By Brendan Read
There is a convergence occurring between marketing and payments, enabled by new methods and tools, and for good reason: payments provide literally rich data about customers that can shape the success of marketing campaigns. After all, the ultimate goal of marketing is to drive customers to buy; the truest expression of customer intent is when they make purchases.
The convergence is happening most dramatically in retail, both e-commerce but more recently in-person: where the bulk of sales continues to take place as customers value the in-store experience and convenience.
Lloydmedia covers the marketing payments convergence from both perspectives as we also publish Payments Business. We recently interviewed Sanjeev Chib, who is director and head of data and insight solutions at Moneris (www.moneris.com), which is one of Canada’s leading payments processors. Tapping over 20 years of experience, he oversees a portfolio of solutions that leverages payments data to address business and industry needs.
DM Magazine (DMM): What are the top opportunities for Canadian retail marketers?
Sanjeev Chib (SC): That’s a timely question as we recently closed out Canada’s busiest shopping season. Retail marketers are seizing every opportunity to pull customers to their web sites and into their stores, and there is good reason for it. Take holiday spending for example. Our transaction data shows that on 2018’s Black Friday, Canadians spent nearly 50% more than compared to the Friday before. Black Friday is now one of Canada’s top shopping days in terms of dollars spent, and this year it surpassed the previous year’s spend by 6%. That jump is not a surprise when you consider that Canadians are spending more in general compared to 2017.
There are ways retail marketers can capitalize on shopping trends seasonally and year-round, both in-store and online. To start, look closely at where you are investing your advertising dollars and which channels are garnering the highest returns. You may find that your top performing channels change throughout the year. Also, find ways to investigate regional trends and localize your campaigns, using in-store sales reports or shipping orders on your e-commerce web site. You may find that the effectiveness of a channel, such as social media, depends on the demographics of the geographical region rather than of online users in general. When it comes to digital marketing, one size simply doesn’t fit all.
DMM: Conversely, what are the key challenges facing marketers?
SC: We know the industry is shifting from real-world (or out-of-home) marketing to digital. Technology has established different methods to measure online conversions, but marketers also know that online key performance indicators (KPIs) offer limited insight into a campaign’s success and it is one reason why the benchmark has shifted over the years from one success measure to the next.
While as much as 90% of sales still occur in-store in certain sectors, according to the Retail Council of Canada1, finding a way to apply the same methodology for tracking online sales to in-store transactions has proven challenging. Marketers that want to optimize their campaigns need to better understand what is driving the bulk of customer purchases today and how to tap into this reservoir of sales revenue, i.e. payments, that, up until now, has largely gone unaccounted.
The challenge lies in finding a unified tool that captures the physical and digital worlds of retail to comprehensively measure success. Adding to the complexity is consumer privacy. The ability to gather this kind of data requires stringent security measures to protect the privacy of consumers and ensure the personal identifiers that could be used to trace individual users are not captured.
DMM: What is your solution and what will it accomplish?
SC: Offlinx is a digital marketing analytics tool that helps businesses measure the impact of digital advertising on in-store and online sales. The first-of-its-kind solution gives retailers 360-degree views of their returns on digital advertising investment by connecting customers’ campaign clicks to confirmed sales. We are excited to be bringing a much-needed solution to meet one of digital marketing’s greatest challenges. Offlinx helps to uncover previously hidden insights about retailers’ sales data and delivers more value to how marketers measure the true success of their campaigns.
Marketers can access next-day results that accurately reflect the effectiveness of channel drivers of online and regional spend, down to the store location. The interactive channel and store performance dashboards allow marketers to analyze and drill into the data to find quantifiable connections between channel sources and sales outcomes, such as total attributed revenue per store and average customer spend. Using Offlinx, retail marketers now have a reliable, data-powered tool to answer their questions about which tactics lead to results and where they are most effective.
DMM: How does Offlinx work?
SC: Offlinx uses a secure linking mechanism that anonymously connects browsing devices to payment cards used in-store and online. It combines this proprietary technology with multi-touch attribution algorithms and industry standard pixel tags to trace ad clicks to subsequent online and offline purchases. Developed in-house using Moneris’ secure payment processing network, Offlinx presents aggregated attribution data, while preserving the confidentiality of cardholder data and anonymity of browsing devices.
The engine behind the solution then aggregates the data within the tool. These data sets include paid and organic search, social media, e-mail affiliates, display ads and referring sites. Average purchase size, average customer spend, revenue per visit and attributed revenue are just some of the KPIs calculated. Marketers can then use Offlinx’s dashboards to analyze the results, and chart comparisons to evaluate a specific data set, region and more.
DMM: What type and size of retailers can best make full advantage of Offlinx?
SC: Offlinx is the ideal marketing solution for high-volume retailers with bricks-and-mortar locations across Canada and an online store. Ultimately, retailers that heavily invest in their digital marketing and are ready to see results that are more conclusive are well suited to take advantage of Offlinx.
DMM: When will Offlinx be available? Must a retailer be a Moneris customer to obtain it?
SC: Offlinx will be broadly available in early 2019 to large Canadian retailers that process their payments with Moneris. One of the key benefits merchants will notice immediately is how simple it is to implement the tool. Since Moneris processes transactions from online and physical points of sale, the merchant simply needs to embed the pixel tags to their web site to activate the linking mechanism, which are similar to the tags used by other analytics platforms. They will then work with Moneris to establish parameters to identify the channels.
DMM: Any potential issues with Offlinx and if so, how can they be resolved?
SC: We’ve tested the robust tool vigorously over the past few years, and we are confident it will deliver on our promise. As with every Moneris product, Offlinx is backed by our customer-focused onboarding support, as well as training resources to help merchants make the most of its features.
DMM: What successes have retailers had so far with Offlinx?
SC: For over two years, we have been collaborating with select merchants to pilot Offlinx, including one of Canada’s leading brands and a longtime partner of Moneris, Indigo. This approach has allowed us to test Offlinx’s multi-touch attribution algorithm and linking mechanism with actual sales figures, fueling the tool’s engine with real processing volumes and totals.
Based on feedback from our pilot merchants, we have heard first-hand how easy the tool is to use, whether you are a marketing expert or a senior decision-maker. Merchants have been able to identify time delays in online-to-offline conversions and location-based advertising opportunities using the regional rankings of channels.
DMM: What’s next on the Offlinx roadmap?
SC: We are thrilled about Offlinx’s ability to organize and present in-store attribution data in a meaningful way for experts. We want to ensure that it evolves with the digital marketing industry as new tactics and touchpoints emerge. For almost 20 years, Moneris has proven that it is able to innovate and evolve with the markets we serve, always taking a customer-first approach to help our merchants succeed. We will continue to deliver on that commitment, and as marketing strategies become more engaging and personalized, so will Offlinx.
1 Retail Council of Canada, “Myth-Busting: Study shows Canadian consumers still prefer bricks-and-mortar stores but …”, press release, December 20, 2017.