Contextual Mobile Marketing Is Driving In-Store Purchases

With mobile taking an increasing role in the general Internet media mix, making it convert into revenue remains a top priority for marketers.

To date, these efforts have revolved around creating reviews on mobile platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor, and general couponing based on apps like Foursquare. In reality, while these are smart and timely, they are missing an opportunity.

Four in five shoppers use their mobile phones to help their purchasing experience according to ComScore. More than 80% of customers use their phones in store and search online while they are there, too.

Understanding customers helps create better in-store opportunities on mobile phones. Now immediate location is allowing retailers to build context.

adidas is working with Google to deliver specific types of content for unique searches to drive foot traffic. The return on investment has been significant with $1.81 yield for every dollar spent. The trick has been building in local extensions into searches so the ads have more context.

On the Gravy app you’ll notice we leverage location and topical interest. This creates more lifestyle context for someone who is trying to find something to do.

In the case of Google you’ll notice that the user has to search. With Gravy it can be a general search or a user selected specific topical area. As technology increases and databases become smarter and more integrated, we expect that once given permission, apps will be able to deliver custom tailored offers to each individual.

Let’s build a hypothetical example to illustrate our point.

Nordstrom keeps a record of everything you buy and have bought for the past decade. It asks you for permission to send you alerts when it has a special offer or one of its annual sales. After agreeing, Nordstrom triggers an algorithm. It matches your location with new in-store stock that matches your prior purchasing profile with a special unique customer coupon just for you. The coupon is only good for three hours, basically giving you the reason to come into the store while you are in the area.

The most important part of the equation is getting permission for shoppers and app users. Permission moves the needle from intrusive and possibly creepy contextual marketing to valuable useful and timely information.

Applications are critical in delivering these highly customized types of in-store offers. App users tend to be loyal to the application’s topical interest or brand. Applications ask customers for personal data and permission as part of the set-up, so would-be customers identify themselves as likely customers by downloading and using the application frequently. And they are a dominant part of the mobile media mix with 1.2 billion people currently using applications, and expected 4.4 billion by 2017.

The other primary venue for delivering unique customized opportunities is via text message. Brands need to garner the texting number via a web site or an application. Good news: Accenture recently found that 64% of US and UK consumers would offer their number to get personalized offers when shopping at brick and mortar stores based on previous purchase history.

What do you think of the contextual push to offer in-store coupons and deals?