The aging store circular is getting a new lease on life. Over the past couple of years, retailers have increasingly experimented with new ways of digitizing printed advertising circulars and distributing them on mobile and social platforms. Now, through a partnership between LocalResponse and ShopLocal, shoppers could have digital circulars delivered to their mobile phones when they indicate on Foursquare, Twitter or other social platforms that they are in a given store or looking for a certain item.
Announced Wednesday, the new offering marries ShopLocal’s digitized circulars with LocalResponse’s “real-time consumer intent” data, which includes explicit check-ins from Foursquare, as well as public comments on other social channels indicating that a consumer is in a given retail location or could be interested in a specific kind of product. For example, if I tweeted “Shopping at Lowes” or even “In the market for a new grill,” within seconds, I could receive a mobile-optimized ad from Lowes with store-specific promotions and inventory information. The product follows a similar launch earlier this year, which enabled Walgreens to use LocalResponse data to send promotional product messages to consumers who checked-in to stores.
“The passion for this comes from stopping the trend of showrooming,” said Kathy Leake, president and co-founder of the New York-based startup. As we’ve written about previously, consumers are increasingly checking out products in store but then buying them online. Leake said their new product captures consumers’ attention while their in-store with promotions and offers meant to get them from the showroom floor to the cash register.
ShopLocal works with 100 of the country’s top retailers to digitize their printed circulars for the Web, but she said this is the first time they’ve made the circulars available on mobile and in real-time.
Interestingly, even though printed circulars have been around for a long time, research shows that they’re still an effective form of marketing. According to a Nielsen report last December, paper media is almost three times more likely to affect store choice than social media or mobile phones. When asked about the future, 90 percent of survey respondents said they wanted to continue receiving paper at home or in-store, more than 70 percent indicated that they wanted digital materials (via a website or email) and one-third asked for social media or smartphone apps.
But the LocalResponse-ShopLocal partnership really targets those are already in a store and I think it’s a compelling way to get a growing class of social- and mobile-savvy consumers engaged and less likely to walk out of a store, as long as the messages don’t start to feel too intrusive or frequent. It’s very similar to Foursquare check-in deals, which tend to apply to restaurants and local shops, although it launched a mobile coupon with Walgreens and has worked with other retailers on occasion.
At the moment, none of ShopLocal’s retail partners have signed on to use the platform, but Leake said they’re in discussions with a few and should roll it out within the next couple of months.