Why In-Store Messaging Needs Offline Measurement

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Wifi_logoWhen I attended the annual Digital Signage Expo a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, it was clear that a significant shift had occurred since the last time I attended, in 2012. There is a clear and growing interest in measuring signage impact in offline environments. Awareness of this issue has evolved from an interesting concept to an active desire to implement technologies that accurately measure messaging and its impact on shopper behavior.

Offline, in-store environments historically have had limited tools for measuring impact of any marketing effectiveness, reach, or exposure. But mobile location technologies with geofence capability measure shopper behavior and produce actionable data sets, opening new opportunities to quantify messaging impact.  Measurement is not only possible, but actionable. Departmental geofencing and passive mobile location measurement can be used in-store to create performance metrics similar to what has been used in online media measurement.

Consumers are exposed to relevant messages delivered at the right time in the right place. This optimizes the opportunity for shoppers to connect with a brand and enjoy a seamless experience. Meanwhile, marketers now have the necessary data to quickly adjust messages while campaigns are live and immediately improve results. The data helps marketers get the most out of their marketing spend while creating a positive consumer connection and driving long-term loyalty.

Here are four applications of measures leveraging mobile passive analytics and departmental geofencing for quantifying value and effectiveness of in-store messaging.

1. Measure A/B testing of messages
Through A/B testing, multiple messages can be tested in live store environments to measure campaign effectiveness. Messages resonate differently with various markets and consumers behave differently by market, by store and by department. Measurement allows visibility into connecting the behavior to the messaging, and helps marketers create more effective, targeted messages for the given shopper market.

Without this data, marketers are operating without the critical metrics needed to drive an effective result more quickly, which, in retail, is most often sales. The ability to measure in actionable intervals now gives marketers the flexibility to pivot quickly, evaluate performance and make necessary adjustments to achieve desired outcomes — while campaigns are running live — rather than a post-campaign debrief when nothing can be done to change the outcome.

2. Measure influence-to-action ratios
Influence-to-action is measured by capturing shopper behavior. While merchandise sales are the ultimate goal, sales alone do not effectively measure the influence of messaging on shopper action. With shopper behavior measurement, the in-store shopper journey is now visible. We can determine the route taken, number of stops made, and final destination for a complete measure of the path to influence, effectively mapping messaging impact. Sales are a good indicator of performance but availability of merchandise, queue length and associate availability to assist customers can also factor into whether a transaction is completed. Adding data from an incorporated loyalty app will add another dimension to completing the customer path to purchase.

3. Measure content loop to dwell metrics
Producing effective and compelling content can be a large investment in a marketer’s budget. Shopper dwell times vary by product category as well as by department. It has been shown that shopper dwell times often do not sync with content loops of digital messaging. Content loops may be twice as long as measured shopper dwell times. Synchronizing content loop length to shopper dwell allows the complete message cycle and full impact of the message to be exposed to the shopper delivering a more fluid and connected shopper experience.

4. Measure the value of in-store signage real estate and cross-shopping
Measuring the shopper journey throughout the store reveals the high-value real estate for signage placement. Identifying high shopper volume to low-volume areas can guide the optimal placement of signage within the store. Identifying high volume areas and the cross-shopping patterns between departments can guide the highest impact opportunities for signage placement. Accurately measuring shopper patterns optimizes messaging to maximize the most valuable in-store real estate for signage. Measuring cross-shopping behaviors helps target messaging to the most inclined shopper audience.

Measuring the impact of in-store messaging is possible with passive mobile analytics and departmental geofencing technologies.  Marketers should no longer rely on sales as a proxy of marketing success. Marketers can successfully leverage behavioral data of shoppers to help them make more effective choices and deliver effective messages to the right in-store audience at the right time.

Anne Marie StephenAnne Marie Stephen is VP of Retail Sales and Customer Development at Iinside.