River Island has become the first UK fashion retailer to use Google’s Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) in an effort to bridge its on and offline presence.
Based on location technology in a user’s mobile device, the LIA will display River Island products directly to shoppers searching for relevant items nearby. For instance, and as per the image below, if the user is on the hunt for a black dress or a bomber jacket in their standard Google search, it will surface River Island product first and foremost (listed as sponsored and also including a map on the ‘shopping’ search page, as well as distance to that particular store).
To achieve that, a retailer must provide a well-organised inventory of product and have set a high enough bid within the Google system. Clicking on the ad for the user will then take them to a Google ‘Local Storefront’ page, where they are provided with further information on the product, retailer, price, nearby location, opening hours and a link to purchase online if applicable.
In searching for the most seamless shopping experience for its consumer, River Island elected to only feature products available both in store and online in the ads. To do so, the company solicited the collaborative efforts of its retail, digital marketing and IT departments, along with the help of inventory feed provider Intelligent Reach for a unity of product offerings.
The project has proven successful thus far, with sales numbers climbing accordingly: 6% of clicks on the mobile-based LIAs resulted in a store visit, an increase of 17% compared to standard shopping campaigns. When looking at return on investment, the numbers were equally compelling with a 15% rise in return-on-ad-spend and a 33% increase in total sales (both on and offline).
Josie Cartridge, customer director at River Island, said: “We’re pleased with the results of our LIA activity so far and it’s good to see targeted mobile activity driving sales in-store as well as online. Mobile offers us lots of opportunity to enhance the shopping experience through location technology and stock information and we’re excited to keep working with Google and developing in this area.”
In an effort to keep the growth consistent, River Island plans to invest further into its LIA strategy. The retailer has expressed interest in using in-store beacons to collect even more accurate store visit data which can be applied towards its LIA automated bidding strategy.
It also recently launched its Christmas campaign starring Caroline Vreeland and Shea Marie of Peace Loves Shea as they get ready for a festive night out. You can also check out the rest of this year’s seasonal films, here.
If there’s one thing that’s grabbed everyone’s attention this past fortnight, it has of course been Pokémon Go. The augmented reality mobile game has reportedly gained as many users as Uber and Tinder, topped Twitter’s daily users, and started seeing people spend more time with it than in Facebook. It also caused Nintendo’s share price to increase by more than $7bn.
Beyond that, the news to know in the fashion, digital comms and technology space this week (and there’s a lot of it!), spans everything from an experiment with DNA in textile design to the plethora of changes at the helm of the industry’s luxury houses, the impact artificial intelligence might have on brands, not to mention how we’re faring with virtual reality so far…
Fashion that gets under the skin – designer creates leather prototypes grown from Alexander McQueen DNA (as pictured) [NY Times]
Retailers needn’t just jump on Pokémon Go as a sponsorship opportunity, but use it as a starting point to explore all the options around location-based marketing, writes xAd’s Theo Theodorou.
It may have been a time of chokers, bomber jackets, double denim and all things grunge, but the 90s were also the decade that Pokémon was born. For millennials, Japan’s Pokémon was a huge part of growing up. Fast-forward 20 years, and just like those fashion trends, the game is back. Now instead of trading cards, fans are running around the world catching characters in the augmented reality game Pokémon Go.
Released officially on July 6, 2016, the game uses a player’s mobile GPS to show a virtual version of their world populated with Pokémon characters to catch. In less than a week, it reportedly became the number one downloaded app on the app store, gained as many users as Uber and Tinder, topped Twitter’s daily users, and started seeing people spend more time with it than in Facebook. It also caused Nintendo’s share price to increase by more than $7bn.
Aside from realising just how many consumers love games, what can fashion retailers learn from this newest internet craze; one that gamifies our location in the real world, in real-time?
Pokémon Go has tapped into the demographic that grew up with its card trading format. Now mobile-savvy and tech obsessed, this generation are demonstrating an immense appetite for a fully online/offline immersed world.
Pokémon Go is essentially the latest poster child for the power of location. Just like all successful location-aware apps like Uber, Tinder and Just Eat, the game delivers a valuable, fully merged experience, and retailers want in on the engagement this connected approach is creating.
A huge 89% of all retail sales are still happening in brick and mortar stores, yet the world is simultaneously becoming increasingly mobile-first. As a result, it is imperative that retailers link the two worlds. As consumers are influenced by more than one channel now, it is crucial that brands understand how online advertising influences their consumers’ real world actions and vice versa.
Where we go, says a lot about who we are. Just like a player’s location tells us about what character they are looking to catch, location insights allows brands to understand a person’s context and proximity to points of interest, which then influence their experiences and actions in the real world.
Compared to search and social, location speaks the truth about our intentions. Just because I searched for a John Lewis voucher as a present for my niece’s birthday, doesn’t mean that I am the perfect target for future online advertising from them, for instance. However, actions speak louder than words and if, through location-based technology, John Lewis were to know I visited multiple stores on different occasions, it’s far more likely I am a worthwhile consumer to target with personalised advertising.
The power of location
While it’s exciting that Pokémon Go has brought the power of location and its abilities to the forefront by giving them a tangible and obvious consumer use, it is critical that retailers think about the type of relationships they want to build with customers. With brands now interested in investing in ‘lures’ by placing a character outside (or inside) their stores, many are recognising the potential location-technology has in driving store visitations.
However, retailers shouldn’t just jump on Pokémon Go, but explore all the options around location and what it has to offer. The pertinent question to ask is would retailers rather use a bribe essentially unassociated to the brand to get people there, or use location intelligence based on real-world behaviours to meet their needs better? With its ability to drive the right customer to a store, at the right time, brands can use location technology to drive engagement and build long lasting, loyal relationships instead of just visitors who want to ‘Catch em all’.
While the technical ability to map locations has existed for several years its accuracy has significantly improved. Now, through Blueprints technology like xAd’s, brands know whether a person is inside a store or just walking down a street – knowledge that is the difference between delivering messages of value or something of irritation to a potential customer. This level of precision means that brands can be sure impressions are meaningful and made on the right audience.
Ultimately, retailers want to drive revenue by enticing customers into their store to buy their products or services. Location technology enables brands to do this by providing intelligence about a customer based on where they go. This means the retailer can then personalise and enhance the customer experience. In a mobile-first world, where we start our path to purchase journey online and complete in the physical world, it is critical that brands grab the opportunity to join the dots between these two worlds.
Theo Theodorou is the MD of EMEA at location-based mobile advertising technology company, xAd. Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via email@example.com.
Outdoor sports brand, Peak Performance, is running a digital campaign that sees fans able to win clothing and other goods at set times of day while out in the wilderness.
The Magic Hour, as the initiative is called, sees virtual pop-up shops appearing in certain rural locations chosen for their views just before sunrise and sunset. Included are mountain tops, a golf course and a lighthouse on a small island. The aim is to appeal to cyclists, golfers, ramblers, runners, trekkers and walkers.
Creative agency Perfect Fools Stockholm developed the mobile web experience, viewable at CatchMagicHour.com, which displays the shop location, distance to it, opening hours, a collection catalogue and how many items are left to claim. It relies on smartphone GPS to detect when users are at the right location, only showing them a preview of the collection if they’re not.
Robin Salazar, online marketing and e-commerce manager at Peak Performance, said: “The Magic Hour is a beautiful time of day and we want to encourage people to experience that time at fantastic locations. The virtual pop-up shops are an added incentive to experience sunrise or sunset and bridge the physical digital divide.”
The campaign is being pushed online as well as via PR in Austria, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and UAE.
Live and localised are two key phrases you can associate with the Hunter Original show due to be held at London Fashion Week next Saturday, September 13.
The British-based wellington boot brand, in its second ever season showing on the runway, is set to partner with real-time video start-up Grabyo in order to deliver up to 10 instantaneous highlights from the catwalk to its fans via Twitter.
Key moments as they unfold will be available for followers in 10-45 second clips, whether at a desktop or viewing via their smartphones (which is where the majority of traffic inevitably tends to be seen based on Grabyo’s past experience).
Better yet, said content will also be geo-targeted on Twitter so the type of items shown from the collection are reflective of the user’s particular region and climate.