National retailers and CPG brands are willing to spend big on indoor location campaigns, but only when the platforms they’re using are providing an excellent return on their investments. As the industry continues to expand — analysts expect indoor maps and location services to net $2.5 billion by 2017 — vendors are being forced to get smarter about the ways they demonstrate ROI and sales lift. The more precisely an indoor platform can demonstrate its value on a per campaign basis, the easier it is to justify its price to skeptical corporate clients.
Here are seven strategies for measuring the ROI of an indoor location campaign.
1. Think outside the box. “Indoor location, as a measurement tool, is better served looking for patterns that weren’t known prior to the tool. That is, you can always measure marketing efforts with sales numbers — and a lot of old-school folks are going to come back with ‘I can just use sales numbers.’ Indoor location gleans insights that previously weren’t available, and the decision to be made is more about store layout and placement of in-store signage. I’d use an indoor location platform to make these kinds of changes, and the cash register and customer feedback to measure their effect.” (William Merrick, SOLOMO Technology)
2. Use data-mining to your advantage. “One method of seeing value in action could be having customers redeem coupons with their smartphones at the till, which provides you with an array of information about the customer and the success of a campaign. While the financial impact of applying an indoor location platform as part of your marketing strategy can and should be measured, essentially it is about creating a commercial advantage over competitors still using the increasingly obsolete traditional media.” (Anna Majek, Sensewhere)
3. Separate visitors from customers. “Actual conversion rates, not just cash receipts, can be informed by an estimated rate of number of visitors to actual customers. How many visitors are actually ‘showrooming’ at the store before purchasing online? Or purchasing at a competitors’ site while standing at your store? Return on investment on the ability to collect this kind of data and act upon it may be essential to businesses competing in the combined online/physical retail world.” (Carlos Machado, Navizon)
4. Track sales by using separate UPC barcodes. “If your indoor location platform has an offers engine, the ROI can be measured just like any standard coupon campaign—just track them with a separate UPC so you know it came from the in-store mobile campaign.” (William Merrick, SOLOMO Technology)
5. Develop dynamic customer relationships. “A more dynamic customer relationship with a higher level of engagement is set to be the most successful approach to advertising in the coming years. Reach out to people at a personal level with the support of extensive data-mining capabilities, and you’ve got yourself a more accurate and cost-effective targeting strategy. Embracing the innovation opportunities of location-based marketing will no doubt put retailers in the lead.” (Anna Majek, Sensewhere)
6. Rely on dwell times and visit counts. “Dwells and visit counts can be used to show ROI around department-specific campaigns. The nice thing is that you don’t have to wait for sales reports to come back. You can adjust marketing efforts more quickly. Knowing which areas of a store are getting ‘cold’ can allow retailers to change things up before sales sink. This means looking at dwell times around displays, setting a baseline, and looking for it to sink.” (William Merrick, SOLOMO Technology)
7. Focus on the value of red flags. “Figuring ROI for [indoor navigation tools] may be like asking what the ROI is for having a burglar alarm system. It means awareness. It means insights. It means the necessary information to act. It means red flags that may not go off unless such a system is in place to address the demands of modern bricks-and-mortar retail merging with the online world.” (Carlos Machado, Navizon)
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.