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Going beyond coupons with contactless communications
By Andrew Davis on Oct 22nd 2014 05:30 PM
Have you noticed everybody is talking about delivering coupons and discounts using contactless communications such as Beacons or NFC?
How the idea of delivering coupons to your smartphone will somehow magically spawn super innovative, hyper targeted, direct response style programs that finally close the loop on attributing how Above / Below The Line marketing directly contributes to sales in-store.
Let me give you the short response from Tapit; It’s a lazy way of thinking about the value of contactless communications.
Now let me rationalise why.
The power of contactless communications is primarily convenience, context and being able to anticipate a person’s needs based on that context. One of the great opportunities for contactless communications lies in retail so let’s use a retail context as our example.
Let’s say the shopper has entered Best Buy. Immediately, we have a strong indicator the shopper wants to buy something in the Electronics category. Based on the shopper browsing in a physical context we can intelligently via a contactless communications platform such as Tapit, understand where the shopper is via Beacon (passively) or NFC (actively).
If the shopper is looking at TVs and taps the Tapit enabled point of sale material using their NFC enabled smartphone do you think delivering some form of discount or coupon is the best type of experience for the user? If you said yes, we believe you’re selling the retailer and customer short. Tapit data from numerous retail deployments tells us that shoppers are craving deeper content and information about products, especially when the value or involvement of the product increases.
Google constantly preach paid search is critical for retailers as it allows retailers to capture in-store showrooming. Newsflash! The keywords people are searching for on their phones in-store (context) aren’t queries like “discount TVs”, “cheap TVs”, “super low cost TVs”, etc. The content sourcing is mostly related to finding out more about a particular product or credible reviews from likeminded shoppers or opinion leaders.
The risk for purely relying on search is the shopper can dictate what content is displayed and thus the retailer loses control of the communication flow with the shopper, added to this they are also losing an opportunity to understand and analyse the behaviour of the shopper as Google is collecting the analytics not the retailer.
As you can see, this is where contactless communications is immensely powerful for retailers and brands. It provides the retailer with an opportunity to add value to the physical retail experience with digital content that is being controlled by the retailer rather than Google and collect the data and analytics around the physical interaction in-store. Last but not least, it’s far more convenient for the shopper as it avoids all those unnecessary keystrokes like typing, opening apps, etc.
Coupons and savings have their place in the marketing value chain however there are more valuable opportunities at play for retailers and brands when it comes to contactless communications. I deliberately haven’t mentioned the various difficulties in redemption of coupons via smartphones at POS systems across various retailers which is an article in itself so I am assuming the reader has some familiarity with those challenges.
More interesting uses of providing coupon or savings style programs is post interaction with contactless communications. Using the Tapit platform, retailers can use their data and analytics to re-target the customer after they have interacted via any of their owned or paid comms channels (email, Mobile App, Web ads, Mobile Ads).
This could be simple as knowing the shopper has interacted with X,Y,Z products in-store and being able to offer them cross-sell opportunities the next time they visit or targeting them with more personalised content such as store location details given you know which store location they interacted with. The challenge here is that retailers need a rich and plentiful library of content as well as a powerful targeting engine to determine which content goes to what user (easier said than done).
When we get to a stage of solving the coupon redemption problem, Tapit are highly interested in something called “Micro-time Value Opportunities” (MtVO), what this means is when a user taps in-store they could be presented with useful content and product information and unique pricing that expires in micro-time (ie 2 minutes) and dynamically counts down on their device, if the user taps again the pricing is removed, sorry you missed it! This is powerful and it has already been proven by m-Commerce in areas such as fashion (was $99.99, offer $79.99, airlines (hurry, 1 seat left), wagering ($50 bonus bet with $50 wager) and Amazon uses it religiously across most product categories.
So the next time you are discussing or brainstorming opportunities using contactless communications for retail we ask you to please don’t think coupons first! There are so many valuable experiences to offer shoppers.
We’re confident you will come up with some amazing, innovative ideas If you take the time to think about it. If you want to discuss your retail ideas further feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org