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Douglas Lusted CEO Linkett Shopper Marketing

What are the three pillars of omni-channel marketing for retailers?

Did you know that right now you can connect offline and online advertising to create immersive shopper experiences and increase sales? Yes, right now.

The digitalization of our world has shifted how people consume media. The most obvious example of this is that today people are consuming more media through mobile devices than any other (21% more to be exact). This proliferation of mobile device usage is creating opportunities for advertisers to connect with consumers in real-time by delivering consistent, measurable omni-channel marketing campaigns.

There are three technologies that are enabling advertisers to combine both digital and physical marketing channels: Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi. Here is a brief description of each, along with an immediately actionable example:

Bluetooth [Beacons]

Bluetooth technology is a wireless form of communication in which signals transmitted via beacons communicate with apps on smartphones, instructing them to do something (i.e. deliver a pop-up notification on the device screen). Essentially, Beacons bring a physical location to life, using the mobile device as the consumer’s real-time gateway into digital marketing content. The only caveat with beacon marketing is that an app is required in order to communicate with mobile devices (a potentially costly investment).

An example of Bluetooth technology in action would be a woman shopping for a new purse in a department store. Let’s assume she has the retailer’s mobile app on her phone and that beacons are installed throughout the store. Upon her entry into the store, this woman could walk by a beacon located near the entrance to the woman’s accessories department. As she passes, a promotional message would be delivered to the app informing her of a sale on a specific brand of purse. She would then proceed to enter the department and (possibly) buy a purse.

NFC

NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is similar to Bluetooth in that both are wireless forms of communication designed to cause a mobile device to take action. The principle differences between the two are that NFC technology does not require an app and that NFC signals are not transmitted nearly as far as Bluetooth signals. In fact, a phone must almost be placed against an NFC “tag” (it’s version of a beacon) in order to receive it’s signal (think of your credit or debit card tap feature).

Let’s revisit our purse shopping example, but adapt it to NFC. In this scenario, the retailer could communicate unique information about each purse (i.e. product videos) by placing relevant NFC-enabled signage onto the product tags. This signage would invite the shopper to learn more about each purse by tapping their phone against the tag. Assuming the shopper has an NFC capable device, this content would be downloaded directly to said device, making it immediately consumable in the store.

Wi-Fi

As with the previous technologies, Wi-Fi creates wireless communications with mobile devices and, like NFC, there is no app required. Wi-Fi enables omni-channel marketing by, when a mobile device connects to a Wi-Fi network, delivering a marketing message to said device. Furthermore, depending on the kind of information collected when consumers are asked to sign into a Wi-Fi network, advertisers could use this data to fuel their online retargeting campaigns. This could include leveraging browsing patterns, device information and email addresses of the consumer to send them targeted digital advertising.

The best example of Wi-Fi marketing is when a consumer visits a coffee shop and, upon deciding to stay and browse the internet, needs to connect to the in-store Wi-Fi. The coffee chain could provide this service in exchange for the consumer registering for it’s loyalty program when they connect to the network. Information collected through this process could be used to power future digital marketing initiatives.

As you can see there are three strong technologies driving the growth of omni-channel advertising. These technologies are helping advertisers blur the line between offline and online marketing, while creating more immersive and influential experiences for shoppers. These experiences are also more lucrative for advertisers, delivering an average increase in sales of 30%. The future of marketing is now, are you taking advantage?