Closing the loop

On the back of his presentation at our Online to Offline seminar, Phill Blundell, CEO at Eagle Eye blogs about closing the offline to online loop.

Phil Blundell

Years ago, when companies first invested in their websites, there was a challenge facing retailers – getting people to the website. Years of physical advertising ensued from TV ads showing ‘find us online’ to ‘log onto our website for more’. Today, the opposite challenge exists.

Driving footfall back to stores using digital is a fairly new concept but when it works what becomes clear is that the experience is better for the retailer and consumer.

Digital advertising is a very effective way of reaching out to a wide consumer base, if it’s done right.

To do this well they must know their consumer so that they can engage with them. They must be able to track consumer activity.

While collecting consumer data is nothing new, the ability to do it immediately – in real time – is essential.

Brands have an obligation to know their consumers and, with real time data, they can do exactly that. This means that they can immediately gather data about a consumers browsing activity online in order to drive footfall back into store.

How do they do this? Through targeted messaging and relevant offers.

With a digital promotions platform, retailers can eliminate a disjointed approach to their marketing channels and get to know their consumers better than ever before.

The most important consideration for brands is relevance; how relevant is their offering for the consumer, how relevant and how timely?

Brands utilising online advertising spaces often struggle to measure their worth. While click through analytics are useful, they are often only available once a campaign or promotion is over. This doesn’t allow the brand to make immediate changes to the campaign.

With the provision of real time, brands can take a completely different approach.

For the first time, they can determine the impact of an online advertisement through real time analysis. In other words, the brand can immediately see engagement levels with the content; main webpage views, click-throughs and even resulting purchases.

This resulting data allows the brand to better manage their campaigns in the following ways:

  1. Stock management - If there is clear interest shown in a particular item, they can ensure they are well stocked both online and in store to maximise revenue.
  2. Personalised offers - If a consumer has shown interest in a product without purchasing, the brand can target them with a personalised promotion for instore purchases, thus driving footfall back into store.
  3. Upselling – a brand can clearly see the popularity of certain products and as such, can engage the relevant consumers with targeted offers on complementary goods that they may not have considered.

The innovative project that we’ve launched with Mediavest for Nicotinell demonstrates this perfectly.

The digital campaign enables the brand to track online activity through to in store sales in real time.

By analysing online search history related to their products and location data, the brand can target consumers with relevant offers on products when they come into store – driving footfall directly from the website to the bricks and mortar store.

While recent years have highlighted the importance of online, the future is not so black and white. The focus for retailers must be brought back to the in store experience – but not at the expense of online.

The key for any brand is to maximise revenue while providing a consistently good shopping experience.

The online/offline loop must be closed to ensure that retailers can incentivise online shoppers to go in store with the promise of relevant offers and discounts.

2016 will be the year that digital becomes the catalyst for brands revitalising bricks and mortar. The only question for retailers is whether they’re ready to embrace it.

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