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GUEST OPINION How to leverage in-store data on Facebook to beat Amazon this Black Friday

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Declan Kennedy, CEO, StitcherAds, outlines how retailers need to use those showrooming, Facebooking mobile shoppers to try and steal a march on Amazon during the looming ‘Peak 2017’ weeks

Britons spent a record £5.8 billion over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 – an increase of 15 percent on 2015, according to and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). Online retailers took approximately £2.8 billion of this – up 20 percent from £2.3 billion in 2015, according to the data.

This year, Amazon has already started its daily deal offers, almost two weeks before the big day. However, analysts are now saying that this short-lived Black Friday shopping spree has evolved into a more extended period, as consumers learn to track prices and compare deals between retailers in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and the peak season.

Showroomers versus Webroomers

So how are they doing this and how has consumer behaviour changed? What is important is that we still go in-store. Clearly we still value the chance to get our hands on products before we buy – which is something that Amazon can’t offer; but the way we shop has changed. According to a recent Visa’s Digital Payments study, shoppers are now using a combination of store visits and online browsing to seek the best deals. It points to consumers who are either “showroomers” (those who view an item in-store before purchasing online) or “webroomers” (consumers who look for the best price online, and then buy the item in-store).

Amazon has proven highly effective at converting in-store buyers, without spending its marketing budget on increasingly ineffective channels like print, and without leveraging any first party data on in-store buying behaviour. In the race for seasonal end of the year sales, either Amazon is going to win by taking its online expertise and bringing it to bricks-and-mortar, or retailers need to take advantage of the fact that customers still like to visit a store during the buying cycle and defend that differentiating asset by embracing more omnichannel strategies.

Leveraging Facebook’s audience

While Amazon strives to perfect the online shopping experience, it doesn’t have any bricks-and-mortar stores and there is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive shoppers in-store by presenting them with geo-targeted ads for items relevant to their interests. But retailers need an effective way to analyse their online and in-store customer profiles to fully exploit their in-store assets. Google has delivered several such solutions to power their ad offerings and more recently Facebook has started to deliver similar tools.

According to Facebook’s Global Creative Director Andrew Keller, “The average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content every day.” Facebook clearly has a captive audience for retailers to tap into to drive more online users in-store.

To this point, Facebook has rolled out advertising tools for businesses in an effort to link offline customer purchasing activity with geo-targeted online ads. Facebook’s Offline Conversion API lets retailers use real customer identities to accurately measure in-store purchases that take place after the buyer has been exposed to Facebook ads. Recently, Facebook made that data more actionable through custom audience building and retargeting.

These and other related capabilities allow businesses to match in-store customers to online users. Once a customer is identified, Facebook’s rich profile data can be leveraged to build audiences for retargeting or prospecting, and to optimise and measure campaigns that are focused on increasing foot traffic.

Geo-specific targeting

Facebook’s highly targeted ads not only allow customers to purchase online, but also include directions to the nearest store, empowering customers to buy wherever they want.

The choice between a virtual or tangible buying experience is not yet something Amazon can support. While these revamped Facebook business tools open up new avenues for retailers to edge out Amazon, effective strategies are needed to reach their full potential.

Top three tips for retailers to get ahead of Amazon

So what can retailers do to revamp their Facebook ad campaign strategies to deliver more personalised ads? Here at StitcherAds we have empowered some of Facebook’s largest advertisers for retail, eCommerce, travel, and real estate businesses worldwide, using data-fuelled automation to increase the revenue impact of their ad spend. We have a wealth of experience in direct response innovation and have pulled together our top three Facebook ad tips:

  1. Build an online-to-offline audience

Having the ability to pass offline purchase data through Facebook opens new avenues to build larger, more hyper-targeted audiences. With comprehensive data for in-store buying behaviour to leverage, retailers can find the right strategy to reach the right customers at the right time with the right products to draw them in-store.

  1. Create full-funnel omnichannel campaigns

Use Facebook’s audience capabilities to exploit strategies that were previously only possible for online activity.Prospecting, retargeting, cross-selling, and upselling can retarget customers that recently made an in-store purchase by targeting them online with a coupon code or discount ad for a new season product.

  1. Make compelling omnichannel ads

While many imagine ad creative as an exercise in branding, “compelling” narratives building in data-focused personalisation leverages buying behaviours, nearest store locations and previous purchases to create a more customised experience.

Likewise, Canvas and Collection ad formats provide advanced in-ad browsing experiences and you can use ads with map cards when targeting areas with bricks-and-mortar locations to encourage a visit. To take dynamic ad customisation a step further, set up a dynamic catalogue carousel that can be automatically overlaid to add details like categories, sale status, stock levels, branding, and other product data fields that have the ability to include location-specific specials.

This year boost Black Friday foot traffic with online deals in order to beat Amazon by leveraging Facebook’s new offline tools to draw current and new customers’ in-store.

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