How to drive foot traffic to brick and mortar

January 26, 2016

Retail stores didn't fare so well this holiday season with NRF reporting a 6.4% drop in foot traffic. Many retailers looking to bridge the gap between digital and physical channels to give stores a boost have turned to automated store targeting using a customer's PRIMARY store (which AgilOne can determine based on spend, recency or other configurable logic) or their proximity to retail stores which we call, "Distance to Store".

Distance to store is the practice of calculating a customer's proximity to retail locations, allowing you to analyze your distribution of customers based on your retail footprint, target customers within a specified proximity, and personalize marketing communications with local store information. There are 2 types of Distance to Store calculations: Distance to ANY store or distance to CLOSEST store.

And there are 3 ways our customers are using it: 1) for analysis, 2) for segmentation and 3) for personalization. Let's take a look at each.

Drive foot traffic with integrated store data

Analyze and measure:

AgilOne's analytics make it easy to measure customer distribution by closest store, distance to (proximity to) closest store or primary store. But that can be extended to any metrics such as: purchase activity, customer attributes, preferences, segments and even marketing engagement. For example, you can answer questions like:

  1. Which stores have the highest concentration of high LTV customers?
  2. Which stores have the lowest retention rates?
  3. Which stores have customers who also buy online?

Store Distribution of Household Contacts


Target and personalize:

The are multiple use cases for targeting customers based on proximity to stores. Here are some examples:

New store openings:

  • Target customers within the radius of a new store for emails, Facebook ads or direct mail postcards announcing the new opening.
  • Get creative! An AgilOne customer cleverly added a custom cover to their catalog announcing the "new store opening" to the catalog recipients that lived within a certain radius of the new store.

Store sales and promotions:

  • Announce upcoming sales and other special promotions to customers in your file based on their proximity or primary store.  If sending via direct mail or targeting on Facebook, you can prioritize investment by segmenting further based on last 12 months revenue, lifetime value, likelihood to buy and more.

Special events: 

  • Many retailers sponsor or host local events in their community. Identify and target the customers that live nearby with invitations and event details.

As part of your direct marketing strategy:

  • Personalize ink-jet messaging on your catalogs with nearest store information.
  • When deciding who should receive any type of promotional mailers, consider adding filters based on store proximity.

In the example below, I am targeting the following segments:

  • all customers within 15 miles of any store who have purchased in the last 6 months
  • all high value customers within 50 miles of any store based on the last 12 months revenue
  • all previously high-valued customers within 50 miles of any store (hoping to recapture last year's VIPs that may not be this year's VIPs)

Rich segmentation within AgilOne makes it possible to target the right audiences

 AgilOne Customer Case Study: Peter Glenn Ski & Sports

AgilOne customer, Peter Glenn Ski & Sports, is an outdoor and apparel retailer primarily for winter sports with 12 stores, eCommerce, and a call center. They utilize 'distance-to-store' to build targeted audiences for local events, as part of their catalog and direct mail strategy, and as part of their Facebook campaign strategy. For example, they target all customers within a 15 mile radius of any store but expand the radius for customers who have a high lifetime value or high likelihood to buy.


                Catalog Cover                                Facebook, Email AND Direct Mailer Cover Ads

Gear_Guide_cover_Nov_2015           tampa_mailer_cover

“AgilOne’s functionality gives us the power to deliver highly personal customer experiences unlike anything we have found available in the industry."
 - David Mahoney, Marketing Director at Peter Glenn Ski & Sports

Personalize content with store information

Very few retailers are doing this today as part of their email marketing strategy. I suspect that most of it has to do with the fact that most email marketers can't attribute email influence to store sales (hint: you can with AgilOne). Those that do tend to bury the information in the footer. But consider allocating more real estate in your emails to highlight the recipients' closest physical store name, address and phone number. You can also test special "in-store only" incentives to give customers an extra reason to visit.

Personalize with store information utilizing dynamic content. Personalize emails with dynamic content that contains details on a customers nearest store.

AgilOne Customer Case Study: Outdoor Retailer Targets VIPs for Exclusive Store Event

An outdoor retailer - whose name we can't mention - gave VIPs a special perk during the holidays. They sent them an exclusive email offer to “Skip the line” personalized with their preferred store. The results were 12X revenue per email and a 63% lift in AOV. And don't forget, that offer was redeemable only in-store!

Personalize marketing with a customer's preferred store. An outdoor retailer drives VIPs to store with special "skip the line" promotion during Thanksgiving weekend.

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware promotes their special warehouse sales to customers in the area.  While I live 50 miles from their nearest warehouse, 85% off is definitely worth the drive.

Restoration Hardware Warehouse Sale

Make It Happen:

  • Finding new and innovative ways to engage customers is critical to business longevity; creating delightful customer experiences and loyalty
  • Direct mail can be extremely effective at driving retention and cutting through noise. When targeting customers for retail events, look beyond proximity and consider focusing on VIPs, those with high current or predicted lifetime value and those with higher likelihood to buy.
  • Email can be a great way to drive people in store! Integrate distance to store in order to increase relevancy and optimize conversion. But don't forget opt-outs! You can still reach and re-market to unsubscribes through direct mail, display ads, and Facebook custom audiences.
  • Don't forget, it’s not about just sending customers to the store, it’s about understanding where the customer likes to shop with you - letting them know you recognize and value them. AgilOne makes this possible by allowing you to target customers based on their preferred channel.

So what are you waiting for?