Digital footprints in brick and mortar stores


Consumers often look for information on websites before visiting a store nearby. Soon, this will no longer be necessary. Interactive kiosks and smartphones can help shoppers find exactly what they are looking for, and display personalized recommendations to them taking into consideration their location and online activities. Wearable devices are very likely to blur the line between traditional and online shopping even more.

This article is the fifth part of a post series about personalization in marketing. Click here if you would like to read it from the start, or click here to download as an ebook.

Many mobile applications ask your permission to use geographical data to improve their service. With the growing popularity of mobile payment methods, it seems, smartphones are going to play an important role when shopping in a brick and mortar store.

POS manufacturers already offer systems, that are able to send messages to mobile phones, when their owner is close to a product. To use a system like this, retailers need to place RFID tags on some of their goods, since they transmit signals that NFC capable mobiles will interpret.

While solutions like this are not widespread yet, it’ s not hard to see the potential of an ad, that people receive, while standing right in front of the product. The link between smartphones and purchases could also help retailers to improve their customer databases, and develop new, and exciting forms of in-store promotions.

Augmented shopping

Microsoft is also working on solutions that could merge traditional and digital shopping. Many of them focus on new ways to use Kinect sensors.

The company originally planned to change the interaction between machines and users with its voice-, face – and movement recognition sensors, by turning the human body into a game controller. Which didn’t really work out as intended, but Kinect have been used in many other areas since then from medicine to contemporary art.

There are two fields where brick and mortar stores could benefit from the recognition capabilities of Kinect. Kiosks or tablets armed with the sensors could help customers find exactly what they are looking for in the stores. FaceCake, for example, is developing an augmented shopping platform, that lets users try dresses on their own images in real time while providing product recommendations. The shoppers are also able to compare two dresses at the same time with this technology, or use it to find jewellery or makeup to complement their dresses.

Stores can also monitor the interactions and the demographics of their customers with Microsoft’s sensors. Using it this way could provide insights into which products are picked up most often, which areas of a shop are the most popular, or what type of people visit it regularly.

Ties between the physical and the virtual world

Ties between the physical and the virtual world

Wearables offer even more possibilities for personalized marketing than our first two examples as besides geographical data, they store information about the users well-being and routines.

You can also shop with some of them. Nym’s bracelets, for example, use the owner’s unique cardiac rhythm for identification at the cashier and basically lets you pay with your heartbeat. You can make purchases with Apple Watch too, and this device is also able to offer coupons or display ads based on the location of its owner.

The number of techniques marketers or app developers can reach consumers when they are not using their computers is constantly growing. Fitness or running apps, that tie similar users or let you see the distances your friends covered  are great examples of how connecting social data with movement patterns and online activities can benefit users.

It seems that collecting and analyzing the digital footprint of consumers could be used for lot more than improving online services…. It can also influence, what people are doing offline.

Minority Report is almost here…


The next part of the series is about finding balance between personalization and privacy. Click here to continue reading!

by Sáfár Attila
on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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