own followings.
“Retailers find that customers will take a photo of their in-store sign and then reshare it on social media,” says Numan. “Tagging the retailer in the process. Particularly if the sign has a relevant or humorous message. And just like that, free organic marketing for the brand.”
There can be many examples of Instagrammable features within stores, the most popular being aesthetically pleasing displays, activations that can be translated to online, and mirrors where customers can photograph themselves.
Taiwanese bubble tea retailer Gong Cha last year launched a new line of locally-designed cafes intended to cater specifically for social media addicts. At Gong Cha Takapuna, customers are able to pose on a swing in a faux grass area in front of a graphic showing one of Gong Cha’s tea fields, creating an illusion that they’re really in the field. Apparently, ‘selfie sets’ of this kind are common throughout Asia.
Numan says products, such as the lights Radikal Neon provides, change the personality of the surrounding environment, adding to the visual impact of the store and increasing the likelihood of social media sharing.
“A perfect example would be Ponsonby Hair on Jervois Rd. Prior to lighting up their windows with unique signs, their shop was a little easy to miss, being on the corner of a busy thoroughfare. Now, it’s a shining beacon for those looking to get their hair done… Not to mention the impact of the artwork itself beyond a marketing aspect.”
That free marketing aspect is a level of engagement a store can not get just on its own. The ability for customers to connect and share with their own followers gives the opportunity for word to mouth advertising directly through our screens by those we trust.
Instagram marketing is the ultimate form of marketing, expresses Numan, who expects to see the trend of Instragrammable features within stores continue to grow.
“The power of marketing to someone in their bed, on the couch or on the go is unreal. Our phone screens are our private digital homes where brands can subtly speak to us, and where in turn we can feel comfortable listening. Brands see this opportunity and want to capitalise on the what is now the new norm for marketing – unparalleled by any platform yet. In the future, we can only expect this form of marketing to grow as the influencers we follow become brand ambassadors and as we use our phones more and more.”