What real-time data brings to in-store experiences

Consumer Products Writer

Today's shoppers are more connected than ever. Mobile technology blurred the lines between digital and offline experiences, with 86 percent of consumers using multiple channels to shop and 40 percent of smartphone users using their devices to search for items in stores. This ecosystem has created new opportunities for CPG leaders to build direct relationships with their consumers through real-time data.

As markets become more competitive and fragmented, however, CPG brands will need mechanisms to connect with consumers faster. That's why CPG leaders are building strategies around real-time data to optimize micromoments in stores. Here are a few example initiatives that are bringing brands closer to their consumers: shelves

Through sensors and embedded computing, CPG leaders have a direct lens into store performance. Rather than relying on second- or third-party data, brands can track sales and monitor quality through real-time tracking. With direct visibility into stores, companies are able to track variables such as product stocking patterns and sales performance. Smart shelves empower CPG leaders with real-time access to stores and retail sales associates. Brands can make decisions based on global and location-based performance views.

Targeted coupons

The average omnichannel consumer spends six times more than in-store shoppers, according to research from Walgreens reported in Drug Store News. This revelation inspired the drugstore giant to test iBeacon technology to provide alerts and coupons when shoppers enter or leave a location. This trend is important for CPG leaders to watch because it introduces a clear window of opportunity to reach shoppers instantly with personalized coupons.

Retailer iQ, the platform that Walgreens chose for its test, integrates with POS systems to create personalized recommendations, integrated shopping lists, targeting capabilities and real-time analytics, Adweek reports With this insight, CPG leaders can gain direct access to store- and consumer-level shopping patterns. Rather than waiting for market research data, Walgreens can make optimizations in real-time.

Smarter window shopping

CPG marketers are leveraging location-based technology to drive foot traffic into retail stores. A Verve study featured in MediaPost analyzed 200 mobile ad campaigns across household product, food and beverage, personal grooming and pet food categories and found that real-time location data helped generate a 74 percent increase in foot traffic, along with a 56 percent lift in visit frequency.

CPG leaders are already using first-party data to inform their targeting decisions, and there is a strong window of opportunity to reach consumers in key moments at the mall or grocery store, eMarketer reports. This information can be integrated with additional data sources related to search, point-of-purchase, social media and loyalty patterns. CPG leaders can assemble these to develop a comprehensive consumer view. Rather than looking back on data collected three months ago, they are relying on mobile to retrieve the signals that they need in real-time.

When it comes to real-time data, CPG leaders are barely scratching the surface. From store shelves to shoppers' mobile devices, brands have a direct line of communication to retail associates, stores and buyers. This global view opens doors for new insights to actively target shoppers. In addition to serving consumers with targeted products, it's important for CPG leaders to take a step back to listen and learn. Every time you target new consumers, you collect additional data points that indicate better ways to reach them. Real-time analytics can help you keep your eyes and ears open to in-the-moment needs.

Reach consumers via all touchpoints with real-time data. Learn how on our IBM Retail Solutions page.