Industry Wire

Can Collaboration Shore Up Brick-and-Mortar Retail?

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Brick-and-mortar retailers often gripe that they are at a competitive disadvantage against online retailers because of their relative inability to map a more complete view of who their customers are and their traffic, browsing and purchasing behavior.

As malls, department stores and other retailers struggle to drive traffic, some players are considering sharing data.

Mall developer Westfield, the owner of 35 shopping centers, is seeking to persuade retailers, brands and even competing malls to share data such as what consumers have just bought to allow partners/rivals to better target potential customers for related sales.

“In order for us to be successful we have to collaborate across different partners and partner with competitors too,” said Lindsey Thomas, who heads marketing at Westfield’s newly rebranded OneMarket unit, formerly known as Westfield Retail Solutions. “Seamless integration is what we are preaching. If you want to get a well-rounded view of consumers, you need to know the ins and outs about the consumer.”

Data sharing isn’t the only mission of this OneMarket network. The idea is also to get the participants to invest in tech initiatives from natural language to AI, with the goal of becoming more competitive with digital leaders and keeping up with consumer expectations.

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Obsessed Much? Mobile Addiction Is Real

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It seems like many people can’t put down their smartphones. And a study from Deloitte, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found that to be the case.

According to the survey, which polled 2,000 US internet users ages 18 to 75, most people check their device approximately 47 times per day. And younger users? Well, they tend to check it with a significantly higher frequency—roughly 86 times a day. That’s an increase from the 82 times per day reported in 2016.

Meanwhile, nearly nine in 10 respondents said they check their phone within an hour of waking up in the morning, and almost as many do so right before they go to sleep. According to Deloitte, these patterns of usage have been consistent over the years.

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The Cost of Acquiring a Mobile App User

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Getting a first-time user to install an app isn’t easy. And getting that user to make a purchase within the app is even harder—and a lot costlier.

In fact, mobile app marketing and retargeting company Liftoff analyzed user data for a year, and found that the average cost to acquire a user who makes a purchase via an app is $64.96.

Mobile App Benchmarks Worldwide: Average User Acquisition Costs, by User Action and OS, Sep 1, 2016-Aug 30, 2017 (among app installs tracked by Liftoff)

That’s significantly higher than the cost of getting someone to install an app, at $4.12, as well as getting a first-time user to create an account via an app, at an average cost of $8.21.

And getting a user to buy something within the app, or subscribe to a paid service? Better open up that wallet. For example, Liftoff found that the average cost to acquire an app user who makes an in-app purchase—like game content—is $76.40.

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Many Retailers Lag in Customer Engagement Technology Adoption

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Most retailers have not implemented a host of key ecommerce and in-store technologies that support a seamless, convenient, omnichannel customer experience, according to the latest edition of the Customer Engagement Tech Trends study from RIS and International Data Corp. (IDC).

The study, based on a survey of 65 North American retail executives, found that even for relatively common technologies such as “email, mobile, text marketing/messaging,” less than half of the respondents said their companies currently have up-to-date tech in place.

The study found similar levels of savvy with in-store technologies. Barely half of the retailers said they are up-to-date with customer Wi-Fi, and less than one-quarter said the same of in-store pickup and returns for digital orders.

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Separating Mobile Leaders From The Laggards

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Let’s give a round of applause to brands like Best Buy, Patagonia, and Kohl’s, which are really getting mobile right.

As outlined in by L2’s latest Intelligence report, these guys are matching strong investments in content and commerce with aggressive mobile marketing initiatives.

They’re regularly incorporating deep links in mobile search results, deploying strong mobile creative, and executing sophisticated content features effectively on mobile sites and apps.

Their store locators not only guide customers to brick-and-mortar locations, but also promote omnichannel services — thus successfully using mobile as a conduit to support e-commerce and in-store shoppers alike.

To benchmark mobile strategies holistically, L2 plots brands on a two-dimensional grid based on the performance of their mobile content (including mobile sites and apps), and their marketing investments (including email, search, and display).

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NFC is the Key to Hybrid Physical Digital Marketing

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Once upon a time, retail stores tried to get our attention with special displays, signs and stickers, but now they can tap into the power of IoT to communicate a lot more than just “New!” or “Special!” The smartphones we carry can convey marketing messages built into the displays or even the product themselves with just a tap.

Flonase®   has deployed Thinfilm’s SpeedTap™ tags in interactive “smart” shelves in stores in six Canadian provinces. Customers who tap their NFC-enabled smartphones to the shelves can get information about the product at the moment of decision.

Matt Bright, Senior Director of Product and Technical Marketing, Thinfilm, spoke with us about why the “smart” shelves are just the tip of the iceberg in IoT marketing. We’re not only talking about delivering marketing messages, but being able to customize and adapt to them and pick up the trail of the customer journey even beyond the buying decision.

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Brands Struggle to Keep Up with Demand for Cross-Channel Marketing Personalization

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Consumers want offline shopping experiences to be just as personalized as online, but new research from the customer data firm Segment shows that most major brands are failing to meet those expectations.

In surveying 1,006 U.S. adults, Segment found that the vast majority are disappointed with the lack of personalization in their online and in-store shopping experiences. Seventy-one percent expressed “some level of frustration” when their shopping experiences are impersonal, leading to what industry experts have dubbed a “personalization gap” in the shopping experience.

“The most striking thing about the survey is that the experience of personalization for consumers is so low across the board — whether online or in-person,” says Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt. “For all the talk over the past decade about a 360 view of the customer, it’s surprising—but not shocking—to see that so few brands deliver a personalized experience for everyone.”

When personalization is done right, it leads to an increase in spending. Nearly half (49%) of the consumers in Segment’s survey said they have bought things on impulse because of personalization. That number was even higher among millennials. Sixty-three percent of consumers in that group said they have made an impulsive purchase based on a personalized recommendation.

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To Achieve Personalization, Marketers Need Resources

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Marketers are constantly looking to deliver a personalized customer experience. However, according to data from Sailthru, that’s not always easy.

Sailthru, a personalization technology company, surveyed 146 UK and US marketers in the commerce, publishing and retail industries about their views on customer personalization—and asked them what impedes their goals in this area.

Out of the many challenges mentioned, a plurality of respondents—roughly four in 10—said one of the leading barriers was a lack of resources such as time, people and money.

Leading Barriers to Achieving Their Company's Personalization Goals According to UK and US Marketers, April 2017 (% of respondents)

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (23%) of US and UK marketers reported challenges around data, and another 14% mentioned technology challenges—either not having the right tech in place or the actual difficulty of using it.

And the hurdles didn’t stop there. Some felt they didn’t have the internal knowledge needed to execute their personalization goals, while others felt there was a lack of buy-in from their company.

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