Closing The Loop: Do You Know When Your Online Browsers Make A Purchase In-Store? - Lift361

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Closing The Loop: Do You Know When Your Online Browsers Make A Purchase In-Store?

By Ed Higdon. Posted in Insight

June 20, 2017

We’ve all been in a situation like this before: You hop online to browse for a pair of shoes. You spend some time shopping around, but you don’t buy anything because you prefer to go to the store to try them on before you buy. However, for the next several weeks, (or in some cases, months), those shoes follow you around on the internet wherever you go.

This can be more than a little annoying for shoppers. And for retailers, it can mean wasted money as they continue to market to (and potentially alienate) a customer who has already made that exact purchase.

Retailers spend a lot of time studying the online behavior of customers. But what happens when those customers walk into a store? How do you know if your digital campaigns and efforts drove them to a purchase offline? How do you get a true 360-degree view of the customer?

The Online/Offline Optimization Conundrum

Retailers invest significant time and resources developing digital campaigns, including remarketing campaigns. However, the lion’s share of sales are still occurring in-store. The problem is that it has been nearly impossible to bridge the gap between online marketing and offline shopping behaviors, so measuring ROI has been a struggle. But with the right strategies in place, the puzzle can be solved and marketing dollars can be optimized.

First, retailers must focus on optimizing those abandoned carts that trigger retargeting ads that we discussed above. If the customer buys the item in-store, then a continued effort to remarket to them means wasted ad spend and poor customer experience. Marketers must size the opportunity, measuring the rate of in-store conversions against online conversions.

Next, they should analyze the time-to-conversion across all channels, not just digital conversions. Studying these numbers can provide insight into just how long it takes a customer to go from online browsing to offline shopping. It is often uncovered that retailers don’t need to act as quickly as they think. For example, it’s not always necessary to hit a customer with a retargeting ad an hour after they abandon their cart.

Retailers should also use on-boarded in-store purchases to suppress those retargeting ads as soon as the purchase is made. Most retailers don’t invest in this type of customer identity resolution, and that means they continue to waste money online after a purchase is made in-store. Think of the impact that resolution could have if a shopper comes into the store to buy the running shoes they browsed, suppressing the ad for sneakers and ensuring they now see a great deal on running shorts that really complement those shoes?

The 360-Degree View Is In the Data

Making the most of this strategy requires retailers to extend the reach of their current CRM programs and to do it in concert across all channels. This means creating online campaigns for in-store customers who do not respond to direct mail or email offers.

Marketers must also utilize customer segmentation to decide how to allocate digital spend. Not all digital strategies work on every customer, yet many retailers approach digital with a one-size-fits-all mentality.

Finally, marketers must embrace a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy rather than creating two distinct silos between digital and offline channels. Customers don’t live in a digital-only or an analog-only world. We live in a hybrid world, and effective marketing requires an integrated approach.

The impact on marketing spend and ROI is significant if you can reduce investment into expensive communications by removing those customers less likely to convert and reaching those people where they are more likely to buy. Marketing has always been a business where people accept an abysmal conversion rate and tend not to bat an eye when nearly an entire campaign’s budget is wasted on people who don’t buy. Achieving a 360-degree view of the customer virtually ensures targeting and focus that reduces wasted dollars, and strengthens customer relationships and lifts sales.