With summer over, brands and retailers are squarely focused on the holiday season, which will be here before we know it.
It’s natural for brands and retailers to assume that holidays and seasonal events like back-to-school are revenue-generators, but it’s not always that simple with variable inventory, shifting digital media consumption patterns and an economy still in the doldrums.
There are steps every brand and retailer can take to ensure their products move off the shelf at the right time to avoid having to sell them for half-price in mid-September. It starts by getting local. Hyperlocal, that is.
One of the biggest concerns for brands and retailers is the idea of having to liquidate seasonal events and holidays that typically spur excess sales. In an ideal world, stores have enough of a product during the high-traffic times and an appropriately adjusted amount of inventory left in the months to follow. The supply side knows the “just-in-time” model well, but it is imperative that stores understand how to create just-in-time demand as well.
Evaluating local digital advertising strategies will help determine the best way to drive foot traffic to nearby stores. It is an incredibly effective way to create just-in-time demand for specific products at the first signs of inventory imbalance.
Traditional advertising programs require brands and retailers to create campaigns weeks or months in advance of when they’d like to drive traffic to stores. Digital changes all that. Now, brands can — and should — reuse campaign assets to launch hyper-local digital campaigns in a matter of hours. This gives marketers incredible power — no longer do campaigns need to be planned far in advance. Now, marketers can supplement planned promotions with those that drive demand at the individual store level, based on the inventory at any given location.
While targeting consumers within a certain demographic in a specific DMA is common practice, retailers should be targeting consumers with specific interests within a certain mile radius from stores with excess inventory, to take that targeting technique to a far more advanced level. This requires leveraging technology that analyzes both online and offline data points and making this data actionable in a matter of milliseconds. This data is incredibly valuable, revealing the attributes of neighborhoods across the country so brands and retailers can drill down to target only those neighborhoods with residents that are a fit for their products and services, driving real traffic to specific stores, with the ability to scale nationwide.
Once neighborhood data is determined, national campaign assets can be easily customized with localized messages and the address of the nearest store location. Not only does this create a more personalized ad experience, it creates consistency across all ad elements on various media, and contributes to the ROI on the money spent on campaign creative. This is key for brands looking to maximize their ad investments.
For instance, a national craft store chain wanted to drive awareness of its back-to-school products to consumers within a 10-mile radius of specific store locations. By using demographic, point-of-sale and geographic data, the chain was able to target consumers on a hyperlocal level. It hit either a.) only female teachers, ages 25-55, with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and a household income of less than $60,000; or b.) mothers, ages 35-55, with a household income of less than $100,000, and frequent purchasers of craft products based on past data.
Hyperlocal precision takes incentives and offers to a whole new level. If in-store sales are slow for a particular item, brands and retailers can create campaigns that incentivize local consumers to come in and make purchases of that specific item.
Those companies that solely run carpet-bombing national campaigns need to rethink their digital ad strategy. If building awareness is the goal, this strategy works. But if you want to move products off shelves, carpet-bombing can be irrelevant, too broad and just plain expensive. Instead, they should complement national campaigns with hyperlocal campaigns. Get local, and you will move seasonal items off-the-shelf, where and when you want.
Gretchen Joyce is the COO at MaxPoint Interactive, an online targeting technology company.