How to Leverage Mobility Data to Bring Consumers Back In-Store

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Rising inflation is changing the way consumers shop and decreasing the number of trips people make to brick-and-mortar stores. While the change in behavior could be a stumbling block for some specialty retailers, it’s also providing brands with an opportunity to more effectively leverage mobility data to target consumers in ways that weren’t possible prior to the pandemic.

Rather than pulling back on ad spending as consumers begin shifting their shopping behavior and increasing their visits to discount stores, marketing insiders say now is the time for retail brands to go all-in on location-targeted advertising.

“Today, retailers are using visitation data to enable location-targeted ads, which means they’re limited to targeting consumers who are either already passing by or inside of their store,” says Fred Dimesa, head of aggregated data and advertising product lines at Arity, a firm that specializes in mobility data and behavioral insights. “Mobility data takes that a step further.”

In addition to targeting the right people at the right time, retailers that combine mobility data with location-targeted advertising have the opportunity to predict who will pass by their storefronts and when — so they can deliver ads or offers before those consumers even get into their cars, Dimesa says.

With the ability to leverage full trip data to make predictions, retailers are able to see when consumers are most likely to drive by certain competitor stores, and they can use that information to send targeted messages that reach the right recipients in the precise moments when they’re deciding which places to visit.

“For example, with full trip data, we can see John Doe drives by X grocery store every day after work at around 6:30 p.m. To catch his attention before he hits the road, X grocery store can schedule a targeted ad for when he typically leaves the office at 6:00 p.m. This gives John time to see the message before getting in the car to drive – and because of that, he may be more likely to stop and shop,” Dimesa says. 

Apart from targeting the right people at the right times, retailers can also use mobility data to track the volume of consumers coming across their stores to help manage inventory. Or, they can track the volume of consumers coming across competitors’ storefronts to supplement competitive research.

“For retailers, the most beneficial factor to track with mobility data is convenience. You want to ask – how convenient is my store to this consumer’s common routes? If I present this offer, is it convenient for this person to stop by, or would they have to go out of their way?,” Dimesa says. “It’s common knowledge that convenience is important to the modern consumer, and it can be an important factor when it comes to a consumer’s likelihood to shop.”

Dimesa says most retailers have never had access to this scale of mobility data before now. The number of firms working with brands in the mobility data space is still relatively small, and Dimesa says Arity’s massive number of connections — more than 280 million — make it an outlier in the field. Arity analyzes roughly 1,300 trips per second and finds the meaning in mobile and vehicle telematics data, so businesses can make more informed advertising decisions.

What about consumer privacy? While the topic is at the tip of every marketer’s tongue, Dimesa says consumers must opt-in to share their location and mobility data for marketing purposes on Arity. So, while privacy is – and will continue to be – a big concern to the adtech industry at large, it will likely have a much smaller impact on brands that rely on data from opted-in audiences.

“Arity is big on ensuring the privacy and security of our customers and their users. We don’t pass consumer data on to anyone,” Dimesa says. “The only way to access our insights is directly through us. Retailers give us their target and message, and we deliver both without disclosing any type of personal data.”

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.