Jo-Ann Fabric uses in-store Wi-Fi data to fuel targeted ad efforts

Dive Brief:

  • Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores recently finished installing Wi-Fi in all its 850 stores, and is aiming to use the in-store networks to serve ads and promotional discounts to customers who register and opt-in, AdAge reports.

  • The Wi-Fi gear was provided by Meraki, a unit of Cisco Systems. Customers sign up to use the Wi-Fi and provide an email address; information collected through an in-store network gets routed through a data analytics platform from Euclid Analytics platform and is integrated with Jo-Ann's central CRM data hub, which is managed by AgilOne, and its Oracle Responsys email system.

  • In recent months, Jo-Ann also leveraged the Wi-Fi coverage in its stores to create and run a successful targeted ad campaign on Facebook. The ads were aimed at consumers who had used the in-store Wi-Fi, along with look-alike consumers modeled on characteristics associated with those opt-in Wi-Fi users. Those ads resulted in six times the number of store visits compared to ads aimed at standard Facebook look-alike segments.

Dive Insight:

As more retailers look to shape omnichannel shopping experiences for their customers, an lot of efforts are focused on getting them to look down at their smartphones while they are in brick-and-mortar stores, as strange as that may sound. Some of the thinking is that customers will be using their phones in stores and as part of the shopping process anyway. Giving them Wi-Fi coverage allows them to get off their mobile data networks — which often burden them with usage limits — and once you have their attention on Wi-Fi, you can offer them something to make that store visit a little more special, while also pick up some data points that could feed future marketing efforts.

In the case of Jo-Ann Fabric, it is encouraging shoppers to register for Wi-Fi by offering them a coupon to use in its stores, and that generally will be the key to ensuring customers keep using the networks and keep feeding data to the retailers. Serving up targeted ads and using data on customer store visits to trigger re-targeting emails are techniques intended to help treat customers in a more personalized way, but they are often likely to be just as happy with a coupon or promotional discount (possibly happier if those re-targeting emails become too frequent.)

The technology provided by Euclid is key to helping Jo-Ann Fabric analyze customer patterns and behavior, and send them ads or re-targeting e-mails later on. The Euclid system can recognize when customers who have opted-in via Wi-Fi in the past are again visiting a particular store. The Wi-Fi network, in combination with the Euclid system, essentially becomes the equivalent of the sharp-eyed store associate with a good memory who recognizes recurring customers.

A variety of retailers have in-store Wi-Fi coverage, and they use it in different ways. At a Staples Workbar co-working space, it's an amenity to encourage people to do their work there, and hopefully buy something from Staples when they inevitably take a break. Target, like Jo-Ann Fabric, offers coupons to shoppers who sign up. Maybe it seems like a natural offering only for retailers like Starbucks or Staples where customers might sit and surf for a while, but any retailer that is serious about analytics and about using technology to reinvigorate and repurpose brick-and-mortar outlets should probably consider it.

Filed Under: Technology