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Era Of Personalized Marketing...or is it Hyper-personalization?

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!! Yes! Yes! Its Superman and the consumer is the true superman in today's world. From spray and pray to personalized to hyper-personalized marketing - we are looking at a paradigm shift in how the marketers reach out to consumers. This is quite easy to achieve for online sites and we see if on amazon, google, flipkarts, facebook etc etc. Its pretty common to do some shopping or browse through some products on amazon and then log onto facebook and see an ad for these products. The challenge is how do we achieve this level of personalized marketing in brick and mortar scenario and retailers are lapping up new technologies like Geofencing, Beacons, Smart mirrors  etc to rise up to this challenge. 

A Geofence is a virtual perimeter that you define around your virtual store. If a customer enters this "virtual geographical location your application identifies and can send across a pre-defined message to the customer. So for e.g. you can use Geofencing to identify your most loyal customers that are near your store, look at their purchase history and send out offers that might be of interest to them. This will create a personalized marketing experience and also pull them to the store, even if they were not planning to walk in. Now imagine another use case for a fashion retailer and the customer walks into your store. Using Geofence you are immediately notified that is customer's birthday and you quickly arrange for a bouquet and have a birthday celebration! This will create immense customer loyalty and personalized experience.

While all this is good, we do have some challenges with Geofence. The first one being, does the customer require to have your mobile app and do you always need the customer to be logged into the app? Well, let's accept it - most users will not have your mobile application up and running all the time. So you mobile app should be able to run in the background but importantly it should not consume much battery or data. The other important point to factor in is what should be the perimeter of your Geofence? This has to be designed based on the use cases and there will no one rule that fits all. For e.g. if you are in an urban area, you want to have a smaller radius like 100 meters. In indoor locations, like malls, with WiFi availability, this can be further reduced based on the density of  WiFi's. More the no. of wifi spots, you can have higher accuracy and can reduce your geofence radius. If you are near highways or in rural areas with lower density, then you should consider expanding this radius.

Lastly, it is also important to not send too many messages which have no context. So evaluate your business use case and then create an offering which doesn't spams the customers but provides them with relevant and contextualized message.

An even more personalized marketing can be achieved by using Beacons.  Beacons are bluetooth devices that employee lower energy bluetooth wireless technology that help to pin point the location of customer  in indoor spaces. This helps marketers to identify the precise location of the customer and send out contextualized message based on the location of the customer. For e.g. a beacon could be placed at the entrance of the store and when a customer walks in the retailer can send a message to join the loyalty program. On the other hand if an existing customer walks into the store and the person using the retailer's app, then a beacon could identify this and notify to the CRM system. You could then run real time analytics on the customer to offer a personalized offer based on customer purchasing history. Another example could be if a VIP customer walks into the store and it's his/her birthday.  Beacons could be used to identify the customer and the store manager could quickly organize a small birthday cake or gift for the customer, thereby creating a great customer experience! Beacons are already being implemented by a lot of retailers and we will see of lot of interesting implementations in the coming years.

As you can see, we are now moving to an era where the physical and online marketing are merging and personalized messaging is the new mantra of the marketers.

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