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OPLIN 4Cast #309: Keeping it in-house

Posted in 4cast

As more and more people carry the Internet in their pocket everywhere they go – in the form of a smartphone – retailers in brick-and-mortar stores are having to deal with some unpleasant competition from online stores. Although public libraries increasingly feel that they are competing with online book providers, particularly in the area of ebooks, stores that sell things have it much worse. A surprising number of people look up prices online while they’re inside a store, and will even make online purchases from another store right then if they find a better price. So as the holiday shopping season launches this week, what are in-store retailers doing to enhance the physical shopping experience and keep the sales that might otherwise go to their online competitors?

  • Your mall’s been geofenced with coupons (Upstart/Teresa Novellino)  “The move follows a RetailMeNot/Ipsos Public affair survey that the company conducted in May 2012 which found that over a third of all adults (and 54 percent of those under 35) have used a smartphone or tablet to research a product or service. Just over a third (34 percent) report that they would be more inclined to make a purchase shopping in an actual store if they could find a good coupon for an item or service on their mobile device. About one in seven adults (15 percent) say that they have made an online purchase using their mobile device when in a physical store because they found a better price online.”
  • 6 secrets of successful geofence campaigns (Mobile Commerce Daily/Rip Gerber)  “Marketers are flooding their customers: SMS traffic will approach 10 trillion messages this year, thanks mostly to SMS campaigns. How do you effectively engage customers without drowning them? Smart marketers build geofences around key physical sites: stores, arenas, airports, schools, even competitor outlets. These fences create zones that trigger an SMS message or other action when a customer enters or leaves.”
  • How Walmart is going all out with mobile (CNET/Paul Sloan)  “If you opt in, Walmart will use your location to provide you with an app designed specifically for that store. Head to another Walmart and your app will work for that store. It has useful features: You can make a list by speaking into the phone. You can search a product by typing in a word or phrase – tissues, say, or light bulbs – and the app will show you what aisle to go to. It has an interactive map. It shows you promotions specific to that store.”
  • Retailer apps locate in-store Black Friday deals via interactive maps (dealnews/Jeff Somogyi)  “Customers will be able to browse Black Friday promotions that are specific to local Macy’s stores, create shopping lists, receive push notifications about previously unadvertised specials, and know where to find their desired items in-store. The Macy’s app doesn’t feature a ‘map’ so much as a directory, as it lists the department and floors where items can be found.”

Fencing fact:
“Geofencing” is probably a new term to many of us. It refers to any technology that uses a mobile device’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to keep track of where people are – whether they be shoppers, employees, friends, or children.