Transforming Shopping Experiences Using Real-World Data

Convergence of physical-world and digital-world data offers deep intelligence that could be invaluable for businesses. Mobile apps typically provide a plethora of digital-world data, but also imprint breadcrumbs in the form of location data. These, when combined with accurate spatial sets, could open the realm to physical-world or real-world attributes.

Used in a privacy-compliant way, location data can also help in forming a single identifier to combine diverse data sources. Having context across online and offline worlds can enable brands, retailers and others to deliver more personalized experiences, and transform shopping experiences. Making more informed decisions can create more satisfied customers and in turn, more profitable businesses.

“The ability to analyze real-world behavior patterns and combine that data with other attributes that predict and influence behavior in a privacy-protected manner is an exciting new space that delivers value to consumers and those seeking to build relationships with them,” said Ketan Patel, CEO of Greater Pacific Capital (GPC).

Investing In The Future Of Retail

Such solutions can help brands and retailers understand what errands people typically run together. They can reveal data points such as how many pet owners are in a city block or even highlight where commuters are traveling. These are just a few examples of insights location-based data can deliver when paired with other available information.

As the consumer shopping experience continues to merge in the online and offline worlds, retailers and other businesses can use the associated data to deliver experiences that are relevant to their consumers.

GPC is a big believer in the potential of this movement to transform retail. The London-based firm invested $100 million in Near, the world’s largest privacy-led source of intelligence on people and places. It’s not the only one seeking to benefit from the human mobility movement. JP Morgan and Sequoia Capital also have contributed to Near’s funding.

Near’s global platform taps anonymous location data – mostly collected from app partners, public hotspots and regional data partnerships – and correlates the data with local census and map information. Using advanced data science models, the company transforms diverse data sets into actionable intelligence for a complete view of the end-to-end customer experience.

Data-Driven Success Online And Offline

Times are tough in brick-and-mortar retail. We’ve all seen the signs of stores in decline – stale inventory, sparse shelves, lackluster service, store closings, the list goes on and on.

Iconic Barneys New York is the latest casualty of the difficult retail climate. It filed for Chapter 11 this summer. The former Lord & Taylor flagship location on Fifth Avenue is reportedly being considered for office space by Amazon. Had Barneys been able to better understand the movements and motivations of its customers in the area, it may have been able to cater to their specific interests and probably would have had better results.

However, there are some signs of hope in the physical shopping world. McKinsey & Co. estimates that in 2020, about 80% of U.S. retail sales will occur in physical stores. And mobile data solutions could help create a strong foundation for the future of brick-and-mortar retail.

For example, brands like Glossier or Nike could use location data to identify people who have visited one of their stores. That’s a strong signal of those individuals’ buying intent. They could then use that intelligence to better understand those consumers and run 360 marketing, loyalty and post-purchase programs that align with the interests of those shoppers. Near’s data platform recently identified Adidas as a hot brand with Gen Z visitors in New York, and Lululemon as a hit with Gen Z men in San Jose, California. Insights such as these can help those brands be more effective in creating their promotions and store displays, and even selecting future retail locations.

Retailers aren’t the only businesses benefitting from the power of location data. WeWork strategically uses Near to acquire place intelligence on real estate properties. When evaluating and planning new sites, WeWork gains a wide range of insights into prospective neighborhoods to make better decisions about their target clients.

In the competitive world of online retailing, augmenting first-party retailer data with the real-world footprints of customers is key to winning. When retailers can provide customized product pages and recommendations, it’s a definitive ways to boost sales.

Measuring Offline Marketing

From attractive office spaces, to smart city planning, to store traffic, people‘s behavior in the offline world can lead to many insights to increase business, both online and offline.

With the merger of online and offline data, it is possible to run intelligent marketing programs, get offline insights and measure store visitations. One of the most valuable use cases is closing the loop around real-world measurement and impact. A large portion of marketing spend is designed to drive traffic to physical locations, with few ways to measure the success of those programs. Mobile data allows marketers to measure offline attribution for online as well as offline campaigns. Marketers can now look at campaign responses and attributed store traffic and correlate these with store revenue for a better understanding of the return on marketing investments. For example, retailers can use location data to measure outdoor advertising performance, associate promotions with in-store transactions, plan effective loyalty programs or allocate inventory appropriately.

This data also helps companies make smarter staffing and partnership decisions. If a special event is taking place nearby, stores can add staff or adjust hours to capitalize on the additional traffic. If they know their consumers are also pet owners, they can promote their pet-friendly policies or strategically partner with a pet services business to encourage customers to stop by.

Technology giants Amazon, Facebook and Google already use first-party data to provide relevant experiences to their consumers. Making data-driven, real-world intelligence available to businesses of all sizes allows them to create seamless personalized experiences for their consumers – online or offline.

Published in Forbes.