With the recent shift in consumer behaviour brought on by the global pandemic, retail channels are evolving to meet changing customer needs. With health and safety top of mind many are serving their customers in less crowded retail spaces, eliminating line-ups and adjusting their models to reach customers more easily—in communities where they work, live and play— a model the pandemic accelerated due to work from home and hybrid systems. As we gear up for our upcoming Business of Digital Ecommerce: Full Circle Shopping we felt the time was right to sit down with IAB Canada member Purolator to discuss with Adun Abiodun, Manager Retail Marketing on how they are leading the way on all of these fronts.
IAB Canada (IABC): Can you tell us how Purolator is reimagining retail marketing?
Adun Abiodun (AA): At Purolator we have spent a great deal of time strategically thinking how to best reach and serve our customers and have really focused on five key elements:
1. Recalibrating Operations with Retail Marketing at the Core:
We have done some ground-breaking work with our retail operations partnerships, by leveraging non-category, well-known brands as an extension of our retail store footprint for package pick up and drop off. We’ve expanded our brand reach through these strategic partnerships and alliances by launching symbiotic retail marketing efforts for both Purolator and partner brands to enhance brand equity.
For example, in 2020, we launched limited edition packaging, sweepstakes and targeted promotions with our partner, Michaels Canada. We’ve also teamed up with Metrolinx for customers to pick-up and drop off packages while on the go. Our retail marketing team leverages their GO Transit advertising media channel to promote the Purolator network. Also, our Authorized Shipping Agent locations are being refreshed with up-to-date signage interior and exterior collateral to boost brand awareness of our retail services at these business locations.
2. Curating One-Stop Experiences for the Customer:
We have also heavily invested in one-stop shipping solutions to give customers the option to choose when and how they transact with us. It’s all about making services more accessible and putting control back in the hands of the customers. Whether they’re leveraging our retail stores to facilitate easy package returns or visiting one of our Mobile Quick Stop truck pop-up locations (our food-truck look-alike shipping centres), our goal is to give customers an array of options that work and seamlessly fit into their lifestyle.
Some of our retail and partner stores offer 24/7 access to shipping. We also launched parcel lockers (Purolator Quick Stop Pick-Up) and self-serve shipping kiosks (Purolator Quick Stop Kiosk) to make our access points even more convenient for our customers.
3. Advocating for Sustainability
Doing business in a socially responsible way is vital to the success of our business and our company is committed to reducing carbon emissions and congestions in major cities with the launch of our mini-hub Urban Quick Stop.
We’ve reinvented the Tiny Home movement and created a full-service retail centre out of a shipping container along with a hub to house e-bikes and low speed vehicles to replace our typical delivery trucks. With our retail marketing efforts, we have become advocates for greener, more sustainable modes of transportation across the company and more broadly across the industry and Canada.
4. Store Renovations & Refreshes
We have also renovated and refreshed our stores and launched them in their local communities with grand opening events. Using local promotions to drive traffic to the new stores and leveraging radio broadcast and targeted digital efforts we can reach the local audience on relevant platforms where they spend the most of their time.
5. Digital Transformation and Integration
Digital trends show that customers conduct searches and do their research online before coming into our stores and as such, we have refocused our efforts to ensure we are managing our store listings, improving our online directory, search engine integration, mobile app, web and microsite to include these retail expansions. Our goal is to meet customers in the moments that matter by offering them one-of-a-kind online experiences and digital micro-spaces and directing them to relevant stores. Through retail marketing, we have also worked closely with our partners to carry them along this transformational journey by creating a digital web experience across their own sites.
IABC: With all of these major changes how have you been able to stay true to your brand?
AA: As we’ve partnered with great brands, expanded our operations and transformed our network through retail innovations and automations, our goal with retail marketing has been to attract good brand publicity and build buzz around our efforts. We aim to reach new and potential customers through cross-promotions and discover new content marketing synergies for the Purolator brand—ultimately increasing revenue and brand engagement. Retail marketing is helping us tell that story and remains a core channel the brand would leverage into the future.