Virtual-To-Reality: What to Know About Connecting In-Store and Online Customer Profiles

Marketing teams increasingly look to provide a seamless personalization approach from .com to the fairly new terrain of brick-and-mortar.

A floor employee who can pull personalized recommendations from the shelf and close the loop with customized up-sells and offers at the cashier is a marketer’s dream.

Pimp my cart

Of course, in-store personalization also allows brands to collect supplemental preference information outside of digital interactions. (For example: purchases made offline, items most interested in on the shelves, time spent in the store.)


In-store personalization may be in your future, so here are some high level strategic and production tidbits for marketers to review.
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Is That Guy Talking to Himself?

Remember when the world was filled with professional women and men talking to themselves on the streets, in line, and on the bus? This was strange, until we understood Bluetooth technology, which today completely powers in-store personalization capabilities. Companies like Pinpoint provide the hardware. Bluetooth beacons transmit data at different geographic points in a store: the entrance, each shelf, the accessory stand, etc. These hardware companies can integrate with profile personalization engines like Certona, bridging the gap between online and in-store consumer experiences. In order to work, cellphones must have Bluetooth activated and have the correct app installed. In-store personalization companies say more than 50% of consumers have their Bluetooth enabled as they go about their day. They cite the fact most smartphones come with it auto-enabled and it’s usually left on.

Potential Benefits

If brands can productionalize in-store personalization, the potential benefits are pretty compelling:

  • Realtime personalized offers
  • Personalized guided selling
  • Personalized up-sells
  • Personalized free gifts with purchase
  • Self-service checkout
  • And, the marketing cherry on top: creating a truly seamless customer journey

For more details, see this Usablenet article on the topic.

Two Sides

New standard or trendy flash? For in-store personalization, the measure of success lies in how customers respond. (How marketers respond is not an open question: if it’s bringing more data to the consumer profile, marketers like it.) Today, in-store personalization sits in the pilot stage for some major brands like Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay, which both rolled out Bluetooth beacons in stores this August. Factually it’s too soon to tell how it’s performing, but it seems like an unavoidable new terrain for brands to leverage. What do you think? Keep an eye out for in-store personalization at Macy’s this fall, and currently at Kenneth Cole, one of the so-called veterans in Bluetooth beacon implementation.

As the customer, it’s ultimately what you think and how you respond that matters.

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