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Real-time Context Aware Offers in Grocery Stores Takes a Few Steps Forward

by Don Scheibenreif  |  August 6, 2014  |  1 Comment

What if your grocery store really knew you?

In our work advising CIOs of consumer goods companies, it is a question my colleague Dale Hagemeyer  and I have been asking for some time and forms the foundation for the work we have been doing on real-time context-aware offers in the grocery store (what we call “Me Marketing”). Dale and I have been exploring the strategy and technology implications in a world where retailers and manufacturers could work together to deliver the right offer to the right consumer at the right time and in the right precise location in the store.  In our first published note, “Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-Time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods” we discussed the possibilities this future represents. Our second note, “Me Marketing: Prepare for the Challenges of Real-Time, Context Aware Offers in Consumer Goods” addresses some of the key barriers to seeing this future realized.  Our most recent note, “Emerging Examples Show Development of Real-Time Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods” explores some live examples of the beginnings of this future from retailers like Stop & Shop, Walmart, Meijer, and Carrefour.

Since we wrote our initial report on Me Marketing in 2012, we have seen enough examples to believe that three different paths are emerging to deliver contextually relevant offers in real time. Each approaches the shopper engagement opportunity differently, which is a positive thing for an emerging technology. But we do not see these paths as mutually exclusive and predict that there will be a convergence at some point in the future. The paths are:

  • Mobile Self Scanning: Using a mobile device to scan items as they are removed from the shelf to enable self-check-out.
  • In-Store Location Positioning: Using indoor location positioning to guide shoppers to products and to deliver related content.
  • In-Store Technologies: Retailer-specific uses of in-store technology to interact with customers in real time, such as video screens, kiosks and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons.

While the examples are interesting, they are still  limited in scope and in some cases show mixed results.  Still, they show us what is possible and represent much needed leadership from both the retailers and their manufacturer and technology partners. Dale and I still believe we are five to ten years away from “Minority Report” in the grocery store. These examples give us confidence that our grocery store indeed  might actually know us someday.





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Category: consumer-goods  

Don Scheibenreif
Vice President and Distinguished Analyst
9 years at Gartner
9 years IT Industry

Don Scheibenreif is a Distinguished VP Analyst with Gartner's Customer Experience research group. He works with with Customer Experience and other IT leaders on how emerging trends and digital business will impact CX and enterprise digital transformation. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Real-time Context Aware Offers in Grocery Stores Takes a Few Steps Forward

  1. Curt Schwaderer says:

    excellent description and synopsis of the “state of the union” here. We’ve been doing some work in the area of real-time mobile analytics trying to incorporate various inputs like location, point of sale, inventory, maps, and even communications activity. It’s a green field opportunity that no one is sure when it’s time will come and while retail can see the value, it seems like they don’t yet know how to quantify it for real analytics products and deployments.

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