Imagine a scenario in which you enter a store, browse the aisles and tap on a particular product to get information or a video or even receive a coupon without having to look around for someone to instruct you. Mobility is paving the way for incredible shopping experiences.
RFID technologies such as NFC enable smartphone users to simply tap and be presented with an array of services. NFC itself has a much broader scope in the world of in-store marketing. Companies are creating an array of solutions around mobile technologies such as NFC/QR codes. Specific solutions involve the creation of proximity-marketing programs, loyalty programs, couponing, etc.
Solutions are being developed day by day to connect the physical and digital worlds in the context of in-store marketing. Consumer needs are a high priority as companies look to provide an intense level of service customization, as happens online in e-commerce. This article seeks to provide views from different thought leaders in the industry who are involved in providing such solutions.
Views from industry thought leaders:
Daniel Angel – Director, Strategy & Business Development, Tamoco
“A particular mistake that is made is to ask the consumer to go through a complicated process where they are loaded with something which is of no value to them. It is important to understand what the customer actually needs, and that would be speed, simplicity and context that drives well. It is also important to make it tangible for the end consumer. With that in mind, we focus on simple and contextual engagement with technology-agnostic services enabled via consumer devices.”
He explained that it is important to understand how aware the end consumer is about the mediums of marketing before services can be infused into the market.
“We highly focus on data insights and integrating with partners. We seek out the best partners to work with for mobile app development, mobile web customization, etc. We work with a span of partners ranging from media owners, publishers to retailers, technology companies, advertising agencies, etc. From the customer’s point of view, it may seem as a single standpoint, but on the back-end side, there is a high level of integration.”
He explained that it might be highly complex to perform end-to-end marketing operations, but creating an integrated platform through partnerships might be a solution.
Jamie Conyngham – CEO & Co-Founder, Tapit
“We do manage the contactless marketing services through our platform. We make it easy for customers to engage with relevant content. We generate reports, manage information, gain data insights simultaneously. We measure specific data points, like location and number of times of interaction, and customize information as per these aspects. We serve content on a rule-based mechanism, keeping the technology environment as agnostic as possible.”
He said that data analytics plays a significant role in marketing. It is important to gain data insights to achieve a higher conversion rate at retail points.
“Regarding couponing and loyalty programs, we face a significant problem at the POS level. The main issue is the redemption at the POS. There is no uniform redemption method. There is no solution that works across different terminals. So terminal compatibility indeed becomes an issue. But we are trying to work with terminal providers to work out a solution around this.”
He explained that designing loyalty and couponing programs could be complicated if compatibility issues are not resolved beforehand.
Neil Garner – CEO & Founder, Proxama
“Consumers can be of different kinds – some who want to be controlled and some who don’t mind being sent messages. This drives us to adopt push-and-pull kind of mechanisms, depending on the end consumer. With mobile apps, we can do pull-type activities where the customer engages with information relevant to him or her through available interfaces. But then we can also employ technologies like NFC and QR and other technologies to push digital content to the consumer and hence achieve push-type activities.”
He explained that it is important to understand the kind of mechanism to be adopted to engage the end consumer.
“At Proxama, we do focus on the full commerce life cycle. We do work on loyalty, coupons, offer redemptions and even contactless payments. So, in a way, we intend to cover the entire cycle from marketing to loyalty and payments, etc. The strategy that we adopt is to partner with such companies that help us enable this cycle. Specifically, to cite an example, we connect existing CRM and loyalty programs into our platform and thus are converting paper-based methods into a mobile contextual environment.”
He said that different levels of partnerships might need to be attained to achieve specific service developments.
Apart from NFC, beacons are coming into the limelight to enable proximity marketing. Part II of this article will cover other technologies and other aspects of in-store marketing.