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BizReport : Advertising archives : August 02, 2017

Why location analytics are key to retail health

While the number of online and mobile purchases continues to increase, some research shows that nearly two-thirds of mobile shoppers are also visiting physical stores on a weekly basis to try on, touch, or hold products before buying. That, according to some, is why location analysis is crucial to overall retail health.

by Kristina Knight

Merchants need to invest in location data - the gathering of it, and the understanding of it. That, because more shoppers, even those buying digitally, are coming in to stores to touch or try on products prior to buying.

"The buying journey used to be very clear - go to the store, pick out what you want, go home. That hasn't been the case for a long time - we're dealing with a blurry buying journey that enables consumers to buy anywhere, any time, and cross effortlessly between channels. I might go check out a new high-definition TV in the store but go home, have dinner, and then order it online. Or I might narrow down armchair options by reading online reviews and then actually buying one in the store after I test them personally," said Brent Franson, CEO, Euclid Analytics.

Knowing where customers are coming from - both online and offline - can help retailers influence the purchases they are going to make. The problem, according to Franson, is the retailers are moving too slowly in picking up and using this type of data. He posits that even those that are gathering location data aren't incentivizing their analysis teams to dig in to the data to better serve their customers.

"The teams devoted to driving traffic and sales through ecommerce are not incentivized to drive store visits or completely lack visibility into whether or not they do. In that setup, there's no incentive for teams to work together, be creative, share information - particularly to achieve that single view of interactions across all touchpoints," said Franson. "Organizational structures in large retailers need to evolve to meet the demands of an omni-channel customer in order to compete in a post-Amazon, post-mobile world. Retailers have to take Amazon's lead - they're data rich and reliant for a reason. Instead, most retailers are behind because they rely on apps or cameras - and that is just not going to cut it in a contemporary retail environment."

How to change the culture?

First, put data in a single repository, with a single record for each customer, with all of their interactions - from sales to loyalty - tied together. This will give the brand a better customer view.

Second, shift the brand culture from a channel focus to a customer focus. Evaluate and incentive teams to that they not only have the data, but are using it moving forward.

Third, invest more in data. Rather than looking only at sales on a quarter by quarter basis, Franson suggests looking at the roles of the store, the app, and website, and then tying those to sales, engagement, and loyalty.

Tags: ad targeting, advertising, Euclid Analytics, location based advertising, location based targeting, location data

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