InMarket Unveils Program to Recapture Lost Shoppers — And Revenue — for Retailers

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For retailers who are trying to charge up their repeat business, inMarket today is introducing a way to reengage with absentee customers.

The company’s Lapsed Shopper Program identifies consumers who have not visited a partner retailer for a set period of time. That might mean the shopper is patronizing a rival store, or is not currently making purchases in that retail segment. This information is then used to put ads in front of the consumer to encourage them to return.

COO Mike Don says information supplied by app partners, via inMarket’s software development kit (SDK), allows the company to pinpoint consumers who visited stores, but then stopped. “Our methodology allows us to identify who those people are and get back to them,” he says. “You know these are people who are near a store and have been to a store.”

InMarket uses beacons, wifi proximity, and GPS through consumers’ smartphones to derive real-time, location data. This is collected from direct integrations with mobile apps that reach more than 50 million people per month, the company says. InMarket does not gather any personally identifying details about the shoppers. The program ran in beta fourth quarter last year, and the data showed it recovered 118,000 out of 293,000 lapsed customers for a retailer.

Through the combination of inMarket’s SDK and location technology for detecting interactions at the point of sale, the program takes the data on actual occurrences at stores. A large portion of mass media and advertising tries to catch the attention those types of consumers, Don says, however a lot of money also gets wasted talking to extraneous people. The Lapsed Shopper Program is intended to mitigate that. “We’re able to get specific and know exactly where someone, say, scans some batteries,” he says. That paints a picture of shopping habits, but without invading consumers’ privacy.

The expected rate of shopper visits naturally varies depending on the category of retailer. Consumers go to grocery stores or coffee shops, for instance, more frequently than they buy big screen televisions from electronics sellers. InMarket works with its retailer partners, Don says, to define appropriate timeframes for outreach. “That way we can identify a consumer who went on two weeks’ vacation versus someone who is indeed a lapsed shopper,” he says.

Another advantage of the program, Don says, is that it reveals how effective ad campaigns are in attracting shoppers. “It would be good to know that someone actually came to your store because you spent a lot of money on TV ads, direct mail, and promotions,” he says. “With our technology, we can tell you that and target those people when they are in decision-making mode.”

The program works by anonymously logging the frequency a shopper goes to a participating store. If there is a lengthy falloff in their visits, further action can be taken. This can include checking if that consumer went to a competing retailer or was in the area but did not come back to the retailer. During the beta test, Don says, lapsed shoppers who were communicated with through the program exhibited a 40 percent return rate visiting the partner’s stores. That compares with a 15 percent return rate among lapsed shoppers who were not targeted via the program. Working with the retail partners, he says, inMarket develops multiple creatives to test over the campaign which is the most effective in getting customers back to the stores. That can include directing ads to the consumers when they are nearby a location, but have not yet gone in.

Joao-Pierre Ruth is a Street Fight contributor.