6 Strategies for Measuring the Impact of In-Store Messaging

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aisleIn-store messaging, via geo-targeted SMS, MMS, and push notifications, is surging in popularity, as more and more smartphone users check their devices for product information and coupons during the shopping experience. By 2016, mobile is expected to have a $327 billion influence on in-store sales, an increase of 26% from 2012. However, many of the merchants who utilize the hyperlocal technologies that enable things like departmental geo-fencing and passive mobile location measurement are having difficulty determining the true ROI of their campaigns.

Here are six strategies for businesses that are interested in measuring the impact of their in-store messaging campaigns.

1. Put execution ahead of measurement. “The most important thing merchants can do at the outset is to ensure that their campaign is actually up and running properly. A common theme that we see is that 95% of the time goes into strategizing about the perfect campaign and only 5% of the time goes into measuring the actual execution of the campaign. If you are running a multi-unit business, your first goal should be to ensure compliance and proper execution of your campaign across your locations. Once you measure that, you can begin to measure the actual customer impact. If you fail at understanding the first level of execution, your results will always be skewed and lead you off track.” (Matt Talbot, GoSpotCheck)

2. Look at A/B tests and click-through rates. “The A/B type tests and click-through rate analysis that has made e-commerce so efficient can be applied to brick and mortar retail. Measuring conversion rates and click-throughs on mobile offers should be the first direct measure of ROI. For instance, a big box retailer could have one store running a mobile offer and one not running the mobile offer to measure if it’s providing sales lift. Alternatively, both stores could be running offers — say, for a specific cereal — but with a different discount or different brand messages to gauge what performs better.” (Dan Ryan, ByteLight)

3. Use heatmaps to measure area popularity. “Display digital product information for real-world products in-store with a ‘save for later’ and share function. [You can measure] area popularity with heatmaps, most popular products, and shares or journeys. This can be used to identify low trafficked store areas, and experiment with how presenting digital product information to complement real-world displays can affect interest or engagement for a brand. And this deliberately excludes the more complex mechanic of tying this product information overlay back to purchase behavior.” (Sean O’Sullivan, LocalSocial)

4. Track key performance metrics. “Retailers utilizing indoor location platforms to distribute mobile content should be looking at how their messaging is affecting key performance metrics, such as revenue per square foot and time spent in-store. For instance, a retailer could find an indoor location-based marketing campaign for summer t-shirts is converting exceptionally well. Not only could they increase the allotment of square feet for the summer t-shirts, but they could move the t-shirt display to the front of the store and assign a sales associate to the area. With the ability to track and compare mobile content conversation rates with foot traffic in real-time, this becomes possible.” (Dan Ryan, ByteLight)

5. Automate the identification of repeat customers. “Another area to look at on the top line is if you’re increasing revenue spend of repeat customers with your in-store messaging campaigns. Retailers can automate the identification of repeat customers when they visit the store, allowing them to track how the mobile messages are affecting average spend and order size per visit. This is important given 40% of retail revenue in the U.S. comes from repeat purchasers.” (Dan Ryan, ByteLight)

6. Set realistic expectations. “Be realistic with expectations on usage — some beacons are used in conjunction with a store app and Bluetooth. You are not likely to get a big sample of users who are willing to do this, but the most loyal users will and as in any retargeting, this will likely drive revenue. Wi-Fi usage may be easier where you can have customers use a QR code to get Wi-Fi access or have signage next to sales with ‘click here for Wi-Fi access and a coupon for this and other items.” (Lauren Moores, Dstillery)

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.