Integrating Digital Marketing Into The Real World

someone using their mobile device to scan a qr code on a table
Integrating Digital Marketing Into The Real World

What Tools Are Being Used To Make Digital Marketing Tangible?

Why Is Digital Marketing Necessary Offline?

We know that this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense however, online and offline channels are becoming increasingly more integrated especially in recent years with COVID-19 forcing companies to innovate the way in which they do business. One fundamental difference between online sales and marketing channels versus offline is the ability to continue selling to customers during the lockdown. Where a restaurant couldn’t have sit in guests, they could use an online payment gateway to sell takeaway food.

With the multiple fluctuations in lockdowns and businesses having to adhere to various rules and COVID app guidelines, we have seen an acute rise in the way companies are using tangible methods to push customers through online channels. Some very forward-thinking companies have got this down to an art form too, making the trials and tribulations of opening back up post-lockdown much much easier.

From managing and mitigating large ques of people waiting to be seated, businesses have used QR codes scattered along the wall where customers que to speed up the process of registering their location before they get to the front. This has helped dramatically speed up the queuing process for many bars, restaurants and large shops.

QR codes are really just scratching the surface of integrating the tangible world with the digital. With this technology being so prominent through the pandemic, we’re sure there will be a surge in development in the coming years. So what can we expect in the future for digital advertising in the ‘real world’.

someone scanning a qr code on their mobile device

The Tech World Is Your Oyster

Throughout recent history we have seen sci-fi pop culture inspire real world inventions for decades. From Star Trek inspiring the flip phone to more recently Artificial intelligence (AI) becoming something many of us already use daily to make our lives easier.

In terms of tangible technology that is bringing digital marketing into the real world, it is likely that heads up displays (HUDs) will become part of our everyday lives and possibly sooner than expected. Vehicles such as the VW ID.3 already come with a HUD that can show you directions right through to the nearest fast food restaurant right on your windscreen! This is just one example of brands being able to utilize tangible elements in their digital advertising campaigns.

an alexa voice activated device on a table next to a plant

Virtual assistants much like J.A.R.V.I.S from the Marvel comics are right round the corner. As a fully autonomous AI system, Siri & Alexa are likely the 2 closest real world versions currently. Both of which can show you highly accurate search results for local shops, cafes and restaurants as well as directions right to their doors. All of which make the process extremely easy for a customer to find your business!

Although we might be a few years away from mastering more high tech and fantasy-esque technology for businesses to utilise for more efficient customer conversions, there are some very real ways that exist today to help your company integrate online and offline channels.

Real Tech Pioneering Digital Marketing Offline

QR codes - The Phoenix From The Ashes In 2021

Seemingly quiet and seldom used technology prior to 2020, QR codes made a seriously big comeback throughout 2020 and into 2021. Used widely by the UK government and the NHS to quickly and easily allow people to access their track & trace app as well as using them in adverts to easily allow people to find information on local areas fast.

These little codes are non-invasive and so widely used now that customers of any age recognise them instantly as a scannable picture with their smartphones. Having been around since the mid 1990’s these codes were used a lot during the mid 2010’s but ultimately the tech in smartphones wasn’t quite good enough to make them worth a company’s time. However with most phones being able to scan straight from the camera now, QR codes are easily the fastest & most efficient way to get customers to a specific digital location in mere seconds.

an example qr code

NFC tags, The Boy Wonder Of Modern Offline Digital Marketing

These innovative tags are where QR codes were in 2015 currently. Virtually brand new tech but likely to be an even faster method of customers finding online channels. NFC tags work by simply tapping your smart device onto a tag and directing you straight to a designated landing page. So how does this help a company convert a customer?

NFC tags are very cheap to make and can be used to send people anywhere online. A great example of using offline marketing tools to acquire new customers online would be Lexus/ Toyota. They placed an advert in a popular magazine and embedded an NFC tag linking to a landing page based on their latest car. Seamlessly displayed on a printed image of a mobile, the advert remained simple in order to move inquisitive people online to find out more.

phone using an nfc tag on a train station terminal to buy tickets

Bus stop adverts often use NFC tags in creative ways. Being location based, fast food giants KFC used these tags to give people instant directions to their nearest store. Imagery of their most popular food, combined with map locations straight to your phone.

Bluetooth Beacons, IBeacons & Proximity Advertising

Imagine walking past a shop or advert of a restaurant and suddenly your smartphone lights up with an exclusive coupon or offer for that company. Well that is something companies are now integrating into their digital advertising campaigns.

Bluetooth beacons are a truly ingenious way to use digital marketing to convert foot traffic outside of your shop or cafe. A beautifully designed website landing page linked to an IBeacon could see a drastic increase in the amount of physical visitors to your business.

Walmart actually used this technology in light bulbs above specific aisles! When you passed the clothing aisle, your phone would suddenly alert you to an offer on your favourite clothing. Love it or hate it, this will be something included in more online & offline marketing campaigns.

image showing how an i beacon works. A physical product being purchased on a mobile device

Augmented Reality & Image Recognition

A huge amount of cost to large clothing companies is the number of returns they have to deal with daily. As ASOS, BooHoo and many other brands are online-only e-commerce businesses, they are starting to develop technology to try and minimize the number of returns.

In terms of augmented reality (AR) companies are starting to integrate ‘virtual try on’ technology so you can flip your camera around and digitally try on anything from sunglasses to shoes and even whole outfits. This is all to try and motivate customers to virtually try before you buy.

Image recognition software is a great tool that is being used again by fashion giants in order for customers to find the same or similar products. Simply taking a picture of a top and uploading it to the IR search bar will show you results related to that item! Google has also developed their ‘Google Lens’ app which will very accurately give you shopping options for almost anything you scan.

How Do These Offline Technologies Integrate With Web Design?

All of these pieces of new and innovative tech might seem too difficult or daunting for small to medium sized businesses to integrate into their marketing however the real advantage to these pieces of tech is that they are very easy to set up!

QR codes can be generated very easily then it’s just a matter of creating a stylish and engaging landing page to send people to. Whether that is for an offer or even a food & drink ordering system at your bar or restaurant to make taking orders faster and easier than ever!

In terms of improving SEO, using this technology can be very beneficial to increase direct traffic to your website in almost no time at all. Setting up tracking analytics on individual landing pages can show you the most scanned codes & therefore the most scanned locations. Customers who are genuinely interested in your advert or brand will be able to browse your products and services faster than ever meaning a much faster customer journey to conversion. For example, NFC tags linked straight to product pages.

Paving the Way For The Future High Street

Many countries have started to adopt this tech to create ‘digital stores’ and no we don’t mean an e-commerce website. We’re talking about a physical shop with only sample products in, you try them on, scan the product and they turn up next day delivery at your home. Companies no longer need to have money in store and it means they can stock much more of their product lines as they don’t need to store anything. Shops will become more ‘showrooms’.

image showing an interactive shop on a mobile device

Contact Us For More Information On Website Design & Digital Advertising

Having landing pages and a professionally designed website will drastically improve your chances of converting customers with offline integrated technology. Call our expert team of website designers and developers for more information on e-commerce websites and web design.

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