Zenreach Attract Connects Online Ads to In-Store Results

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Photo by Carl Raw.

Online metrics, like click-through rates and return-on-ad-spend, can quickly show ecommerce retailers how well their digital advertising campaigns are working. But what happens in the real world? The KPIs used in ecommerce mean almost nothing to brick-and-mortar merchants. In fact, digital approximations can actually cause merchants with physical locations to overspend on certain audience segments, while undervaluing others.

That’s something Zenreach is trying to change.

A pioneer in WiFi marketing, Zenreach is now tackling online-to-offline attribution. The company is looking to help retailers who operate brick-and-mortar locations connect their online advertising to measurable in-store results with the launch of Zenreach Attract. (Check out the company’s white paper here. Zenreach is sponsoring the publication of its research on Street Fight.)

Zenreach’s technology allows merchants to use their guest WiFi like a cookie in order to better understand customer visits and connect store visits with exposure to online ads. Merchants should be able to measure real results and improve the performance of their ad spending.

“Most efforts to date have focused on approximations and assumptions. Perhaps you looked at overall lift in sales before and after running advertising, but it was always difficult to isolate the effect of your ads. Perhaps you tried some online A/B testing of customers who were exposed to an ad or were not, but you had to wait for weeks or months to see if it worked, and it was very difficult to optimize,” says Zenreach CEO John Kelly. “Perhaps you sent out coupons to see if you could track users, but coupons are usually expensive and require a user to remember to bring something in. But if there was one thing that was always elusive, [it was] knowing that a specific user saw your ad and actually came in afterwards. That is what Zenreach now delivers.”

Zenreach is not alone in its quest to connect online advertising to offline results. A number of technology vendors are trying to tackle the same issue. But Zenreach believes it has an edge in the market with its ability to measure actual visits rather than online approximations. Using Zenreach Attract, retailers can build audiences and optimize marketing to improve the performance of their digital campaigns.

“Zenreach Attract is the first product to let marketers who work with real-world locations connect online advertising with measurable in-store results. Knowing who saw your ad and came in, and those who saw it but did not come in, enables you to dramatically improve the performance,” Kelly says.

Another differentiating factor for Zenreach is its roster of big-name clients. Peet’s Coffee, for example, has been using the product for nearly a year. Kelly says Zenreach Attract is designed for any business with a physical location that wants a directly measurable means of bringing in new customers or bringing back existing customers. That includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, resorts, and apparel retailers.

“Essentially anywhere operators are trying to get customers to respond to marketing by walking through the door is ideal,” Kelly says.

Although conversions from online impressions to online engagement are reasonably predictable based on targeting, conversions from online engagement to in-store purchases can vary dramatically. According to Zenreach’s own research, the performance can vary by as much as 12 times. Without knowing how online ads impact in-store results, merchants oftentimes have no idea how well their advertising is working.

Zenreach says that with its Attract product, client campaigns outperform the industry average by almost 4 times, with an average return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) of 10.1 versus an industry-wide average of just 2.71.

“It’s really about knowing your customers better. The better you know your customers, the better you’re able to serve them. Instead of mass emails and ‘spray and pray’ advertising, Zenreach is able to build smarter audiences based on the real people who walk in,” Kelly says. “Optimization likewise is based on in-store results so that marketing just gets better and better.”

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.