Is Your Store Making the Most out of the Digital World?

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Inspired is the only nationally recognised award that acknowledges the hard work that goes into every aspect of the High Street. There are many people out there who claim the High Street is in decline, but for us it’s where the magic happens. However, in this ever evolving, tech savvy world you can not completely rely on businesses booming just by opening shop. Whether you’re a big brand or a small independent store, having a presence online has become almost a necessity for retailers- people like technology! Social media allows interaction and speedy scrolls through content and products, websites provide online shopping for those who may prefer/depend on this. Of course, the whole purpose of using the digital world is to build on your brick and mortar business, not to replace it.

Digital launches are a great example of how technology can benefit your store. Whether it be a new collection or new brand altogether, it can be daunting to release an idea out into the big, scary world, what if people tear your hard work apart? We’ve put together a few tips and examples from brands that have taken on the challenge to produce and release compelling campaigns that are creative and striking. So, what do you need to remember for your digital launch?


Timing is Everything

There would be nothing worse than planning the perfect campaign just for it to become lost amongst cat videos or overshadowed by a competitor’s similar campaign. Consider what it is you are launching and when would be an ideal time to strike – are you introducing a new range for a holiday or event? If so, you will need to launch well in advance to allow consumers the time to catch wind of your products and purchase them. Are you creating a campaign to promote gender neutral clothing? This could be released leading up to a LGBT Awareness Day to celebrate equality and highlight the causes your company may support. There are endless special/unnecessary dates and events that we celebrate throughout the year (don’t forget fresh breath day on 6th August guys…), so get organised and plan to make these dates work to your launch’s advantage.


The Visuals

Smartphones and photo editing apps have made it incredibly easy to become a budding photographer without breaking the bank. These devices are great for your daily social media posts, but if you’re hoping for a spectacular launch that stops people during their passive morning phone scroll, then it is worth investing in a professional. Whether it’s photos of your newest product or a video of your refurbished store, appealing aesthetics will draw a viewer in. Focus on the best qualities of what you are offering and be unique with your campaign, people aren’t going to spread the word about the same old same old.

Burberry launched activity across all its digital platforms to promote its personalised campaign ‘Scarf Bar’. This included a short film on Youtube to celebrate Burberry’s Scottish heritage, which featured personalised digital ads that are responsive towards consumers that view the video.

The ads will display scarves appropriate to the weather and the time depending on where in the world they are viewed, revealing a new design each time the ad is viewed by a specific consumer.
— Alison Millington, Marketing Week

Burberry’s interesting and inventive campaign, resulted in ending the year with an 11% growth in revenue and a retail sales growth of 14%, as well as other success across the brand.

Burberry’s ‘Scarf Bar’

H&M launched a Christmas holiday video to promote their winter collection in 2016, directed by Oscar nominee, Wes Anderson. As a director, Anderson has a unique cinematic style that is apparent throughout his established work, therefore many viewers were immediately compelled to see what H&M had to offer, from the video’s celebrity cast to the stunning cinematography.

"Come Together" - a H&M Holiday Short Film

Despite all this visual excellence, the video is not a product heavy story and there is no focus on specific products from the collection. Instead, it is more of a beautiful short film, telling a story of Christmas while subtly featuring H&M… but the company’s video got results. Viewers immediately took to social media to praise H&M, and overall the video was well received, illustrating how having a different approach to the product/offer that you are launching can have successful results.

Integrate Social Media

Firstly, you will need to build your social media content and following, otherwise your launch may go unnoticed. Once this is looking good, you’re ready to:

Encourage response
Go viral
Break the internet

Of course, it’s your choice as to which platform you will use for your digital launch, just make sure to interlink everything and adapt content where necessary. It’s worth remembering that not everyone uses every form of social media, so if you’re aiming to reach a wider audience, you will need a strong launch across several platforms. Try to frequently read and interact with any comments on your launch, it’s always great to receive feedback and answer any viewer’s queries.


Brand it

This doesn’t have to be just the standard logo and slogan, although having a visual recurring sign will of course help users familiarise themselves with what you are launching. Start a hashtag that consumers can use to create a buzz around your campaign, then embed it within every post involving the product / offer you are introducing. Hashtags are beneficial as they allow content with a specific theme to be grouped together and found without difficulty, while encouraging user engagement. Keep it simple and easy to remember.

Image source: Ad Espresso

Image source: Ad Espresso

Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign is a great example of a successful hashtag, and how the brand connected with their consumers on a personal level.

The idea behind the hashtag—cokes with names and titles on them—drove massive numbers of sales, and generated a ton of user-generated content on social media. People were snapping Instagram shots of bottles with their friends’ names
— Ana Gotter, AdEspresso

The campaign’s slogan “Share a coke” proved to be effective as it not only encouraged consumers to physically share Coke, but to ‘share’ their images and experiences on social media. The creative control was put into the hands of the consumers, without the feeling of promoting the brand.

Build Anticipation

There are risks of being overlooked if you keep your launch a secret until announcing all aspects simultaneously. By creating hype around it, audiences are anticipating something new and spectacular, therefore they will be browsing through your website and visiting your stores, eager for your new offer.  To build the suspense, you could do any of the following:

  • Start a Countdown- Put a countdown clock on your website or upload an image daily onto social media, counting down to launch. This not only acts as a reminder for your customers, but also raises the excitement about what you have to offer.

  • Temporary Coverage- By changing your website’s cover page or your social media’s cover photo on the lead up to launch, you could present some form of ‘teaser’ for your viewers, offering them a sneak peek of what’s to come. This could be a video of close-up shots of your new range, or possibly images used as clues to guess what you’re launching. 

  • Create a Competition- People love freebies. By producing a fun competition such as, answering a question, tagging a friend in a social media post or having consumers emailing why they would deserve this new product, it encourages interaction from shoppers, and the buzz of winning will always produce positive vibes!

  • Limited Amount- By only releasing a relatively small quantity of your new product, it creates a sense of urgency and encourages shoppers to purchase swiftly.  In 2017, Primark released a Beauty and the Beast range, quickly selling out of their popular Chip mugs – in some stores, shoppers were even fighting over the last few mugs! Of course, we’re not saying to recreate The Hunger Games over your products, but having this demand allows you to use your launch to monitor the success of the product and produce more of what the people want. Primark even comically released socks that stated, “I wanted a Chip mug but all I got were these socks #Chipgate”, again this proved to be another popular product while creating a trending hashtag, generating unintended publicity for the store. 


Launches can produce a mixture of reactions and outcomes. Stay true to what your brand represents, but don’t be afraid to experiment with new innovative concepts that could possibly result in your best digital activity yet! We have 3 award categories that celebrate the digital world within retail! If you would like to enter your store for the chance to win an Inspired Award, then click here!

Fran Page