The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the offline-to-online convergence in retail, leading to a huge shift in the way people shop over a short period of time. Shelter-in-place orders have forced shoppers to purchase the majority of their goods online, and it’s made retailers rethink the way they’ll operate in the post-pandemic world.
Big0-box retailers have beefed up their ecommerce divisions, and we’ve seen dozens of major chains with new curbside pickup options. Some types of retail environments have done better than others. Hardware stores, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, have found themselves categorized as “essential” businesses, and they’ve been able to remain open in many areas with little adaptation necessary. The transition has been harder for retailers in high-touch categories, like clothing, and for those independent operators that didn’t have websites with ecommerce capabilities in place before the pandemic began.
What most ad platforms cannot tell you is how your ads drove foot traffic to stores and other physical locations you care about. If driving foot traffic to retail locations is your job, Google Ads and other digital ad dashboards can’t help you. When in-store foot traffic attribution is crucial, how do you solve for it?
In this article, we cover three ways to solve for attribution, ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. We look into easy options that are inexpensive but tend to be unreliable. We evaluate a medium option that has a moderate cost but is highly reliable and bypasses human error. And lastly, we look at a hard option that incorporates several tools and, while highly reliable, comes at a high cost and is difficult to scale.
The other day, Uber Eats announced a new service that struck me at first as a little surprising but, once I absorbed the idea, seemed strangely inevitable. In select cities like Austin and San Diego, you can now order food ahead of time, monitor your order status, and arrive at the restaurant just in time to begin dining, your table ready and waiting for you. This on-demand dine-in service is meant to remove time and effort from the experience of eating out, and it may also help restaurants fill empty tables during off-peak times by enabling special time-based incentives.
When I say it seems inevitable that an app would eventually “solve” waiting for your food at restaurants, I have two things in mind. The first is a quote from Twitter co-founder Ev Williams that, to me, strikes at the root of contemporary trends in innovation. The second point I want to observe here is that the highly representative user experience created by Uber Eats is taking place on a mobile phone.
Good news for the whole location-based marketing industry—a new report from location data firm Factual based on a survey of location data buyers finds the field is getting more effective and better at measuring its results. Nearly 9 in 10 marketers said location data is driving more effective campaigns. Eighty-six percent said it’s growing their customer base, and 84% reported higher customer engagement.
However, while use of location-based marketing is set to grow to 94%, only 24% use it or are planning to use it to establish offline attribution.
Factual, one of many companies in the location intelligence space, emphasizes offline foot traffic and “visitation insights.” Tracking the elusive online-to-offline buying journey is the name of the game, and Factual touts the advantage of a 300-million device observation graph. Factual VP Ocean Fine breaks down her company’s approach to location on our latest podcast.
Brands want to engage consumers. Though that’s an obvious statement and a universal truth, how it happens is a moving target that shifts with consumer technology. Success in the ad tech world requires intellectual curiosity about emerging tech and a desire to dig into the details.
Factual VP of Agency & Strategic Partnerships Ocean Fine considers that curiosity essential to her success and the victories of any company in ad tech. The latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street Podcast, she’s inspired by the smartphone’s transformation and advises marketing execs to be attack-ready for all emerging tech.
Online-to-offline attribution isn’t a challenge without a solution. A number of vendors are serving the local market with platforms designed to help local marketers at big brands and multi-location retailers assign the correct value to each point of touch in their multi-touch campaigns. Here are five vendors to which retail brands can turn.
The location-based audience and insights platform has partnered with — and received a strategic investment from — Alibaba Group, the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world. The minority investment will be used to help PlaceIQ scale its operations globally, beginning with the Chinese market.