Proximity mobile marketing: Prompting lean-in moments for retail customers

By James O'Brien

| Retail

Chief information officers who can integrate proximity mobile marketing — deploying location trackers throughout a retail ecosystem — stand to drive returns by creating real-time and right-time offers that lead to increased conversions from in-store customers.

In a sense, the location-tracking retail strategy is about marketers leaning in: better understanding how customers move, think and purchase in the brick-and-mortar space. Digital tools are driving that process, linking location-based tracking technologies to the mobile devices customers carry and therefore letting marketers see what consumers do during their time in a given space.

Meanwhile, shoppers are similarly leaning in. According to the University of Southern California Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future, 30 percent of consumers say they will always go back to their house if they forget their phone, no matter how long the journey. An additional 28 percent are willing to turn around to retrieve their mobile sidekick if the trip will take fewer than 10 minutes. These statistics show just how attached to mobile devices today’s consumers are, and this means that they likely have their phones in-hand when browsing retail shelves. The framework is now in place for marketers to prompt discovery of fresh options and new ideas within a store’s inventory.

For a closer look at how this works and what CIOs can do to encourage this two-way interaction, consider the following approaches to proximity mobile marketing.

Fusing Real-Time Behavior With Intent-Based Offers

The key to making consumers the right offer at the right time is to place a coupon or voucher in their hands as they show intent to purchase an item. In the retail store, this means that location trackers placed throughout the floor allow algorithms — working behind the scenes — to measure the time customers spend in an aisle, matching their apparent intent to the inventory in that location. Rewards and discounts for those items can then become part of the consumer’s experience by appearing on their mobile devices. In-the-moment suggestions work because they are based on evidence of intent, which the buyer in question has shown.

Acquiring and Analyzing Pre-Visit Data

The relationship between customer intent and location-based offers isn’t confined to in-store shopping. For example, pre-visit product research, especially when conducted on a retailer’s website, is a powerful source of data for CIOs and marketing teams working with location tracking technologies.

When analytics can align online browsing to on-site inventory, in-store location tracking can then prompt and lead shoppers to the items they’ve already considered. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, shoppers spend two to four times as much money when they do online research and then visit a brick-and-mortar location. Savvy marketing teams can use this information, paired with their location trackers, to empower the data-driven infrastructure that encourages these omni-channel shoppers to patronize the brand.

Creating Follow-Up Opportunities

What happens in a shopping space, as recorded by location-tracking technology, is also grist for the proximity mobile marketing approach. In other words, as pre-visit research fuels in-store proximity-based prompts, time spent near certain inventory can create opportunities to reach out to customers after a visit. Suggesting a deal or offer on what they didn’t purchase in-store may prompt an online purchase or encourage the shopper to return to the retail location sooner.

These ideas all come down to a central and longstanding approach: help buyers find what they want and inspire them to discover new products and services. CIOs are reaching consumers through their mobile devices, and in the process, their marketing teams are gathering the kind of location-based consumer behavior data that fuels even longer-term outreach strategies for in-store and beyond.

Written By

James O'Brien

Technology Reporter

For the past half decade, James O'Brien has covered technology and the ways it intersects with our lives and work. His points of focus include data analytics, the mobile sector, driver-less cars, the Internet of Things, IT infrastructure, data security, 3-D printing, and technology…

Other Articles by James O'Brien
See All Posts