By Alex Romanov
Point of sale (POS) technologies are increasingly popular for managing marketing, loyalty programs, and transactions. This is due to fact that the real action happens when customers are in the store.
Customers are more likely to make a purchase when they receive an offer at the POS rather than a coupon via email or snail mail. It’s the inverse of the old “out of sight, out of mind” saying—the products are in sight, so customers are more likely to buy.
Collecting Customer Information
Proximity marketing solutions take advantage of this fact, transmitting messages to customers who are within range via an antenna—often integrated with digital signage—that detects passing mobile phones. A well-designed proximity marketing solution protects consumer privacy by using Bluetooth or WiFi technologies to transmit opt-in messages and refrains from collecting consumer information. However, it generates valuable data nonetheless, letting merchants know which offers consumers prefer and providing information on in-store dwell time, and overall foot traffic patterns.
When combined with other POS information, such as cash register receipts and loyalty program statistics, the data becomes even more valuable. Using these types of technologies to engage customers and generate data is typically more effective than application-based marketing. It doesn’t require customers to download anything, and it leverages technical assets that the customer already has installed and available.
The ability to offer passing customers two different items—an ice cream cone or a soft drink, for example—and determine in real time which product generates the most interest gives retailers unprecedented marketing insights. When data is collected over time and viewed alongside other POS data, a picture emerges, much like the customer profiles that successful ecommerce sites generate to continuously improve their sales trajectory.
Imagine a grocery chain with POS proximity marketing capabilities, a digital loyalty program, and cash register receipt data. By combining all the POS data feeds, the store could detect a regular customer’s arrival, instantly scan recent purchases, and place them in the context of the customer’s long-term sales data, factor in inventory data to determine which items are a top sales priority and deliver a tailor-made offer to the customer’s mobile phone—all in just seconds.
Online merchants have combined customer profiles, sales, and inventory data for years, continuously improving customer engagement, making micro-targeted offers, and building multibillion-dollar ecommerce operations through ever more sophisticated applications of data. Until recently, it wasn’t possible for offline merchants to replicate that success due to the nature of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and shoppers’ increased willingness to share information with merchants in exchange for something of value, data is now a key success factor in the brick-and-mortar space. Data generated from POS technology is giving retailers the insights they need to accurately gauge and respond to customer preferences and deliver more relevant offers in real time.
The Data Product
This is changing the way savvy retailers manage their stores, marketing programs, and customer outreach. While merchants still primarily think of POS solutions as a tool to move products and facilitate transactions, it’s increasingly clear that POS data is a product in its own right. SW
Alex Romanov is the CEO of iSIGN Media.
Dec2014, Software Magazine