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Urban Outfitters Increases Conversions With Contextualized In-App Messaging

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For millennial-focused retail brands, simply having a mobile strategy isn’t enough. Innovation is expected, as these brands go beyond the basics to attract the attention of a digitally-enabled demographic. Urban Outfitters is no exception. The Philadelphia-based lifestyle retailer began using its customers’ real world behavior to support the smarter delivery of messaging within its mobile app last year — leading to a 75% increase in customer conversions as a result.

To power the new mobile initiative, Urban Outfitters worked closely with location intelligence firm PlaceIQ and Appboy, a lifecycle engagement platform. Those two companies have since joined forces in a new partnership announced today, with plans to use location data and mobile messaging to produce similar results for other major brands.

“The [Urban Outfitters] campaign was really about using the power of location to power online,” says PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall.

Like many other retailers, Urban Outfitters has long used its brand-owned app to deliver messages to customers in the hope of driving conversions. What PlaceIQ and Appboy were able to do was heighten the value being delivered by in-app messaging, using a combination of location and customer activity data to help the retailer avoid sending impersonal marketing messages to consumers.

Specifically, Urban Outfitters used location data enrichment, provided by PlaceIQ, together with Appboy’s lifecycle engagement platform to accurately identify customers based on their real-world behavior. For example, Urban Outfitters was ale to identify which customers had visited nightclubs within a certain time period, which signaled to the company that these customers might be particularly interested in buying party dresses or clutches. The retailer was then able to send customers in that group targeted promotional messages touting the specific products they were most likely to be interested in.

“By analyzing location data, we can segment audiences in a variety of ways to understand the consumer journey,” McCall says. “We can group location-based audiences into categories like frequent shoppers at specific retailers or audiences that frequent nightlife establishments.”

Urban Outfitters also used Appboy’s Conversion Events feature to track when the company’s messaging influenced or resulted in a purchase by users within the campaigns.

In addition to the 75% increase in conversions Urban Outfitters saw as a result of the initiative, the company also saw a 146% increase in average revenue per recipient.

Together, PlaceIQ and Appboy are hoping to recreate Urban Outfitters’ results with other brands.

“Retail brands can learn from this campaign that insights from location data are extremely versatile. If you can understand how audiences are interacting with the real world and their affinities visiting other locations and watching TV shows, you can make better decisions across the entire marketing lifecycle—how to compliment with TV or OOH ads, the creative and products that will resonate well, even the time of day that will work best,” McCall says.

Appboy CEO Bill Magnuson says he sees too many brands failing to coordinate their marketing campaigns across all the places their audiences interact with them—such as the mobile web, apps, desktop, and in-store—resulting in disjointed, unappealing customer experiences. He believes that disparate messaging channels, such as push notification, email, and in-app messaging, should be part of a cohesive strategy — a goal that he says is achievable when marketers take advantage of behavioral data to make their messaging more appealing.

“A lot of marketers today are collecting vast amounts of customer data, but they aren’t using it to send more relevant and more appealing campaigns or to contextualize each experience users have with their brand,” Magnuson says. “Understanding your users’ behaviors, habits, and preferences makes it possible to provide your audience with messages and experiences that create long-term customer loyalty.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.




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.