in-store advertising

How to Win With in-Store Advertising



On a mission to help all businesses profit from passes.
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Winning with in-store advertising can be easy if you combine the power of online and offline, unify your image across all marketing channels, and use the most relevant, accessible technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences. 

You can consider your in-store advertising campaign successful if you see more returning customers. One of the easier ways to achieve this is by converting one-time customers to loyal members (or fans) using services such as PassKit. 

PassKit, our customer loyalty software, helps you create a digital connection between you and your customers, boosting your in-store advertising efforts and rewarding your fans for their repeated purchases. This digital connection – or pass – sits in Apple Wallet and Google Pay, the apps that your customers trust and use already, so you don’t have to develop or worry about a new app for your business. 

If you want to learn how PassKit works, you can sign up and start your 45-day free trial.

In this article, you will learn more about the types of in-store advertising, why and how to use it, how your business benefits, how it works, and see examples of in-store advertising done right.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is in-store advertising?

In-store advertising includes a range of marketing efforts you can make at your brick-and-mortar store or other retail location to engage customers ready to buy your products or use your services.

Also called in-store marketing, it covers everything from window and curbside displays to customer loyalty apps that use push notifications to remind customers of special offers while at your store.

It’s one of the rare advertising tactics that work well with the people who buy only during sale time. According to Slickdeals, 64% of respondents said discounts led them to impulse buying. If you use in-store advertising wisely, you’ll easily upsell discount-chasing shoppers on a product that’s 50% off.

Of course, impulse buying is not the only goal you want to achieve with in-store advertising. There are plenty of other reasons for it.

Let’s take a look at them.

Why use in-store advertising?

In-store advertising is multi-purposed, and you can use it to achieve many objectives simultaneously. For example, you can:

  • Inform your spend-ready customers about special offers
  • Promote new services and products
  • Cross-sell or up-sell products
  • Gather customer behavior data  
  • Sign up customers for your loyalty program 
  • Promote referral programs 

Statistics have shown us that in 2021, physical stores outpaced e-commerce by 4.3% in growth. Since COVID-19 restrictions are much looser now, customers visit retail locations regularly. It is the perfect time to start with in-store advertising and increase your profits.

How does in-store advertising work?

You’ve probably already used some of the traditional in-store advertising methods such as store displays, posters, flyers, and promo stands to promote products or services. They all work in the same fashion – they provide one-way communication.

For instance, a curbside display can inform customers of the pandemic-related policies you implement in your store or attract passersby’s attention by announcing a 50% discount on your popular products. There is no way to be 100% sure how the buyer will react – it might ignore your message completely.

If you want to immediately grab your customers’ attention and engage them with your business, you should use innovative in-store advertising techniques.

Here are some examples:

  • Send a reminder on their birthday to redeem their free product 
  • Send a notification two days before their coupons expire
  • Notify shoppers near your location of a limited-time offer 
  • Sign up to your digital loyalty program when the customer logs on to your free Wi-Fi
  • Use iBeacons to trigger highly targeted iPhone lock screen notifications when near specific products
  • Use digital passes to reward customers for their repeat purchases

This way, you can focus on the mobile devices consumers always carry with them and ensure your message reaches out to customers. Services such as PassKit make it easy to connect with your customers’ smartphones without them having to install an app or share loads of information. 

What are different types of in-store advertising?

There are many different in-store advertising tactics, but here are the most common you can use: 

  1. Digital passes increase customer retention because shoppers use them to access super-personalized offers on their smartphones while at your store.
  2. Digital product displays can be used to promote an offer, window displays to draw customers into your store, and display tables to highlight products that customers can buy in pairs. You can use product displays to place a QR code linked to your desired destination, such as your website, social media, or digital loyalty program sign-up page.
  3. Interactive screens give shoppers another way to browse and even order your products. Retail stores use them to show items in stock and even provide the option to order out-of-stock items.
  4. WiFi advertising helps you collect customer data as they need to leave their personal information to gain access to your network. When customers connect, you can notify them about active promotions, special deals, or other sales content.

What are the benefits of in-store advertising?

Whether you operate a boutique clothing store, a department store, or a local chain of shoe stores, in-store advertising can help you reach a large audience at a low cost. Here are some other benefits. 

In-store advertising:

  • Encourages impulsive purchase behaviors
  • Improves customer data collection 
  • Allows customers to make purchase decisions faster
  • Increases brand awareness 
  • Creates a seamless shopping experience at every touchpoint

Now, let’s examine each benefit in detail.

In-store advertising and impulse purchases

Let’s go back to impulse purchases for a minute. Research by A.T. Kearney shows that in-person shopping has a 15% greater chance of causing impulsive purchases than online shopping.

For example, you can effectively cross-sell using product displays or digital signs next to discounted items that point at a related product that’s also x% off. Discount shoppers will not resist buying when they learn there’s another 50%-off item in your store. A cleverly created in-store advertising campaign will take them straight to your POS terminal.

Nowadays, you don’t even need to rely on customers looking up at product displays or digital signage. You can get your customers’ attention even when they look down at their smartphones.  Once your customer has your digital loyalty card, membership card or coupon in their Apple Wallet, the phone can trigger lock screen messages to people who pass by your store location. This is often enough to trigger that impulse buy subtly.  

How it works

location-based messages PassKit
  1. Customers walk by your store or are already in it
  2. They receive a location-based message
  3. The lock screen notification tells them what discounts are active at your store
  4. They tap or swipe to go straight to the digital pass without unlocking their phone or finding the mobile wallet app
  5. They use their loyalty card or coupon to buy a product on sale
  6. They finalize the contactless shopping by placing the backside of their smartphone on a POS terminal

You can set up a 45-day free account and see how it works first-hand before you start using our service.

In-store advertising helps with customer data collection 

With the increasing use of mobile devices and the convenience of free Wi-Fi, customers are always on the hunt for the best deals. It is why many brands are now turning to Wi-Fi marketing to capture the attention of their target audience. 

Free Wi-Fi usually comes with terms and conditions for the shoppers. They need to add personal information on the sign-up page and allow you to track their browsing behavior to have free access to the internet. You can use this opportunity to collect customer data and send them personalized offers, deals, or discounts while at your store to motivate them to purchase.

Wi-Fi heatmap data can tell you a lot about what parts of your store draw the most shoppers’ attention or whether there are dead-end areas you need to address. You can use this knowledge to fine-tune your store layout, promote products in high-traffic areas or use digital signs to navigate customers to areas with products on sale.

When a customer leaves your store, you are at a disadvantage regarding Wi-Fi marketing because all you have is their email address. It is why many businesses deliver digital coupons when someone initially logs in to the in-store Wi-Fi.  

Customers can use these coupons immediately or save them to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay app for later use. It is a powerful way to incentivize repeat business without relying on aggressive email re-targeting.  

Final purchase decisions mostly happen in-store

People still make most purchasing decisions at the physical stores. It makes in-store advertising that final nudge you can make to guide your customers to complete your desired actions.

A great example of this is the combination of iBeacon, digital passes, and NFC payment. Once customers enter your store, they can receive a notification that the product they’re standing next to is at a 20% discount for loyalty program members. They need to prepare their digital loyalty card and hold their smartphone next to an NFC to finish their purchase. 

There are some challenges to successfully deploying and managing beacon hardware in your store, but it’s worth considering. Each beacon can act as a digital assistant, providing helpful information or offers for every product directly to a customer’s phone lock screen as they browse your store.

People at your store are ready to buy. Sometimes, they don’t want to engage with a salesperson, and they look at their phone for inspiration. They trust their phone more than they trust a salesperson. So you’ve got a smaller mountain to climb when advertising your product or service and can measure success in real-time. It also helps you tweak accordingly for better results!

In-store advertising increases brand awareness in all aspects

In-store advertising helps you remind customers of a sale or a new product they saw on your social media. It will teach the browsing consumers that there’s a product that fits their desires and give you a chance to build your brand culture further.

Browsing customers contribute to a lot of foot traffic your store receives. They aren’t sure about what they want to buy at your store, making them more receptive to suggestions. A strategically-placed poster or screen with the QR code to your digital pass that allows them to buy your products at a discount might do the trick. 

Suppose you started building your brand culture online by promoting the ethos of your business through IG posts, blogs, Youtube videos, and other means of online marketing. 

In that case, in-store advertising is the perfect opportunity to prove it in real life. In-store advertising will let you double down on the storytelling you’ve done online and show everyone that you walk the talk.

If your brand has a strong sustainability narrative, you should push for a plastic-free and paper-free solution that PassKit digital loyalty cards provide. Use the opportunity to educate your store visitors about that aspect of your business.

In-store promotions as part of a wider omnichannel marketing strategy

Since consumer shopping behavior has more and more touchpoints with each passing year, omnichannel marketing is fast becoming the norm for every business.

What does it mean, you wonder? It’s a marketing strategy that aims to provide consumers with the smoothest possible shopping experience across all online and offline channels.

You can combine in-store advertising with your other marketing efforts, like a newsletter campaign. If a subscriber clicked on a link to your new product and spent time reading its reviews on your website, you can send them a lock screen notification next time they’re at your store to inform them they can get that product for an additional 10% off.

How PassKit boosts your in-store advertising efforts

PassKit is a software as a service you can use to enhance your digital loyalty program. It helps you switch from paper or plastic membership and loyalty cards or coupons to more sustainable digital ones. These digital assets integrate with Apple Wallet and Google Pay, so you don’t have to develop your app. It is a valuable opportunity for in-store advertising since customers show increased interest in digital passes due to the growing trust in mobile payment apps.  

The pandemic has spurred the widespread use of contactless payment through mobile wallets, especially among Gen Z and millennials. 

  • eMarketer predicts there will be 6.5 million new mobile wallet users every year until 2025. 
  • Research by Finaria shows that the value of this industry will reach a stunning $3.5 trillion by 2023.

That’s a hype train worth jumping on. On top of all the external benefits, PassKit is super-easy to use since you can create your digital passes within minutes, and customers can start reaping the rewards as soon as tomorrow. 

One way to distribute your digital passes and make them available to your shoppers is by using a QR code on your promotional material. For example, you can include them in your product displays, posters, interactive screens, flyers, receipts and near cash registers. 

To start using them, customers need to scan the QR code at your store, install digital passes in their mobile wallets and use them to claim rewards, coupons, and more. On the other hand, you will get insights into your customers’ needs and get an overview of the overall success of your digital pass distribution.

Now that you know why it’s worth being constantly present on your customers’ smartphones, let’s look at other ways PassKit can help.

1. PassKit helps you increase customer retention

Once you make digital passes with PassKit and customers sign up for your loyalty program, you will become a lasting presence in their lives. That’s because a digital loyalty card, unlike its physical counterpart, can remind the customers of its existence. By reminding customers to use their personalized offers, they will take full advantage of your loyalty program. They will come back to spend more to earn more rewards.

2. PassKit increases impulsive purchases

Once you motivate a shopper to go to your store and redeem rewards, you’ve set the stage for your friendly staff and in-store displays to upsell and cross-sell. Because even if a customer is there only to redeem their coupon, they are in a spending mindset.

3. PassKit helps you with digital transformation

Digital transformation has become one of the most critical topics in the tech world. The shift from a “digital-first” world to a “digital everywhere” world is accelerating at an alarming rate. Businesses that don’t plan for this change will be left behind. 

Companies need to transform their digital experiences to keep customers coming back for more to stay competitive. The good news? 

Transformation doesn’t need to be scary, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune, thanks to PassKit. You can calculate your monthly costs and quickly scale your business with simple and flexible pricing options.

Heathrow and PassKit success story 

Heathrow in-store advertising

In 2017, with the help of PassKit, Heathrow embraced the concept of the digital loyalty program. Its success story is also a lesson on using free Wi-Fi for your in-store marketing efforts. Heathrow allowed free Wi-Fi usage only to the travelers that installed its digital loyalty passes on their smartphones.

It was a brilliant idea. People are busy at airports, and they need things to run smoothly. If they have to tap a few times on their phone to install a loyalty pass and get free Wi-Fi, they’ll do it. Once the campaign was at its peak, Heathrow recorded 1245 additional loyalty pass installs per day on average.

With so many people having Heathrow’s digital passes in their Apple Wallets, the famous London airport took the in-store marketing to another level and leveraged the power of iBeacons to send highly personalized notifications to travelers’ iPhones and increased sales in the retail stores on its premises.

You can read the full story in our case study.

Are you ready to win with in-store advertising?

Your in-store advertising journey came to an end. You’ve learned this marketing method boosts impulsive purchases, helps with cross-selling and upselling, does wonders for your brand image, and most importantly – turns casual shoppers into loyal customers.

PassKit is essential for your in-store advertising because it lets you use the existing and growing trust in mobile wallets to become a long-lasting presence in your shoppers’ lives.

There are many ways to use PassKit – from simple ones like digital punch cards to the more complex ones where you combine digital loyalty cards with iBeacons to push hyper-contextual messages.

Use the power of technology to improve your business results and start testing PassKit today. No credit card is required.

In-store advertising FAQ

Which one is better: digital or traditional in-store advertising?

The answer is both. You shouldn’t omit any of the two. A lock screen notification will remind a passerby that they’ve got a voucher to redeem at your store, and once they take their eyes off their phone, they’ll see your store display with a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for your new product.

Here’s another example of both advertising methods working together – there’s an event for your new product at your store. You had a fantastic radio and social media campaign, so many of your customers showed up. You offer the product at a 10% discount to all shoppers that scan the QR code to receive your digital loyalty card. Both methods help each other, resulting in more sales and more loyalty pass installations.

What is the best type of in-store advertising?

Depending on the kind of retail store you run, a specific in-store advertising type will work best for you. Sometimes an interactive display will do wonders for the number of purchases you can get through the day, and it’s an excellent tool for cross-selling and upselling. If you run a convenience store, you’ll quickly increase sales of new products with shelf-talkers.

Some types of in-store advertising, like digital loyalty cards, work equally well for most retailers. No business would say no to a loyal customer base. Digital loyalty and membership cards are a great way to achieve this. By having your digital pass in their Apple Wallet or Google Pay, they’ll never lose it or forget it because you can push lock screen notifications whenever you want.

How can I improve my in-store advertising?

You can improve your in-store advertising by setting up a digital loyalty program and leveraging the growing trust in mobile payment apps like Apple Wallet and Google Pay. It is a great way to reward and inform your customers about discounts, promotions and new products while at your store.

Another improvement would be ensuring your online and offline presence offers a streamlined shopping experience for your customers. You should have the same messaging and visuals at both online and physical stores. If you’ve built a specific narrative online, find a way to make it obvious offline.

How effective is in-store advertising?

When done right, in-store advertising is very effective. It’s mainly because the audience for in-store marketing is already in the mood to spend money, which is not the case with most other advertising methods. 

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