Informational content about the marketing, restaurant and retail industries. Newsworthy stories and ideas. Knowledgeable inputs from our team. Informative, interesting, and insightful – the Visualogistix blog.

Computer science

Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Thanks to Moore’s Law, we can expect the abilities of our technology to double about every two years. In your personal world this may seem like a double-edged sword. Yes, the new camera on the iPhone 6S is amazing. But how long until Apple releases the iPhone 7, complete with its updated bells and whistles?

It’s hard to keep up in the professional world as well. These updates call for advanced employees who understand how to use this new technology. To maximize the effectiveness of this technology, the employee must understand it completely. Unfortunately, Moore’s Law applies to these skilled employees as well. They are becoming harder and harder to find as technology continues to grow.

Laptop

Recently, Amazon opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle, Washington. This store, Amazon Books, got many people thinking. Why would the world’s biggest retailer open a brick-and-mortar store? Were online sales declining? Were consumers getting sick of paying for shipping and handling? Did this have anything to do with their failed Prime Day promotion?

Amazon’s online-only presence helped them gain competitive advantage against other retailers, such as Wal-Mart. Regardless, customers’ desires to have physical interaction with products before purchasing is undeniable. Retail trends statistics are supporting this claim. According to Retail Next, the current sales value of US brick-and-mortar retailers is $3.9 trillion. That’s about 87% of the $4.5 trillion US retail industry. Despite the popularity of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores generate about 94% of retail sales. It only makes sense that Amazon would dip their toes into omnichannel retail.

Thank you sign

With Thanksgiving just around the corner (this Thursday, to be exact), it’s time to think about all the things you are thankful for. Your family, friends, co-workers, and your health and wellness are sure to be at the top of your list. But have you thought about how you’re thankful for your customers? How can you show your gratitude towards them?

Thankfully (are you seeing the theme of this blog post, yet?), giving thanks to your customers isn’t a huge feat. It won’t take hours of market research, persona building, and brainstorming complicated strategies to show them how much you care.

Digital signage

Look around. Although you may not realize it, the world is filled with stimuli. And even though the brain isn't technically capable of multi-tasking, it's forced to attempt day-in and day-out. With all this advertising and marketing noise, it is more difficult (and more important) than ever for brands to stand out.

It's already tough enough to be heard on the outside, which is why brands spend so much money on their marketing and advertising budgets. But what happens when customers enter your store or restaurant? Do you think you've hooked them just because they've stepped through your doors? Unfortunately, the answer is no. These customers have to be dazzled and wowed when they enter your establishment. Your signage has to draw their attention to your hottest product. The product that makes you the most money and gives them the most satisfaction.

Light bulb made of icons

In today’s competitive business world attracting and retaining local customers is more important than ever. These local customers have the ability to become amazing advocates for your brand. They can post positive messages about your brand to their social media profiles, write positive reviews about your brand on websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, and spread positive word of mouth messages to their family and friends near and far. All of these are invaluable considering that 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising, instead trusting recommendations from friends and users online (Formstack).

Holiday infographic

The holidays are rapidly approaching and it’s time to start marketing your seasonal promotional items and sales to your customers. But what are the most effective ways to do this? How do you engage your customers and encourage them to purchase your gifts to place under their Christmas trees?

Teenage customer

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as "a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those other sellers."

While that definition may be written in "typical marketer speak", it is actually quite easy to understand. A brand differentiates itself from other brands by promoting itself in a unique, specialized, and consistent way. A brand must be all these things to stand out from the crowd, attract and retain loyal customers, and thus be successful.

A few decades ago, we all watched as the small, locally owned shops on Main Street closed and the big box retailers opened on the outskirts of town. As consumers, we supported the change, finding ourselves (with a little guilt) strolling the aisles aimlessly, picking up lower cost goods, and tolerating homogenized service.

These big-box stores seemed to fit perfectly with our often busy and hectic lifestyles. They offered a one-stop shop where we could easily pick up groceries, toiletries, and entertainment, all in one short trip on the way home from the office.

As we inch closer towards the holiday season, marketers everywhere are eagerly working on perfecting their holiday marketing campaigns. Restaurant marketers are figuring out the best ways to promote their seasonal food and beverages and retail marketers are brainstorming best practices for broadcasting their sales and holiday specials to their customers.

Let's face it: creating and implementing these campaigns is stressful for the marketers in our lives. Not only are they the brains behind the development of these campaigns, but they also have to worry about how their franchisees will order new marketing materials and how they will be customized for various franchise locations.

And that's before they can even worry about their campaign's measured success.

The solution to this problem is simple: marketing asset management.

Wall graphics

In today's competitive retail and restaurant environments standing out is everything. Clever marketers and operators are increasingly looking for ways to transform their physical locations, whether it be by incorporating creative and trendy furniture and decorations into their design strategy or creating a soundtrack of popular music that plays throughout the space.

Another way for these creative types to transform their physical retail or restaurant space is through the use of wall graphics. Wall graphics will help ensure a strong brand presence and help to capture customers' attention and imagination.

Restaurants are increasingly looking for ways to become more innovative, creative, and diverse. With all the competition in this marketplace, it may be hard to stand out to your customers. However, an easy way to do this is by implementing creative, engaging, and changeable signage and menu boards in your restaurants.

The first thing that may come to mind when the words "engaging" and "changeable" are brought up is digital signage. Although this method of information delivery is highly buzzed about and has been proven to have a high ROI, it can be initially very expensive and may not be a feasible choice for many franchises. A more affordable way to achieve the creativity, engagement, and changeability that digital signage lovers crave is through the use of visual magnetics.

Visual magnetics are exactly what they sound like. Large (or small) magnetics that are printed with your promotional materials or menu boards directly onto the magnetic material. They can be used for full menu boards, promotional material throughout the restaurant, or even only on the pricing section of your current menu boards, making it an especially cost-effective visual for franchises with multiple price points in multiple locations.

Although online shopping is becoming more and more popular, customers still enjoy the experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store and physically interacting with the items they wish to purchase. Retail brands must observe and keep up with signage trends to remain relevant and exciting to in-store shoppers. Download the full infographic to learn more about the importance to signage in retail stores.

Your customers will judge your brand before even tasting your food based on the look and feel of your store environment and the ease of navigating the ordering process. Combining creative use of print and smart use of the latest digital technology can not only enhance customer's enjoyment of your restaurant, but help boost your bottom line. Download the full infographic now to see how you can add signage to the menu.

It's important to put your message and brand directly in the hands - and in front of the eyes - of your important customers. An easy and cost-effective way to achieve this goal is through cross media marketing. Download the full infographic to see how you can effectively engage with cross media marketing.

Today's technology allows brand messaging to connect with customers in a more focused, relevant way. Whether a brand is changing messaging based on day part, season, inventory availability or audience awareness facial recognition technology, digital signage is the solution for targeted marketing needs. Download the full infographic to see how you and your brand can take advantage of today's digital signage technology.

Print is the most cost effective option for longer term brand messaging. Simple steps, such as localizing images and messaging, can make a brand more relevant to local customers, boosting sales and profits and encouraging brand loyalty. Download the full infographic to discover how the power of print can help you and your business.

Woman

The loss of relevance for brick and mortar stores may seem like a self-fulfilling prophecy for some.

As in-store customer counts decrease due to online shopping, banking, and ordering, retailers are beginning to opt towards self-serve POS systems to reduce labor costs. Regardless of this improved technology, customers still need a reason to come in. And that reason is usually human interaction, assistance, and positive customer service experiences.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzzword as of late, and rightfully so. According to Cisco, the number of “things” currently connected to the Internet has surpassed the number of people on Earth. And that number just keeps growing.

So, what exactly are these “things” and how are they connected?

A “thing” is any object that can be assigned an IP address and can transfer data over a network. The data can be transferred via a sensor installed in or on the object or via Wi-Fi connectivity. Examples include smart phone apps that allow users to heat up their showers without leaving their beds, microchips implanted in cattle to let farmers know when they are pregnant or sick, or lift and learn technology implemented in retail stores.

According to Stephanie Miller, VP, member relations, and chief listening officer, of the Direct Marketing Association, 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately and 40% of consumers said they tried a new business after receiving direct mail. Based on those statistics, why isn’t everyone using direct mail? Part of it is probably because of the incorrect “print is dead” assumption. Part of it is probably because e-mail can be easier to design and deliver in today’s technology-driven world. Another part (the most significant part) may be because creating a vibrant and creative direct mail piece takes time — something a lot of marketers don’t have in today’s day and age. Here are three tips guaranteed to make your direct mail pieces pop. Use this list as a reference for your next direct mail campaign to save yourself a little bit of time and get rid of those pesky creative headaches:

The digital signage revolution is here. It may seem as if every time you enter a restaurant a new digital menu board is displayed or every time you walk through the doors of a retail store a new video wall has popped up. The question on everyone’s minds is, will digital signage technology replace print signage?

Thankfully, the answer is no. In fact, when partnered together, these two visual mediums can create innovative, unique, and engaging marketing materials. Something neither print nor digital could accomplish on their own.