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Retailigence exec: Balance targeting and privacy to drive in-store shopping

November 8, 2013

NEW YORK — A Retailigence executive at ad:tech New York 2013 said that retailers need to be wary of going too far when collecting data from shoppers to target and drive in-store shopping.

During the “How to drive in-store sales” session, executives from Retailigence and SKB Consulting discussed different tactics for leveraging location, trends and big data to drive in-store shopping. However, both executives agreed that retailers need to be careful to only use information that shoppers are comfortable sharing.

“Apple announced its iBeacon and other players are coming out in the space, and the idea is to identify a shopper not just if they’re in a store but in this aisle and this category, and that is a gateway to a lot more relevant personalized information,” said Jeremy Geiger, CEO of Retailigence, Redwood City, CA.

“Obviously the one road block we have is the topic of privacy and what shoppers are willing to do or what the brands are comfortable doing because they don’t want to get caught with their pants down,” he said. “In Nordstrom’s case, they put beacons in their store. Somebody found out about it and went to a newspaper, and it was a huge issue, and immediately Nordstrom ripped them all down and said we’re never going to do it again.

“That’s the barrier, but the ability to identify a person’s location in an aisle is one of the keys. I think along with some personal profile identity management system you can give access to how much personalization you want.”

Leveraging data
For bricks-and-mortar retailers, there are two main issues that they face: In-store inventory and online inventory.

Online there is an infinite amount of space, so retailers can offer unlimited amounts of products and let consumers explore. However, there is still a question of what to highlight on the homepage and what to advertise.

In the bricks-and-mortar locations, retailers obviously have limited shelf space, so they need to determine what to stock and how much of it to stock.

Looking at data can help retailers figure out both of these issues. Retailers can look at past purchasing behavior, trends and other types of data to predict what shoppers want and fix supply based on demand.

One example of a retailer taking advantage of data to affect in-store inventory is when Walmart noticed that cake pops were becoming a trend. Walmart looked at data from Facebook and Twitter and realized that the product was becoming more popular, so the retailer stocked up on cake pop makers.

The ad:tech session

Mobile and location
Retailers can also leverage more specific, individualized data to react with appropriate in-store inventory as well as personalized targeting.

Retailers can use mobile for real-time data, and it also allows retailers to get information about location.

If a retailer pushes a geotargetted ad to consumers that are nearby a store, retailers are not only increasing the likelihood of that consumer making a purchase, but they are also able to obtain important information that can impact future decisions on merchandising and advertising.

With technology such as iBeacon and PayPal Beacon, retailers now have the option of taking that one step further to determining the location of a consumer down to the specific aisle.

However, both retailers and brands are still a little hesitant to jump into that sphere because of the privacy issues associated with the level of information a retailer can obtain about shoppers.

“These days the location is [on mobile], you need to be there because that’s where shoppers are,” Mr. Geiger said.

“In mobile we know the person’s location precisely, we know the shopper is more than likely out and about, so if we do geotargetting around the Walmart store we can try to drive impulse behavior in the real world,” he said. “To a brick-and-mortar retailer this is awesome.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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