Companies are scrambling to keep up with the rapidly evolving ways consumers make purchase decisions. Brick-and-mortar stores have yet to find a way to track, segment, market to, and engage prospective customers in-store in the same manner e-commerce retailers are able to online. However, that could change with the introduction of new location based technologies.

Let’s look at five companies that are finding innovative uses of data and technology to create personalised customer experiences, both online and in-store.

Location-based technology is a game-changer for the in-store experience


Target is focused on optimising the in-store experience for the 13M users of its Cartwheel app. Using beacon technology, Target hopes to guide customers through the store, provide helpful recommendations and product suggestions, and optimise the location data from each shopping trip for future in-store experiences.

As a customer walks through the store, an in-app “Target Feed” will suggest nearby products based on online reviews and popularity on Pinterest. These suggestions become increasingly personalised with frequent use.

Target 1

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Neiman Marcus

The addition of location-based technology has helped salespeople at Neiman Marcus deliver a more personalised service by providing real-time customer information, including purchase history, favourite items, and buyer preferences. While in the store, shoppers receive notifications of new products, promotions, latest trends, store events, and availability of preferred sales associates.

The company’s app even has a Snap.Find.Shop.™ feature that allows customers to photograph an item and find it.

Neiman Marcus

Location-based data fuels targeted, personalised, and real-time push marketing


Walgreens is arguably the most digitally savvy pharmaceutical store in the US. Testing out beacon technology was a no-brainer for the company, especially in a place like New York City where there’s a pharmaceutical store every few blocks.

60% of Walgreens online traffic is already on smartphones. Beacons are being used to notify customers as they near a store of promotional offers based on previous purchases, as well as support location-based weekly ads, pill reminders, shopping lists, and coupons.


A unified online and offline shopping experience increases sales


Since 2011, Nordstrom has invested almost $1B in collecting and analysing customer data to help determine what products to promote to which customers when and via what channel.

Nordstrom’s goal to create excellent customer engagement is evident in its sophisticated approach to blurring the lines of the online and in-store experience. The marketing team tracks Pinterest pins to identify trending products, then uses social data to promote popular products with in-store signage. Nordstrom experimented with interactive touch screens in fitting rooms, some allowing customers to see reviews and Instagram images of the product.

The company has merged its online and in-store inventory and created a cross-channel inventory project to allow customers to see where a product is available. By empowering customers to shop when and where they want, store sales have increased.

Nordstom 1  Nordstom 2  Nordstom 3

Nordstrom innovation teams are hoping to develop predictive algorithms using transactional and behavioral data to generate personalised product recommendations, which can be pushed to customers while they are near particular items. For reference, Amazon generates 30% of its sales from product recommendations.

Hotels are hyper-focused on creating guest experiences

Competition for market share and brand loyalty is fierce in the hotel industry. According to a study by Deloitte, only 8% of consumers are loyal to a hotel brand. Competitive pricing is no longer a strong enough differentiator. Instead, hotels are creating personalised and memorable guest experiences to build brand attachment and attract new travelers.

Hilton Worldwide’s Conrad Hotels and Resorts

Hilton Worldwide’s Conrad Hotels and Resorts identified the growing trend of travelers seeking unique, hand-picked experiences and introduced Conrad Stay Inspired 1 / 3 / 5.

Travelers and Conrad guests can select nearby activities in one, three, or five-hour increments. These curated experiences showcase art, dining, shopping, culture, family, and adventure, and seek to offer something more unique than a typical guidebook. If a guest is deciding between two hotels of the same price, one of the experiences offered may just be enough to make them choose Conrad.

Hilton conrad


Starwood Hotels

While most hotels focus on getting the customer to the front desk, Starwood aims to deliver on brand promises in a true “end-to-end” experience.

Beacon technology is being used to expedite the check-in process for frequent travelers, replace lost room keys, inform housekeeping when guests are still in the room, enable concierges to greet guests who arrive by name, and tailor offers to specific customers while on the property. The company is even piloting a program where guests in two US hotels can skip the check-in process entirely, and simply walk to their room and unlock it via keyless entry.

You can watch the video below.

The emergence of new technology gives companies the opportunity to create a seamless customer experience and an endless array of data. Can you suggest some more innovative ways brick-and-mortar retailers can use location-based data?