3 Creative Ways to Use Data to Boost In-Store Traffic

Jun 02, 2017 — Joanne Helm
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The omnichannel framework—a must for large retailers and small- and medium-sized enterprises alike—directs companies to employ big data to better target consumers.

But what are some techniques retailers can use to leverage analytics for the specific goal of increasing in-store traffic? Here are three creative, data-driven strategies to get customers in the door.

Geo-targeted ads for proximity persuasion

Facebook app on smartphone in a parked car

There are many ways smartphones can contribute to big data collection—one of these being geo-locating, where the user's approximate physical location is identified. That's a valuable thing to know about a potential customer, since human behavior is significantly driven by environment. If people are checking their Facebook feeds while they're out and about near a company's brick-and-mortar location, they are prime candidates to be informed about nearby shopping opportunities.

That's exactly what IKEA did in Cardiff a few years ago. The furniture giant ran a geo-targeted Facebook campaign that served ads into users' news feeds. Subsequently, in-store traffic increased 31% in one age category and 11% in another.

The bottom line: By keeping tabs on where potential customers are, and delivering geo-targeted ads to them when they are close to store locations, retailers have a greater chance of getting more in-store traffic.

Social media-responsive window displays

A common tactic for encouraging passersby to enter brick-and-mortar locations is to entice them with attractive window displays. These displays usually showcase something that the customers can only find if they step into the store, such as a discounted product—for instance, wireless retailers could offer a limited-time deal on monthly data packages. But for this era of data-driven strategies, there are clever ways to bring display windows into the digital era.

How about putting digital signage in window displays, and using social media to determine what topics are popular among followers of your brand online? Include these topics or memes in your digital signage videos or text. Interspersing popular social content with bottom-of-funnel content could help entice patrons to come inside.

The bottom line: Retailers can leverage trending topics to increase their brand's relevancy, and use the material as a hook to introduce shoppers to their products.

Use coupons to encourage omnichannel engagements

Friends taking selfie with a smartphone inside the mall

We've mentioned before that coupons and analytics make a good match. Discounts provide a solid, quantifiable incentive for shoppers to buy, and analytics help stores keep track of which patrons actually take action and which do not. This data can be used to determine who to target for future promotions.

One great way to optimize the use of promotions is to add a social dimension to them. Perhaps a retailer has already procured the email addresses of customers who are particularly social media savvy. Companies could send out coupons requiring shoppers to take action within brick-and-mortar locations for the discounts to activate—for example, by taking and uploading Instagram selfies in front of backdrops featuring brand imagery.

The bottom line: Coupons can promote online interactions while encouraging shoppers to physically enter store locations.

Towards better omnichannel strategies

Today's customers want to share their customer journeys, and omnichannel strategies help them get there. The point of omnichannel is to deliver a customer-centric experience, and it just takes one look at social media to see that people want to express themselves and relate to one another. With in-depth customer analytics you can understand which data-driven strategies will work best and ensure your company is part of that story. The right retail management software can help you achieve these goals.

Photos: Shutterstock / Hung Chung Chih, Shutterstock / think4photop, Shutterstock / zeljkodan

Topics: Retail Operations, Customer Experience, Business Intelligence

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