How Mobile Is Changing In-Store Marketing


Shoppers are in control in the digital age. They are experienced and savvy, using their mobile devices to research, compare prices, find discounts, read reviews, and ask their social networks to help guide them on their path to purchase. Now that more than half of digital traffic comes from mobile devices and apps, marketers recognize the importance of making in-store communications mobile-first.

Agency clients recognize that understanding digital through a shopper’s eye has become vital to their digital and in-store mobile marketing strategies. Cross-channel shoppers (the customer that uses a combination of several different channels for the same purchase) are more valuable to retailers than other shoppers. Target them in-store through mobile devices has become a leading digital shopping tactic.

Market Track found 53.6% of U.S. grocery buyers used a smartphone while shopping. This figure went as high as 75% for those younger than 30. The most popular activity was checking lists (72%); followed by finding digital coupons (65%). The study also found men more likely than woman to search for discounts while in the store.

Mobile is changing in-store marketing, but do we understand how marketers are creating a unique experience for in-store guests? Here are 4 ideas to help guide marketers’ mobile strategies and gain insight into how mobile is changing in-store marketing.


Personalization and one-on-one marketing is a priority for marketers. There is an increased importance of delivering their messages at the right time in the right context. Personalized mobile offers play a significant role in the digital shopper strategy.

Employing techniques that reach people in spaces where they are in “shopper mode” will be critical to success. A recent eMarketer reported revealed “driving sales through personalized mobile offers was considered the leading opportunity among the most successful US retailers, at 68%.”

Offline Web Analytics

The second-ranked opportunity for U.S. retailers was using data to gain insight into shopper behavior, at 57%. We are finding more marketers are using location-based technologies (proximity marketing) to directly communicate with customers through their mobile devices, as well as collect valuable data and analytics on the consumer, their purchase habits, and demographics. Some examples of proximity marketing include retail check-ins, local marketing, and distribution of media at concerts or events.

U.S. marketers in the consumer goods industry used marketing analytics more than seven other industries (including retail) to make decisions regarding consumer insight. Introducing web analytics into the offline world allows retailers to analyze shopper behavior and movement in their stores. The data is used to improve a consumer’s shopping experience, grow customer segments, and measure whether foot traffic is impacted by mobile campaigns.

Use of Smart Technology

A 2016 eMarketer report stated that retailers have been experimenting with “smart shelf” technology, which uses facial recognition to determine a shopper’s age, gender, and other characteristics to serve video ads at the register, as well as on-shelf sensors to track replenishment and sales patterns. The data gathered could also potentially be used in programmatic mobile ads, which target specific audiences and demographics via automated real-time bidding for online display, social advertising, mobile, and video campaigns.

Partnering with Tech Startups

Retailers are finding new ways to reach shoppers, including partnering with tech startups to test ideas such as transparency in food packaging. The experiment enabled consumers to scan the item for more information including ingredient details, freshness, how it was prepared, and where the food came from.

As traditional and digital marketing teams compete for the same budgets, there is an increased need to understand the consumer’s buying journey and the touch points that lead to their purchases.

We will continue to see digital teams using shopper marketing strategies and analytics to influence their decisions and drive sales. We are excited to see what new technology comes out next!

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