Trends Driving In-store Experience

Earlier this year, our CEO Rebecca Horton chatted with foot traffic analytics company Dor about key trends driving the future of in-store experience. We focused especially on applications of trends that had a strong operational foundation, to ensure they could be easily applied and scaled, rather than looked at as ‘the cool exciting thing that’s only possible in Manhattan.’

Without further ado, here are our three favorite trends:

Social Storytelling

One of the biggest plays for retailers today lies in the realm of image and video-based storytelling using digital platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Our take on how to do this well is what we like to call “social storytelling,” which refers to a social media strategy that includes specific guidelines for daily posting of market-level content to engage audiences deeply and authentically in a story-driven, human to human way. Photofy, our partners for our latest pop-up in Raleigh, The Market at Cotton Bar, focus on just this thing: social content creation to facilitate photo-sharing and social commerce. We believe that the formula to doing this kind of storytelling well lies in having shared tools across an enterprise that allow for personalization and customization and offering regular training and guidelines to set up your market-level staff and brand representatives for success. To get started with social storytelling we recommend:

  • Identifying a tool like Photofy and/or MeetEdgar for folks to use across your organization to make social assets consistent, repostable and easily-accessible
  • Assigning one store associate at all times to the task of posting/digital storytelling.
  • Consider training the associate/associates who will be posting content in the basics of photo and video, as well as the art of writing engaging captions (and titles, if you’re working with YouTube as a primary channel)

One of the brands who we’ve been watching closely for best practices when it comes to social storytelling is Outdoor Voices. This company offers localized Instagram accounts (e.g. OV Nashville) to promote events and respond to market-level needs, while also providing national content suitable to all audiences and their e-commerce shoppers via their main Instagram account.

Shrinking Store

Our second trend to watch is the “shrinking store.” This trend is about making the most of every square foot and reimagining the giant big box store format to build a small footprint that’s more of an ‘experience center’ or ‘merchandise pick-up’ hub. In order to do this well, brands need to decide if they’d like to focus more on brand exposure and customer experience or fulfillment and add-on purchase discovery as they reimagine their store format—both models can work. If they choose the former, they need to develop a merchandising strategy that focuses on curation, human touch, and storyelling. If they choose the latter, market-level analytics are key: consider showcasing a small selection of products that will perform well in your market and provoke a sense of curiosity and intrigue—these products can also be displayed at checkout when the online order is placed.

image via: bu.edu

When merchandising a smaller store format, we recommend offering a mix of impulse purchases and considered buys rather than leaning heavily towards one or the other. Models we love that are exploring this trend include the small format Targets located on college campuses, and b8ta.

Digitally Savvy Workforce

Our third trend to watch is all about in-store digital enhancements 

that aren’t about flashy smart store gadgets and mobile shopping as they are about stealthily empowering store associates to better serve customers. To apply this trend, both encourage and train your store associates to leverage tools like in-store wifi and advanced technologies to better serve customers. We can’t emphasize the training side of this recommendation enough!. Consider and implement a strategy for workforce training that ensures all staff are regularly brought up-to-date on new technologies impacting your store and consider bringing them into a brainstorm discussion about how to fully leverage them and how to create better, easier to use tools. For example, installing a foot traffic tracking tool across key transition points can help you more dynamically staff your store in its busiest and slowest moments.From our experience, your technology is only as good as your people-and people must be central to any tech implementation strategy. The coolest and sexiest in-store gadgets and systems will fail you unless you train associates in how to use them effectively and ensure they actually make associates’ jobs easier, not harder. As an example, in-store mobile support via employee cell phones is a great idea, but if employees aren’t able to regularly charge their cell phones and communicate with customers on their devices without violating corporate policies, that idea will fall flat.

via: WeArePaperPlane.com

Employee Created Content vs Employee Generated Content

Employee Created Content #ECC is a fast-growing trend in modern marketing, and brands who embrace it over dated control-focused employee policies around their online presence will be positioned to speed ahead of competition.

Many companies are looking at how they can best leverage their employees to help them in the never-ending need for more content. Most of those same companies are inexplicably nervous about allowing the same employees, that they trust to be the LITERAL face of the company with customers every single day, to be a small part of their online presence. Despite this anxiety, the allure of an army of humans that you already pay to work for you expanding your brand to their own networks, for free, is impossible to resist.

Enter Employee Generated Content (EGC). Several years ago, tools like Dynamic Signal began to capitalize on this under-served area of the market and give brands the ability to create content for their employees to share online through their social channels. The employees had content they could share in seconds, and the brands had, at least for these very specific pieces of content, total control over the messaging.

Unfortunately, we live in reality – a place that often messy and entirely uncontrollable. It’s also a place where people share content online about their lives, much of which revolves around their work.

Walmart Employee Uses Phone at Work. Source: Walmart Blog: How Smartphones are Enabling a Smarter Way of Working

The Employee Generated Content trend ignores one important truth: employees are already writing about your brand and their experience with it. They will continue to write about your brand and their experience with it. There is nothing you can do to stop it – but you can capitalize on it. Brands often fear that employees are likely to post negative things. But the reality is that many employees are going to share special offers, sales and promotions, and encourage their friends and family to come in and purchase new items. As Walmart is already learning – employees can actually be MORE productive for your company with their smartphones. Creating content in-store is an easy way to unlock that potential.


The Employee Generated Content trend ignores one important truth: employees are already writing about your brand and their experience with it. They will continue to write about your brand and their experience with it.

At Photofy, we embrace the term Employee Created Content (ECC). Successful brands who trust their employees will not try to stifle what their employees say about them, but will empower it, celebrate it, and promote it… and encourage them to “create” it. Photofy gives brands tools to empower employees to create beautiful branded content quickly and easily. Brands get total transparency into all the content that is created in an easy to use dashboard, and employees get the tools to share what and how they want. A company can easily grab the best content and promote it from their own channels however they want.

We’ve found that brands that empower Employee Created Content (ECC) with Photofy see an average increase of 10% in total online monthly conversation, and a ROAS of 16X. Compare the cost and scale of this content tool to any other content spend and you can easily see why brands are jumping on board.

Many of our customers have upwards of 10,000 employees on the platform creating content for them daily. When you begin to do the math of what that means for reach and content volume, you’ll get how powerful this can be.

Frutta Bowls uses Photofy to showcase employee creations and share them quickly online.

Employee Created Content is the future of content marketing for brands… PERIOD. The faster brands embrace the tools to enable and support this, the better positioned they will be to own the online conversation in the future.

Enterprise Notifications: Instantly Communicate with your Photofy Team

Photofy is a powerful tool for enabling employees to have access to your latest graphics, assets, and photography for creating their own content. However, notifications of content plans, time-sensitive posts, and new assets can go unnoticed in emails.
Photofy Pro now offers the ability to send mobile push notifications to your team members and employees on the Photofy App.
No fees.
No lost emails.
No group text messages.
You are able to schedule your client notifications on our platform to send out at any desired date/time.
You can send as often as you like for:

  • Upcoming products, specials, or an event.
  • Keep your employees up to date with new releases
  • Promote employee contests
  • Promote special offers and other time-sensitive information

Your employees and team members will need to have their push notifications turned on for the Photofy app.

If you would like more information or to schedule a demo for how you can use it, click here to contact us!

STEP BY STEP:
In the Photofy Admin Portal, select the gallery whose subscribers you want to message.
Then Click on “Notifications”
Click “Create”


You’re then able to type in the message you would like for your employees to get via their Photofy App.

Pick the date/time/time zone and save the notification to be pushed out, and click Create!

Your team will receive the notification on their phone at the selected time. No additional fees or costs are associated with this for you or them.

Using Tokens in Photofy Enterprise

First we need to answer the question: What are tokens?

No, they’re not the little coins you use to play video games at the arcade. At least, not in this case.

At Photofy, we use digital tokens to save information within your app to make it faster and easier for you to create the images you use to market your business.

When you subscribe to an Enterprise Business Account, the first time you sign in, you’ll be asked to enter some contact information. This is the token information screen for one of our Enterprise accounts.

Remember, this is public facing information, meaning, this information is what will appear on your images when you use any of the Photofy Templates or logos that have a place holder for this information.

The benefits to using tokens in Photofy? You only have to enter your information once, and it’s there until you need to change it. This also reduces the chances of misspelling your email or website information, or putting in a wrong number.

Token information is easy to change! Just go to your Profile and scroll down a few lines. Sometimes you’ll find even more information placeholders that are optional, but a good idea to fill in if you have that information!

Our customers LOVE being able to use tokens to save them time, and to make sure that their images look professional without incorrect information!

If you have an Enterprise account, and don’t have tokens set up yet, contact us and let us know you want to add them to your subscription!

Unlock more Photofy for Less!

We have had a lot of our customers ask us if there was a way to unlock more Photofy, instead of having to purchase individual packs and features. We think we’ve figured out a way to do just that…

Introducing 3 new ways to get more Photofy!

  • Photofy Premium Subscription: 99¢/mo… unlocks all designs
  • Photofy Premium Plus+: $1.99/mo … unlocks all designs and functionality, (Color Spectrum, Masks, Watermark Removal, Scheduler, Repost, Light Fx, etc) except industry specific content.
  • Photofy Business Collection (formerly “AllThePhotofy): $5.99/ mo… Everything from Photofy Premium, plus Logo+ and all industry specific content (IE Real Estate, restaurants, etc)

These are all available now in the Photofy Marketplace!

Using your Photofy Data

You likely already know that Photofy is the easiest way to create and share employee created content for your business. However, for our business users on our Photofy Pro platform, we also provide a lot of data to help you and your team create the best and most consistent content you can.

Quick Stats
If you have a large team or employee base, you may want insight into how many of your users are active at any given time.  The Photofy Pro Dashboard gives you quick insight right at the top on how many active users you currently have, as well as how many pieces of content they have created over the last month, along with how many different kinds of photos and art they have used.

dashboard-top

Photos Created
Photofy gives you the tools to keep up with how healthy your content streams are.  You can easily see how much content your users are creating through Photofy every day, as well as a look into the actual content they are creating.

dashboard-photos

Usage Data
You can dig deeper into your data and get a better understanding of trends among your users:

  • Active users by day
  • Top users by Content Created
  • Top Assets by usage

Here, you can easily see trends around which graphic elements  are being used most, and which are being used least, to give you some direction into what art you should make next.  You may also easily identify your top content creators and tap them to mentor those who may be struggling with creating content.

Share Data
dashboard-shareFinally, you can track where your branded content is being shared.  While this may be interesting on its own, it also can give you insight into where to focus some of your efforts.  In this example, Instagram is huge for this business, while very few people are using eCards.  Given what you see, you may want to invest more time in converting Instagram users, or encourage your employees to send more promotional emails.

Ready to get started? Log into the Photofy Portal or contact us about how Photofy can power your Employee Created Content Goals!

Why use Photofy- The Before and After

Have you ever posted an image on your social media pages, spend the extra money to boost it, and noticed that it didn’t perform as well as you had hoped? It happens all the time. We are here to help you change that!

Photofy is a powerful content creation tool that will help you create beautiful, professional images in 30 seconds or less.

With Photofy, you can take a photo whether it’s your own, or one of the stock photos, and enhance it with the elements available to make an eye-catching image that will draw attention to your posts!  Just load a photo, add some artwork or text that gives a little content and share to a variety of social media channels in a matter of seconds! Check out the difference between these photos that were made for a Walmart Grand Opening Celebration!

Original Image:

img_20190125_111858_185000

Image enhanced with Photofy:

img_20190125_111832_849000

The second image on the received so a much higher level of engagement and higher number of views compared to images similar to the original image because it gives context. Which one catches your eye better?

With Photofy Pro for Enterprise, your marketing team can add custom artwork and logos via the web portal to customize your images even further, like with these images for an aquarium boasting a BOGO 1/2 off sale for an upcoming holiday!

Original Image:

img_20190125_112222_294000

Image enhanced with Photofy:

img_20190125_133906_482000

Again, using the same exact image, the original image, while it is pretty, posted alone, with the text in the post alone, doesn’t seem to gather as much attention as the image enhanced with Photofy.  Engagement for the enhanced image is much higher since it  contains the message, and social media followers will see that sale text and stop to read the details contained in the post text.

Photofy is perfect for large companies as it allows the corporate marketing team to manage content that remains relevant to their business and ensure that the employee generated content keeps within brand standards.

If you have any questions about Photofy Pro for Enterprise, or need support contact us at support@photofy.com