6 Ways Mobile Shopping Apps Are Targeting In-Store Customers

Share this:


A lack of data isn’t a problem in the digital shopping world, where online retailers regularly use cookies and retargeting to track visitors and generate the types of hyper-personalized recommendations that increase sales. But the offline world is trickier in many ways, and retailers are still exploring how to effectively leverage mobile data to create more targeted in-store marketing campaigns.

More retailers are attempting to utilize the data breadcrumbs that shoppers leave behind when they use mobile devices in and around physical stores, and mobile shopping companion apps that add contextual intelligence layers, and target consumers in the moments when they’re most persuadable, are catching on among national retailers.

To better understand how these mobile shopping apps are able to get shoppers off their phones and into physical stores, we asked the executives behind some of the most talked-about solutions to explain how they’re using technology to change consumer behavior. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Collecting intelligence about shoppers. “It’s actually a combination of factors that come together to make consumers [move from their phones to physical stores]. First, there is shopper intelligence. Specifically, this means understanding the shopper’s activities and affinities — products and brands they like, preferences, places they shop, their location and more.” (Bill McLaughlin, ShopAdvisor)

2. Targeting consumers when they’re most persuadable. “Our latest product, Quantum Receptivity, utilizes our first party data set on billions of consumer trips to individually isolate and target consumers when they are most persuadable for the next store trip. This also allows us to skip impressions that would otherwise be wasted on an audience that isn’t going to take that next trip. By focusing on being predictive and personal, inMarket is able to reach shoppers at relevant and receptive moments outside of stores, such as when they are likely making their shopping list, and send them contextual engagements that drive them into stores.” (Todd Dipaloa, inMarket)

3. Adding a contextual intelligence layer. “Contextual intelligence includes things like editorial content the shopper has read that contains an associated advertisement they have clicked on. It can also include many other factors, such as understanding that a rainy day is the best day to promote slickers, boots and umbrellas, or that you won’t do well promoting Red Sox t-shirts to shoppers in the Bronx. [When] combined with location awareness and an ability to message the shopper at the right time, that takes them to a compelling experience on their phone [and it] all works to drive the shopper into the store to buy that product.” (Bill McLaughlin, ShopAdvisor)

4. Sending messages relevant to proximity. “Relevance can be added with technology and the right messaging. For example, with geo-location [marketers can] show messaging that’s relevant based on proximity from location to the mobile user. The right messaging will use that to then give an incentive based on other factors including time and offer details. By hitting the right person at the right place and time, this increases overall messaging relevance and in-turn provides better overall results with engagement.” (Linden Ryan Skeens, Thumbvista)

5. Focusing on content that users share. “If a user is interested in something we are sharing with them, we are building a level of trust in our app. This, in turn, drives higher engagement and therefore better conversions. We learn about the content that users like based on their engagement with that content. We have very carefully thought out analytics within our app. We are able to see what content a user shares, and the engagement rates with each piece of content. We also put ourselves in the shoppers’ shoes. We are shoppers ourselves, and there are certain types of information that we would want to see. Based on that, we are able to eliminate a lot of the useless content out there.” (Nevin Jethmalani, Looq)

6. Continuing with offers after consumers move inside. “Birdzi delivers personalized offers via the app and email, including a personalized weekly flyer, to drive shopper traffic. Once shoppers are in-store, they still receive additional personalized offers based on the strategic placement of location-aware beacons throughout the store.” (Shekar Raman, Birdzi)

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.



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.