Store Vs Software: The Difference Between Physical and Digital Advertising Tactics

The shopping experience is rapidly evolving, and both physical and digital storefronts are racing to keep up. Advertising tactics in both fields differ immensely, but they also share a lot of overlap. Countless aspects are incorporated into product merchandising, regardless of which field they take place in. In the process, advertisers incorporate some fascinating considerations of human psychology in their work. Although many traditional users of physical advertising are intimidated by the rise of digital media, the benefits of physical advertising are still immensely prominent and still expanding. Below are some key elements well worth considering in this perpetually developing world.

Instant Gratification

Physical storefronts may often require a journey to access, but once you’re there – everything is instantly available to you. Conversely, digital storefronts don’t require you to leave home – but it can be a much hollower experience overall, as it doesn’t engage your entire sensory suite. As a result, both appeal to different aspects of instant gratification. For example, giving free samples at a public place allows audiences to immediately engage with the product. If the same sample were to be issued from a digital space, one would need to apply for a sample online, then wait several days for it to arrive. However, digital advertising also exhibits a major strength in this scenario, by allowing the product to be accessible to a wider range of people. This simple example highlights the importance of identifying and appealing to the relevant strengths of each advertising style and your product’s ultimate needs.

In Your Face

In the age of smart-devices, everything is accessible, ads are everywhere, with their constant call-to-action. It’s much easier to hook people in when phones are a necessity and practically inescapable. In contrast, because physical advertising has been around for longer, it can be more intricately woven into daily life. This offers less blatant and often more immersive advertising tactics. These are often utilised to build relationship-based advertising, which has remarkable benefits. This style of advertising is so effective, that many digital ambassadors are now choosing to take their engagements offline. These lead to more ‘authentic’ connections, in an era when many people feel overwhelmed by consumerism.

The Eye of the Beholder

Visual appeal is massive, as it ties most blatantly into both physical and digital storefronts. When compared to the other senses, the sense of sight almost always comes out on top. In physical stores, a sense of space and depth offer a unique type of immersion. Digital advertising hasn’t quite caught up just yet, however, virtual reality is making its move on this field, and in the near future, this has room to develop significantly.

Sticky Sounds

Audio is the other key area where digital advertising can really assert itself. Being so prominent, audio jingles slotted into ads can be the ultimate earworm. This can result in Involuntary Music Imagery, where a brief, yet-familiar musical sound spontaneously pops into one’s mind throughout the day. Therefore, advertisers almost plant a self-sprouting advertisement into their audience’s brains, growing more effective with each repetition. Likewise, especially the rise of retailtainment, sound can easily be incorporated into brick-and-mortar stores. But physical advertising also has the advantage of being able to combine this with your other senses…

Sensory Delights

Touch in the digital space is essentially limited to the vibration on your devices. Scent is not yet within reach, nor is taste. However, if you walk into a physical store that sells candles, doughnuts, or plush blankets you are immediately enticed into sensory engagement. It’s only a matter of time before the technology is able to access our full ranges of senses. If you’re advertising in the physical space, it’s important to capitalise on the unique benefits offered to you, leaving your mark before new advancements place them in your customer’s laps.

The Takeaway

In a realm that’s overripe with competition, there is still room for both physical and digital advertising to co-exist. Both have blatant strengths, and both are still expanding and evolving. The best way to thrive is to rally the best of both in your arsenal and reap twice the rewards.

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