Shopper behavior analysis firm Euclid Analytics Inc. today announced an integration with Oracle Corp.’s Responsys personalized automated email marketing platform to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping.
Closing this gap would be particularly lucrative for physical stores because a lot of people use smartphones in stores. According to a study commissioned by Euclid Analytics, 90 percent of smartphone users visit traditional stores in person at least once a week and 83 percent used phones in stores.
That’s a lot of people currently “offline” in the store, walking around with a window to “online” in their hands or pockets.
That’s where Oracle Responsys comes into play. Responsys provides personalized communication based on how a customer reacted to an email–a different message for customers who ignored an email, clicked on a link in the email, recently visited a brand’s web page and so forth.
What if, Euclid Analytics solution poses, a customer gets a different sort of newsletter depending on behavior in-store? Customers who start lingering in the health food section but don’t buy anything get different messaging than customers who make regular weekly trips to the store and rarely deviate from particular sections.
“Closing the online-offline gap in retail continues to be a significant marketing challenge for physical retailers,” said Brent Franson, chief executive officer of Euclid Analytics.
When a customer is shopping online, everything they do is tracked and logged. Online shopping outlets use this to better tailor the visual experience of users, target advertisements and even offer discounts to get sales.
The brick and mortar side of retail, however, is a great deal more opaque when it comes to understanding and connecting to customers.
“Unlike online companies, which gather customer insights relatively easily,” Franson added, “brick-and-mortar has struggled to capture the analytics that are so essential to executing smart and effective marketing campaigns.”
Retail stores and restaurants get very few insights into their customers when they’re in the building. Outlets have tried to shore up this lack of data with enticements to join coupon clubs, carry discount cards and smartphone apps.
However, even cards and coupons can only say that a customer took some product from a shelf and bought it, and apps pose the problem that customers don’t seem to like them.
According to Andy O’Dell, co-founder of Clutch, even retail coffee giant Starbucks Corp. only saw a 16 percent penetration with its app in 2015. He argued this is because brand apps lack personalization.
Wi-Fi as a hook for customer data
To solve this problem, Euclid Analytics uses an enticement of its own: free Wi-Fi access in the store.
Instead of an app, the store can offer Wi-Fi in exchange for an email address and permission to track the customer while in the store. Unlike an app, Wi-Fi is something most people with a smartphone can use while on the go. After all, why burn slow bandwidth plan minutes when you can get fast free internet? Also a phone-remembered Wi-Fi connection does not clutter up a smartphone with unnecessary, annoying apps.
“Amazon and Netflix and others are all tailoring user experience heavily,” Franson told SiliconANGLE, “and now customers are beginning to carry this expectation across multiple venues, including the physical.”
In the era of smartphones and online shopping, Franson said he believes that Responsys and email marketing is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting online and offline.
There are many more untapped opportunities to use behavioral data from offline shoppers to provide a tailored experience while in stores or restaurants and the technology to do it is waiting to be used.