What's Next in Shopper Engagement?

By Bizclik Editor


Written by Alex Romanov, CEO, iSIGN Media


How do you encourage today's tech savvy shoppers to enter a store and actually make a purchase?

It's the million-dollar question that businesses and retailers continually struggle with. But, what if you had a tool at your fingertips that could turn window shoppers into buyers, encouraging nearby consumers to enter into your store and purchase a product?

Picture this: you own a popular men’s apparel store in downtown Sydney. You’re well-known for carrying cutting-edge styles for businessmen who care about looking sharp. You have a solid clientele, but you are certain that you can do even more to pull in new customers.

New mobile marketing technology may be the tool you've been searching for - it enables retailers to send shoppers who are close to a retail location a coupon or special offer from a merchant, directly to their mobile device.

Compared to traditional advertising such as print, radio or TV (where consumers must remember the ad or offer and then act upon it at a later time), this type of “close-to-the-store” engagement technology is proving to be more effective, cheaper, responsive, and, for consumers, a lot more convenient. Mobile coupons are delivered immediately and are relevant to customers' shopping needs. And instead of having to remember snipped paper coupons, customers simply scan or show their phone at the retailer's register to redeem the coupon.

Furthermore, the data customers have created by interacting with this mobile messaging campaign allows retailers to make future offers even more relevant, pushing sales up.

Location, Location, Location: Introducing The Power of Proximity

That’s what we at iSIGN call the power of "proximity marketing" – wherein stores’ digital signage and consumers’ mobile devices wirelessly interact to exchange location-based messages.  In action: it turns consumers into shoppers by helping retail merchants connect with mobile-enabled potential customers when they are nearby, primed and ready to make a purchase.

And today, with the vast majority of consumers carrying some kind of mobile phone or tablet in their pockets or handbags, reaching them through these devices is critical – and will be even more so in the coming years.

That’s because, according to InMobi’s recent Media Consumption Report for Australia, 54 percent of Aussie consumers are as comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with ads on TV or online. And 88 percent of them take notice of mobile ads.

That’s not all. 40 percent of Australian mobile owners report that ads on their phones and tablets have influenced their in-store shopping behavior, while 58 percent think mobile ads provide them with better options.

With numbers like this proving that large segments of the consumer audience are receptive to mobile advertising, it’s clear that proximity marketing has the potential to help Aussie retailers connect with today's mobile-engaged shoppers.

Meet Retail Stores of the Future: A Conversation Between Two Technologies

Consumers’ mobile devices and stores’ digital marketing tools, such as digital signage, are complementary technologies, each augmenting the capabilities of the other as communications partners. In essence, the technologies hold a “conversation” that, in the best-case scenario, draws consumers off the sidewalk and into retail stores.

How does it work?  Proximity marketing works by using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth™ to interact with mobile devices within a certain radius of the retailer's physical location. As consumers travel within range, the technology sends messages or prompts to their feature phones, smartphones and tablets, asking each for permission to display a marketing offer.

Once the consumer opts in, the offer appears on the device screen.

At this point, we know that consumers who actually see this message are likely to be receptive, since they gave the retailer the go-ahead to send them the mobile ad in the first place.

But the conversation between the retailer and the shopper and proximity marketing technology doesn’t have to stop when the consumer walks in the door of the establishment. Working in tandem,  digital signs inside the store – set to communicate with customers’ devices at a much shorter range – can greet customers by name, all based on the information they have given via their mobile device - while displaying personalized, engaging, and interactive ads. Going back to our original apparel store example, it might say: “Welcome Bryn!  Receive 30% off on Roberto Rococo’s new business suit line - today only.”

Furthermore, the technology can help retailers anonymously track customer responses, measure the time spent at the store and at specific areas within the store.  It can also be linked to point-of-sale systems, collecting information on customers’ purchases.

So, proximity marketing doesn't just compel nearby customers to enter a store, it also enhances their in-store experience.  

Customers are pleasantly persuaded to make a purchase they may not have considered.  They are also engaged and entertained by the content they receive, making it even more likely that they will return for future purchases - because the messages are relevant to them.

Proximity Marketing: Delivering Top Relevance for Top ROI

Research has shown that 69 percent of consumers are "turned off" by irrelevant mobile marketing messages that do not add value to their busy lives. Proximity marketing, including digital ads, help retailers avoid this risk by deploying only offers that are relevant to the consumer’s immediate location and context so he or she is engaged rather than enraged.

So, for Australian retailers, the time to start harnessing the sales- and loyalty-driving potential of proximity marketing. It's clear that the receptive audience is there.

In fact, a recent survey by Google on smartphone use among Aussie consumers found that 74 percent will not leave home without their smartphones, a number that’s only going to grow as mobile continues on its march toward complete market saturation.

There is a huge audience out there just waiting to be reached with the right message at the right time.

Adopting proximity marketing technology can give your retail business the boost of relevance it needs to attract mobile-toting shoppers – and keep them coming back again and again.


About the Author

Alex Romanov is the CEO of iSIGN Media, a mobile advertising company.






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