Real-Time Customer Offer Engines allow a retailer to deliver personalized promotions to target customers. These offers are based on real-time interactions and transactions that simultaneously trigger a reaction from a retailer. As these systems become more and more sophisticated, a consumer’s geo-location (in-store hotspot or GPS tracked), recent purchase or activity on social media can produce a custom offer. These engines are even going as far as to tapping into everything from transactions made through phone calls and SMS messages, credit card processes and the use of apps on your cell phone.
A major mobile phone carrier in Canada just announced they are the first in the North to join in on the party, with several apparel, electronics and food chains already on board for the launch. At a cost to the retailers, they will be enabled to send targeted promotional text messages to consumers (who have agreed to the service) as they pass by their stores. The mobile phone carriers will take advantage of the GPS tracking in smartphones and use it for to increases the chances of a consumer entering their store. Consumer studies have suggested an almost 50% increase in probability that use of this system would cause them to walk through the doors of said store. One retailer wanted to go as far as to set up a geo-fence around their competitor, sending a message about their store as someone approached, in hopes of changing their plans. That was deemed too inappropriate by the carrier, and as of now will not be used in common practice.
Gartner claims that only a small fraction of Tier 1 retailers are currently using this method of promotion, suggesting this trend is on the rise in the coming year. Those that are, are generally exploiting a customer’s location through in-store hotspots and are monitoring the consumers voice on social media, most notably on Twitter. Our ability to instantaneously read Big Data is advancing the adoption of these real-time driven practices, moving away from a strictly point of sale based promotions that is typically analyzed weeks later at a head office.
Ensuring a retailer is offering relevant and meaningful promotion to their consumers is a key to the success of this marketing method. I’ve recently received a series of offers from companies I’ve purchased from, suggesting me options on services and products that were certainly not properly targeted towards me. Whether it be geographical or demographic error within the offers, a delicate approach has to be taken when speaking to a customer. Rest assured my correct information was entered into their systems, and therefore responsible reporting and sorting of our data is essential in maintaining a customer’s loyalty. The speed at which this offer engine can run is only as good as the relevance in the results it is automatically sending back.
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