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What Black Friday Tells Us about Omni-channel and How Location Can Help

Black Friday 2015 saw the most tangible evidence to date that retail has changed. While it remains a key day for sales for both consumers and retailers, consumers are shopping in new ways. They are shopping earlier than ever (some stores opened on Thanksgiving afternoon for Black Friday shoppers) and more cleverly than before (price comparisons between local shops is easy to do thanks to a multitude of apps). The holiday shopping season promotions and huge sales peaks of yesteryear have been replaced by year-round provisions, advanced planning, earlier shopping, and mixing both online and in-store purchase channels.

Total in-store shopping was about the same as a year ago, but online sales grew by more than $1 billion, pushing total sales ahead of 2014. Email promotions drove 25 percent more sales compared with 2014, while for the first time ever, the majority of online traffic came from mobile devices driving traffic through improved apps and mobile sites on tablets and smartphones.
What does this mean? It means that shoppers are researching ahead of making a purchase, targeting visits to specific stores and products, with the specific intention of buying. Shopping no longer has borders inside a physical store because consumers no longer shop in one place, at one time, or in one particular manner.
As a result, understanding the physical location along a customer’s pathway to purchase is even more important so retailers can optimize their ability to make a sale. Understand location and how it applies to omni-channel.
Using location, retailers can not only understand how current and past response varies by geography but also how factors such as access and distance to retail centers, travel patterns, and proximity of competitors influence those responses. These factors can be combined with any time window such as time of day, day of the week, week of the year, holidays, and date ranges to help us understand the retail landscape.
Retailers need a platform for location analytics services, data, maps and apps to add value to other enterprise systems, especially from earlier investments. LaaS provides new benefits that cannot be delivered using systems including CRM, BI and Marketing Automation in their traditional ways. Location-as-a-Service (LaaS) can do this. LaaS can help more widely leverage location and generate new understanding. We’ve created a whitepaper to help you understand how. Read it now.

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