The “Online-to-Offline” opportunity is at least 10X larger than e-commerce. That’s the massive prize local shopping platform and data provider Retailigence is pursuing. And after nearly four years the company may have found a model and sufficient momentum to realize its promise.
Retailigence has been around since 2009. It was part of a wave of B2C and B2B companies that sought to capture and often syndicate real-time store inventory and “where to buy it” data: ShopLocal, StepUp, NearbyNow, Milo, Krillion, Goodzer, Wishpond, Clarinova and one or two others. Most of these companies are no longer in business, were acquired (and effectively disappeared) or have otherwise fallen short.
For example, StepUp was acquired by Intuit (and is done). NearbyNow’s real time inventory model was largely abandoned before the company was bought by JiWire. Krillion was picked up by Local.com (not much happening there). Milo exists as a unit of eBay but the rumor is that its API is going away. Clarinova folded; Wishpond has pivoted.
Google was also involved in trying to get store inventory data into its shopping engine, but that effort seems to be over now. However, Goodzer is still going and ShopLocal is operating (as a unit of Gannett).
Perhaps the reason that so many of these companies backed away or failed is because the data are so difficult to get and because retailers are ambivalent about providing it. Yet the promise of showing consumers where they can buy things remains real. A little over 5% of US retail buying is online; the rest is offline.
Retailigence sought to tap into inventory data by integrating with retailer and supply chain software and databases. It now says that more than 300 retailers are on board and it has a database of 11 million products from 100,000 store locations representing half of all US retail sales (or more than $2 trillion).
A couple of weeks ago the company announced a new round of funding ($6.3 million) for total funding to date of $10.4 million. More significantly, however, it also introduced “adPOP,” a mobile advertising platform for retailers and brands that sell offline. (It also introduced appNET, API to syndicate its data to developers.)
While the Retailigence API can deliver its inventory data to any channel or platform it’s this O2O mobile offering that may become the company’s breakthrough product.
There are a number of elements to adPOP: dynamic ad creative (re products, messaging, store locations) and landing pages, as well as offline measurement. The images above are examples of these things in action. Companies already working with Retailigence include Timberland, BestBuy, Sears, Microsoft, The North Face, Radio Shack and several others.
The company has also teamed up with mobile DSP DataXu to offer mobile reach and zip or radius-from-store targeting. (In this way Retailigence is now operating a bit like an agency, a bit like a network.)
In a Q4 holiday shopping case study provided to me by CEO Jeremy Geiger Retailigence said these dynamic-creative mobile ads performed dramatically better than conventional mobile display ads:
- Up to 80% lift in CTR with zip code targeting as compared to DMA targeting
- Over 50% shopper secondary action/engagement rate on landing page/microsite
- Over 10% secondary action rate when considering only navigational activity
- This also led to increased in-store conversions as they followed through, located the nearest store and completed their holiday shopping
The promise of local-mobile marketing is only going to be realized through dramatic simplification for agencies and brands. Google’s Enhanced Campaigns offers that on the mobile search side. On the mobile display side ad networks have started converting location into audience (see xAd, JiWire, PlaceIQ, Verve). But adPOP offers another method to reach local audiences at scale in a way that delivers powerful ad creative but in a simplified manner.
Retailigence isn’t the only company that offers dynamic mobile display creative. A number of others do as well. But Retailigence appears to be the only company that can do that with product data and images, which is a very effective and powerful complement to store location data.
The way that Retailigence is selling this primarily is as a “bottom of the funnel” product, solving the “last mile problem” for mobile shoppers. However it is probably equally valuable as a “conquesting” tool and as a branding vehicle for introducing new products and where to buy them.