Innovative Retail Technologies

JUL-AUG 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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"Despite lingering misconceptions among even the most sophisticated CMOs and agency directors, beacons by themselves can't collect data." Asif Khan, president and founder, Location Based Marketing Association 19 Jul-Aug 2017 online sales. But beacons at retail provide a relative sweet spot for mobile commerce. For example, beacons are installed at more than 100 stores (e.g., Burberry, Hugo Boss, Godiva, etc.) on Regent Street in London. Those beacons are tuned to pedestrian traffic so passersby receive mobile messages when they're in the right place. And the beacons drive results. Almost half (48 percent) of those with the Regent Street app use it more than twice a month, according to AutoGraph, the company that deployed and runs the Regent Street beaconing program for the association. Regent Street stores are getting a tenfold uplift in offer redemption from beaconing, and 63 percent are using the app to plan visits to restaurants. Sensors Are Becoming Integrated But over time, the stand-alone beacon is becoming embedded in other things, from Wi-Fi access points in large stores to lighting and even flooring. As a result, location data from beaconing is becoming more integrated with other location data, such as from GPS signals and Wi-Fi. As yet another example of beacons integrating with other aspects of commerce, the platform of Boston-based Swirl just became integrated with Oracle so that personalized marketing, via beacons, can occur in a more integrated fashion. The idea is that in-store shopper behavioral data can be used to target and deliver personalized content with Oracle Marketing Cloud. The Swirl platform leverages digital location signals from beacons, GPS, and Wi-Fi to generate first- party data for various marketing channels. Using Data To Drive Offline Engagement And Insights The initial thought for many installing beacons was that in-store shoppers could be sent messages as they neared certain products. The reality is that beacons can do much more. Since they awaken specific mobile apps on a phone, they can be used to gather customer feedback via surveys after a customer leaves a store. They also can be used for retargeting shoppers later with personalized emails or online ads, as well as check the effectiveness of paid media in driving store traffic. In addition to being the places where most shoppers buy the most, stores now become a key asset in cross-channel marketing. PlaceIQ, a company that uses opt-in mobile app location data to detect when devices are present at specific locations, also announced a partnership recently with Oracle's BlueKai Marketplace, which advertisers use to build audiences for ad targeting. Advertisers are increasingly interested in finding likely buyers by connecting purchase signals such as ad interactions or website visits to actual in-store visits. Location data is especially relevant for packaged-goods and auto marketers. The deal between PlaceIQ and Oracle puts PlaceIQ data in BlueKai's Marketplace, but Oracle expects to use it in other products as well. The growing number of partnerships is creating more complexity in location data. In addition to its recent PlaceIQ deal, for example, Oracle also recently acquired Crosswise, a cross-device targeting firm that works with Placed. PlaceIQ data has also been flowing through Adobe's Audience Manager, the marketing tech firm's data management platform. Location data showing whether someone's mobile device was present at an automaker 's dealership, for example, can complement information already available in Adobe's system, such as data showing a visit to an automaker 's website through a mobile device or desktop computer. Advertisers can then target marketing messages across several channels or gauge the efficacy of their campaigns. Tying The Data Together Google recently announced that in an effort to bridge the "online ad–offline purchase" gap, it will begin to connect online ad exposure to brick-and-mortar sales. The company claims it will be able to track about 70 percent of all credit and debit card transactions and link them to online consumer behavior. Google's move is also a competitive response to Facebook's partnership with Square and Marketo, announced last summer. That partnership allowed Facebook to track consumer store visits and some transactions and was itself a competitive reaction to Google's store visit metrics, which have been part of its AdWords product since 2014. These moves are big leaps forward for advertisers. Ultimately, all marketers want an answer to the question: "Who buys what, when, and at what price?" The answer allows marketers to target consumers who are most likely to buy their products, at prices at which they are most likely to buy, making marketing expenditures much more efficient. A whole view of the consumer (i.e., knowing that people who saw an ad for a pair of Nike shoes then went out and bought it), is a powerful incentive for using targeted online ads. Knowing that consumers who shop at Home Depot also tend to shop at PetSmart drives decisions such as media purchases and placement, cross-promotions, and even store location for both companies. The bottom line is that proximity/ location data is quickly becoming the most valuable resource a marketer can have. Whether we use this data to tie physical movements to more effective ads online, or use the data online to track the effectiveness of those ads driving traffic to stores, the reality is that we finally have a way to close the gap.

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