By Simon Harris, Sales Director, eyos
More people than ever before are now shopping online. Nearly 2.14 billion people worldwide buy goods and services via websites and apps which is up from 1.6 billion in 2016. This rise has prompted much concern about online retail and the death of brick-and-mortar retail and while there is some truth to that sentiment, it is perhaps more accurate to state that we are simply in another phase of the retail industry’s evolution – one that blends in-store and online retail.
According to a report by Deloitte into consumer shopping preferences – as more consumers shop online, they also continue to enjoy shopping in-store. In fact, average transaction values show that in-store sales were about 10% higher in July 2021 than in March 2019 and retail projections indicate that brick-and-mortar retail will grow between 2.6% and 3.4% in 2025.
Most major retailers currently have both an online and physical retail presence and customers now embark on a shopping journey that does not replace the in-store for the online experience but instead combines the two. Customers are looking to create a purchase journey that suits their exact needs and so the online shopping experience enhances or complements the in-store experience and vice versa. Shoppers can inform themselves and price shop online but still enjoy going to stores to see, try on, touch and buy items in person.
Picture the different journeys a customer takes when making a purchase – 1) You shop for shoes in-store and then decide to make the purchase at a later date online, 2) You see an Instagram ad for shoes online and make a direct visit to the website purchase, 3) You interact with a brand ad for shoes on Instagram, explore the different options online but decide to visit a store before making a purchase. This omni-channel shopping experience is growing at a steady pace, from 23% in April – June 2019 to 26% in 2021 during those same months.
While this is a seamless shopping experience for consumers, for retailers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain consumer insight, understand where the purchase decision takes place, particularly when the sale happens offline. In the first two scenarios, it is easy to find out whether a conversion resulted from a digital ad campaign, a social media post or a direct visit to the website. It is also easier to calculate the return on advertising spend (ROAS). As the sale was made offline in the last scenario, it is hard to know what drove the customer to make the purchase, calculate the ROAS or even evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Offline conversion tracking makes this possible for retailers. Facebook and Google offer useful tools for tracking offline conversions with processes that need to be manually set up to accurately track how a customer interacts with a brand both online and offline. However, for retailers with hundreds if not thousands of physical stores, constantly feeding the same offline data to all ad platforms separately requires technical expertise and can be a daunting task that is often prone to errors.
The current state of offline tracking conversion is not as effective to calculate omnichannel results for omnichannel strategies but eyos offers a simple solution that allows retailers to see a complete picture of the customer journey across all channels.
Through digital receipts, eyos simplifies the process of connecting offline data with digital ad platforms to help retailers understand the offline value of online ads. This eliminates associated costs as well as manual errors related to the importing of offline data. Additionally, having complete visibility into how customers complete their purchase cycle and knowing the accurate ROI across all platforms can help in improving the efficiency of digital ads as retailers know what is working.
That’s not all, retailers can continue interacting with offline customers once they have left the store by sharing recommendations for other items, an exclusive catalogue of upcoming collections or even personalised discount codes. They can also track the journey those referrals take before the customers make another purchase – in-store or online.
We have supported over 200 customers in 40 countries to track their offline conversions including New Look, a leading UK and Ireland fashion retailer. Since integrating eyos retail in 2015, New Look has been able to increase the accuracy of the customer data captured in-store by 95% and has had 84% of its customer base who opted for digital receipts, sign up for marketing updates. Thanks to consented, accurate customer database, the brand can now push offline traffic online and vice versa. As a result, they have seen over £34million in-store revenue attributed to Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns.
As more and more retailers hold a combination of both online and physical stores, it is crucial that they have an efficient means of tracking offline conversion as part of their overall marketing strategy. When implemented properly, offline tracking conversion provides a holistic view of a customer’s omnichannel purchase journey which is a gamechanger that’ll make campaigns and businesses more successful.