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Retailers: It’s Time to Connect In-Store & Online

Written by: Cheryl Morris, VP Marketing

  • 40% of consumers first log onto a social network for content to read/browse online
  • 50% of shoppers check prices on their mobile devices when they are in a store
  • 65% of consumers delay a purchase if they find a lower price by using their phone in store

The statistics go on forever (McKinsey), but the takeaway for marketers is that connecting in-store and online behavior centers around mobile and social.

So where do your integrated marketing campaigns typically fall? Are they more heavily focused to online or offline? Are your campaigns mobile friendly/focused or more digitally traditional across desktop/laptop? And where’s your perfect intersection?


The U.S. Census Bureau recently released U.S. specific Q2 Retail E-Commerce Sales data and E-commerce sales as a percent of total retail sales was at an all-time high at 5.8%.


Total e-commerce sales for Q2 was roughly $64.8B a 4.9% increase from Q1 and an 18% YOY increase from 2012, so while 5.8% isn’t a huge percentage, the opportunity in revenue is massive even with minor shifts in percentage points.

It’s clear that at $64.8B in sales per quarter, e-commerce for retailers is no longer a consideration but a norm.

It’s also clear that at $1,126B in sales per quarter, retail sales are stronger than ever which is good news with the holiday season on the horizon.

So how do we connect the two?

1.) Start With The Proper Online Channels:

Since retail lives in real-time and consists of physical stores, social and mobile are the most applicable mediums for marketers to focus on.

Why social & mobile? – Remember the statistics in the beginning of this article? Customers are using their phones when shopping, and their using social media more and more as a part of the buying process. These trends will only proliferate as time goes on, but the reality is that there are millions if not billions of dollars on the line for those advertisers that can execute quickly (and perfection isn’t the most important piece of the puzzle here)

2.) Start Simple:

Connecting on and offline sounds complex, and it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. For instance, think about a customer in-store who makes a purchase. Their email is often captured. Well if you as a company could take all the email addresses of customers that purchase in-store, match up those same email addresses to the ones saved in your CRM, and finally upload the in-store purchaser emails to Facebook then you’d have a specific target audience across on and offline.

Now that’s one of the most simplistic examples of connecting on and offline data, but imagine what you could do with that simple connection.

– Understand purchase patterns by channel, by day, by hour, by location…etc
– Run local sales campaigns
– Promote in-store specials
– Run correlation tests between on and offline purchase behavior
– Include TV/Radio/Print promos

…the list goes on and on and can/will/should get much more complex as you become more familiar with the multi-channel approach. But start small. Show simple wins that can be backed up with clear and concise data.

3.) Test Using a Lifetime Value Performance Marketing SaaS platform on Facebook:

How convenient of me to suggest using a SaaS platform like Nanigans and a social community like Facebook considering I work at Nanigans. I joined Nanigans, however, for a single reason and that’s to reengineer the way people think about performance marketing at scale, which is something I truly believe we have the opportunity to do here.

A prime example of this type of transformation is exactly the opportunity we have in front of us here, connecting on and offline.

You will need a few things:

1.) Customer Lifetime Value Platform Technology:

When it comes to connecting on and offline, the focus isn’t on CPA or ROI, it’s on lifetime value. Think about it, the mere fact that we’re connecting on and offline means that our campaign is now a living story in the form of a brand, that customers will engage with throughout their day, week, month, year, life. Your optimization technology needs to follow suit and optimize towards your best customers who have adopted your brand as a part of their lifestyle, and not just during a random Facebook perusing session on their desktop.

2.) Predictive and Real Time Bidding:

Your optimization shouldn’t be happening every week, every day or even every hour, it should be continuously alive and always updating. That’s how it works in real life, people walk in and out of stores, the live in real time, of course they do, so optimize with them, not against them.

3.) Significant Audience Size:

While proving small wins is important during initial on/offline tests, having a large enough audience is imperative to testing and iteration. Thankfully, Facebook has over 1 billion people incorporating every demographic an advertiser would need.

4.) Active Community:

Four out of five daily users log on via smartphone or tablet on Facebook. Enough said.

5.) Tracking:

In order for an on/offline campaign to be successful you’ll need to optimize based on accurate data and present results via measureable revenue numbers. None of that is possible without proper tracking, so make sure that “tracking” is one of the first topics of discussion in your planning meetings.

Next Steps:

Our industry has been saying “this is the year of mobile” since I can remember and it was BS up until recently. We can confidently now say mobile is a standard not an “up and coming.” Connecting on and offline is in a very similar place that mobile was a year ago in the sense that there’s a lot of buzz about on/offline but we’re just not seeing it at scale. That won’t be the case in 12 months. The technology is here, the creative is here, the people are here. Let’s make the connection.

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