In 2002 Tom Cruise starred in the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report. The basic plot was a special team of law enforcement officers in the year 2054 could predict who was going to commit a crime, using people and technology, and they would arrest the perpetrator before the crime was committed. In addition to using technology to prevent crime there were also scenes within the movie where pedestrians walking through a mall were served up targeted advertisements. They were based simply on who was walking by a window or wall in a shopping mall, which seemed outlandish at the time. Who knew less than a decade after the release of the movie, the conversation would begin around serving up advertisements and offers to shoppers in a store based upon preferences?
In 2015 retailers have put in-store beacon technology in place to blast offers to shoppers’ smartphones while in in the store. A shopper opts in for an in-store offer by downloading a retailer’s mobile app, toggling on the Bluetooth option on his or her smartphone, and sharing their location. Two recent examples of innovation around in-store beacons are Target Corporation and Facebook. According to a Mobile Commerce Daily article “Target innovates in-store beacon marketing with newsfeed-like content stream”, Target has recently introduced a newsfeed service into their app called Target Run, which runs across the Target App’s home screen and the content is based upon the location of the opted-in shopper. In the same article Target spokesman Eddie Baeb indicates “We want to save guests time and money by helping them find what they’re looking for, discover new products and receive offers and services that are relevant and timely”. Some companies are not as concerned about an in-store shopping as they are about strengthening their core offerings. According to the online publication re/code, Facebook is Handing out Free Beacons to Retailers, which they have designed, with an eye towards enhancing their advertisement capabilities with location-specific advertisements.
The advantages of sending the right offer to the right customer at the right time are obvious. What is not obvious is the correct strategy for taking advantage of in-store beacon technology. Analytics can help, specifically a flexible data discovery platform which can address the following important topics:
- In-store technology like beacons or camera systems are not traditional data sources. In this scenario a retailer needs the ability to pull data from multiple data sources to connect shopping patterns, offers, traffic, inventory, and staffing to make use of the data streaming in from new technologies which may or may not be behind the corporate firewall.
- An upgrade to in-store technologies will create new shopping patterns and sell through curves. A retailer’s supply chain must be optimized to handle new and different shopping patterns created by the new technology which requires end-to-end supply chain visibility to ensure appropriate service levels.
- Analytics must be at the point of decision which is with the business user in the store, in the warehouse, and at corporate.
Qlik is helping retailers and software companies who serve retailers throughout the globe handle new technologies introduced into the store, the warehouse, or in corporate. Try it out for yourself with the Qlik Omni-Channel Analytics Demonstration System which analyzes data streaming in from 5 channels including mobile.