By  Steve Isaac, Content Marketing Producer, Carto 

Rising e-commerce has changed the retail game and continues to grow, with global online sales hitting $2.3 trillion (approx. RM9.3 trillion) in 2017. With estimates that that figure will reach over $4 trillion (approx. RM16 trillion) by 2021, many experts have previously asserted that offline retail is entering its twilight years.

These assertions are supported by what feels like a news story every day bemoaning a rash of store closings from companies of every stripe, including those previously hailed as titans of brick and mortar retail. Last month (June), for example, Sears announced the closure of 72 stores, Foot Locker announced 110 closures, an 11% reduction in their total number of locations, and the nearly bicentenarian Lord & Taylor, announced a closure of 10 of their 50 total stores, including their flagship 5th Avenue location.

Looking at brands Malaysians are more familiar with, according to several reports, Adidas and H&M are among the few who are looking to close down some of its physical stores in an effort to increase e-commerce sales.

In an article by The Edge, Retail Group Malaysia managing director Tan Hai Hsin was quoted saying: “Online shopping will not replace you [retail stores] but you have to learn how to capture your customers…”

 

Omnichannel Marketing – Bridging the World and the Web

For brick and mortar retailers to thrive in this environment, many of them are adopting omnichannel strategies, engaging the consumer not just in-store but also online across multiple platforms and devices where a particular shopper may live.

In Malaysia for instance, we can observe a cross over of retailing formats and according to Tan, this trend will continue.

He said: “From offline to online, many stores have started to offer online services, such as Tesco, Jaya Grocer, Borders, and Sen Heng.

“[For stores that cross over] from online to offline, we have FashionValet, Xiaomi, Naelofar, Buku Fixi, and Twenty3,” he elaborated.

More than simply maintaining a functional online presence, a true omnichannel marketing strategy maintains fidelity of brand and experience at every touch point.

Today, key location intelligence techniques and new data streams serve to improve these omnichannel business plans, bolster brick and mortar retailers embracing change, and even bring previously online exclusive sellers to establish storefronts of their own.

Related: What Online Retailers Can Learn by Mapping Sales Data

 

Targeted Geomarketing

A successful omnichannel marketing strategy requires retailers to keep their thumb squarely on the pulse of who their customers are, being able to deliver an experience to a target customer both before they walk into a store and after they leave.

Identifying key demographic groups, understanding where they are concentrated, and how they engage the world around them, is key to serving ads and creating touch points that will drive return business to a retailer.

A Mobile Data analysis tool like Vodafone Analytics lets geomarketers explore demographic data for valuable insights. The below example shows the demographic makeup of neighborhoods in Barcelona.

Unlike census data, a telco data analytics tool like this can provide deeper insights such as work day population demographics vs. weekend demographics.

Neighborhood Demographics

Regardless of what a retailer is selling, a deeper demographic picture can allow for greater targeting of key demographic groups based on age and gender as well as where they spend their time.

This kind of information is critical to the geomarketer targeting online ads, managing programmatic, audience targeted outdoor advertising and billboards, or picking a spot for an experiential pop-up store.

Similarly, mapping out billboard locations and nearby businesses as above can clue marketers into where they can get the best bang for their buck.

In addition to traditional demographic data sources such as census data, and mobile data streams, credit card spend data is a powerful new data stream that retailers can draw on. This aggregated and anonymised transaction data can help marketers to answer challenging questions about marketing performance.

 

Site Planning Optimised for Omnichannel

For the retailer looking to engage with their customers both online and offline, selecting the location for your in-person interactions is a large part of the omnichannel marketing strategy and should be informed using location data.

Whether you are setting up a new brick-and-mortar location and want to optimise for demographics and transportation, you are trying to avoid cannibalising an existing location, or you are setting up a pop-up store that will maximize foot traffic at key moments, location intelligence applications can inform the site planning process.

Site Performance

Using a tool like CARTO’s Reveal allows retailers to measure the impact of a new location, understand demographics around a new site, and predict how future sites will perform. The above map shows not only key demographic insights but also nearby points of interest. For omnichannel marketers, these points of interest represent opportunities for offline experiential co-marketing and potential leads for online partnerships.

CARTO’s new Foot Traffic data stream combines mobile events and GPS data to measure the number of pedestrians in transit to and from distinct locations. Users can leverage insights about foot traffic to make critical business decisions such as site selection and to inform omnichannel efforts such as proximity marketing via sms to target demographics.

Article first appeared on the Carto Blog.

 

Lava is an authorised Partner of Carto in Malaysia and with more than a decade of experience in the industry, we’re proud to say we’re one of the leading cloud consultants and service providers in the Asia Pacific region.

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