3 Ways Retail Is Closing The Loop Between Online & Offline Spending

Frictionless ways for retailers to close the loop between a consumer’s online and offline spending behaviour have emerged with the recent introduction of new services offered by Foursquare, AmEx, Shopkick, and Wishpond. Some examples of how these services close the loop include: 1) Foursquare and AmEx’s ‘Loyalty Special’: At SXSW 2011, Foursquare and Amex piloted their new customer loyalty program for merchants with a “Spend $5, Save $5” rewards program. Upon visitng one of 60 participating Austin-based merchants, consumers could check-in with Foursquare to redeem the offer, and integrate their AmEx Card to load the offer to their card. Having made the purchase with their AmEx card, customers received push notifications alerting them that they successfully redeemed the bonus $5 credit on their AmEx card, as well as earned the “Swiped @ SXSW” badge on FourSquare. Why this works: This offering is exceptional because the seamless collaboration between the online and offline experience requires minimal effort on the consumer’s part. The customer does not have to click on a website or enter in a code, it’s all done by an automated service. 2) Shopkick: Simply by walking into a partner store (including Best Buy and Target) with Shopkick’s app installed on your iPhone or Android phone, you receive a notification alerting you of a reward: Kickbucks, a redeemable in-store discount. Why this works: For retailers, this helps solve their number one problem: driving foot traffic to their store. This is a big concern, because the chances of conversion once the customer is in a physical store are very high (20% for fashion stores, 95% for grocery stores), as compared to when they’re shopping online (0.5% – 3%). This allows retailers to offer rewards just after a purchase, thereby creating a better chance of securing brand and store loyalty. Shopkick CEO, Cyriac Roeding, describes it best in a recent interview at Web 2.0 Summit. 3) Wishpond (Local Search): The buying cycle generally starts with a search: a consumer might know the product she wants to buy, and will search for who offers it and for what price. With Wishpond, consumers can now access this information directly on their computers or mobile phone from the convenience of any location. Why this works: For customers, Wishpond offers a wide range of retail options for each product, allowing them to access the information from a computer or mobile device. For retailers, like the Shopkick application, it helps to solve the problem of driving foot traffic to a store. But the advantage Wishpond has over Shopkick is that it informs the consumer about the retailer, whereas Shopkick only works if customer enters a physical store on her own accord.

Bottom Line for Local Businesses

Right now, developers are hungry to bring retailers onboard and try out their new services, which means retailers can get in on the ground floor at a low cost. While these are new ideas and relatively unknown to the general public, having them in your store and educating new-comers will establish you as an authority and make you a resource for the tech-interested crowd. As well, you have the distinct advantage of gaining a wider audience and drawing foot traffic to your store as a result of any one of the above applications. What’s next? Check out how Wishpond works in our new video: Wishpond for Local Merchants

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About the Author:

Wishpond is a simple yet powerful platform for social commerce. Our applications help thousands of businesses around the world exploit the power of the social web to connect with those interested in their products and services.

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