The growing maturity of mobile coupons, vouchers, and loyalty solutions is one of the most exciting developments unfolding in the retail technology and marketing space right now. These reward-based initiatives offer retailers a perfect way to link their digital marketing spend to their point of sale, closing the loop between the two, and making digital ROI easier to measure and optimise.
These innovations underline how the worlds of digital and physical retail are blurring together. Reinforcing once again that marketers should no longer be thinking in silos. Instead, they must find ways to get their physical and digital channels to work together in ways that drive better business results. With today's platforms, it's more viable than ever for retailers to integrate long-term mobile solutions and other digital functionality into their store processes, with a range of powerful benefits for businesses and retailers alike.
Consider, for example, linking mobile vouchers or coupons to your digital marketing and advertising campaigns. Consumers could download them from your website, receive them via email, or even capture them directly on mobile from print or outdoor media. They could then redeem them by simply swiping their phone at the till point of a local store (found with the aid of the same mobile device in their hand).
That's positive news for your business because it brings people into your physical sales environment, giving you the chance to empower trials or discounts and at the same time, giving your sales teams an opportunity to start building a relationship with these individuals. More importantly, you suddenly have a clear idea of how well your campaigns are performing for you, enabling you to dynamically move spend to channels and messaging that deliver results.
As a further step, you can track the results you're getting from different channels, allowing you to optimise your spending and messaging. An added benefit of mobile-specific communication is that you won't be printing coupons and vouchers any more, saving you printing, paper and distribution costs.
The opportunity becomes particularly exciting when you start linking your loyalty programme to a mobile platform that integrates with your point of sale. In addition to tracking data about how your marketing translates into sales, you can begin to gather the customer data you need for customisation and personalisation of your value proposition.
Leveraging this data scrupulously would enable you to cut less effective marketing costs. For example, you can see what sort of promotions appeal to different customer segments and what customers put in their actual shopping baskets. That, in turn, can inform the promotions and marketing messages you direct their way. And we all know that customers react more positively when receiving offers and information relevant to their needs.
An added bonus of using the mobile phone for loyalty programmes is that your loyalty members don't need to carry a plastic card around. By ensuring that the customer's experience is seamless, you will additionally drive increased loyalty and spend, which could lead to driving new member acquisition.
This shift to a world where physical and digital; marketing and technology; and creativity and data are all colliding is putting enormous pressure on brands to learn new skills and ways of doing business. It also means that IT integrators, creative agencies, shopper marketers, point-of-sale experts, and digital agencies need to learn to collaborate closely to bring clients' business visions to life.
The old distinctions are rapidly disappearing as the world of retail becomes more complex. The conversation has also changed from what we can do in the future, to what we can actually do right now. The biggest takeout for marketers however is that the benefits of integrating physical retail and digital skills can be enormous for organisations that get it right.
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