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Retailers should look beyond beacons to drive relevancy during holidays


According to Juniper’s recent report on consumer mobile context and location services, marketers can leverage the prevalence of mobile usage to drive consumer engagement and sales by offering location-based and contextual offers, which have shown to resonate well with consumers this year. Experts believe this holiday season is the perfect time to fully dive into these efforts.

“Contextual relevance can be invoked during seasonal promotions to drive products that are more relevant at a given time for example gifts, holiday travel or prepping your home for the holidays,” said Sarah Hodkinson, director of offers and marketing at Paypal Media Network, Boston.

Setting a reminder
Beacons are hot right now. Retailers are leveraging beacons once customers are inside their stores, but they must not forget about other ways to use mobile to drive local relevancy with holiday right around the corner.

“Beacons and contextual advertising are two technologies that serve different use cases,” Ms. Hodkinson said. “Beacons are great at capturing shoppers in store in the moment to drive upsell and cross sell.

“Contextual ads serve a multitude of uses throughout the consumer lifecycle, from acquisition to engagement and conversion.”

In fact, according to a new G/O Digital survey, 79 percent of moms and 75 percent of dads are more likely to make in-store purchases when presented with locally relevant and personalized deals.

Furthermore, local Facebook offers are in high demand. Seventy-seven percent of moms and 72 percent of dads believe localized deals and offers on Facebook are important enough to affect the food and beverage items they drop into their grocery shopping carts.

A recent series of advertisements delivered to a Mobile Commerce Daily reporter on her Facebook News Feed page showed how contextual relevance based on location is getting more sophisticated.

Being from Georgia but currently living in New Jersey, the reporter received ads for t-shirts reading, “You can take the girl out of Georgia, but you can’t take the Georgia out of the girl,” and “Just a Georgia girl living in a New Jersey world.”

“In the example of the T-shirt ads on Facebook, it is interesting that location is being leveraged based on where the user came from in relation to where they are now, rather than merely focusing on current location in a vacuum,” Ms. Hodkinson said. “Leveraging location over time creates contextual relevance.”

In response
Consumers enjoy relevant information but can also feel intruded from these efforts.

“Location and privacy is a challenging topic,” said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “It goes beyond seeking consumer permission or waiting for regulation from Washington.

“Jules Polonetsky from the Future of Privacy Forum talks about the ‘Theory of Creepy’ and how we are in unchartered territory with location-based marketing and where we need to make a judgment as marketers based on what feels appropriate.”

As consumers see these highly personal offers more frequently, they are likely to adapt and begin to appreciate the relevancy. As holiday will cause many consumers to feel overwhelmed, these relevant offers can be delivered in the right way at the right time to alleviate a strong surge of stress that consumers face during the hectic season.

“There’s a difference between creepy and relevant,” Ms. Hodkinson. “The onus is on the retailer to ensure that the ad is relevant and engenders the desired response from the consumer.

“By measuring results retailers can better understand how to strike that balance in achieving relevancy without going so far as to turn consumers off.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York