Online vs. In-Store

By Team ZineOne November 17, 2017

Consumer behavior shows that a pure online shopper is rare. Consumers want both the convenience offered by online retail, as well as the personal touch of an in-store experience. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is a clear indication of this trend. So if Amazon is buying or creating touch points within brick and mortar, what should brick and mortar retailers do to combat that?

As is expected, brick and mortar retailers are moving towards connecting the user journey from the store to online and back. For a majority of the brick and mortar retailers, online revenues still hover just under 20% of total revenues1, while the majority of their revenue is still produced by stores. Therefore it is essential for these retailers to increase loyalty and stickiness, keeping their store as a centerpiece, allowing them to effectively challenge the Amazon Effect.

Some interesting statistics to consider here. Only 49% of shoppers feel that they receive a consistent experience across retail channels. 2 And nearly 87% of shoppers go to a store only when they are ready to purchase a particular product. 3 These are clear indicators that retail as a whole needs to do better with connecting customer journeys while helping the shopper take the next step in their retail experience.


Customers can shop through a variety of means, like mobile apps or visiting a retailer’s website. In fact, research shows that 80% of shoppers interact with brands or products through digital before arriving at the store. 4 While visiting the website, they might review products, read warranty information, maybe add products to a wish list, or place items in their virtual cart.

By most standards, these click-strokes and deep browsing habits represent significant purchase intent. Unfortunately, retailers are unable to capitalize on this interest not only when the user is on their site, or specifically, when the customer actually walks into the store. The challenge is that all of this historical browsing activity is locked away in channel specific silos, disconnected from the user’s in-store experience, resulting in a significant lost opportunity.

This then raises the question of what would it take to connect each customer’s rich set of online data to guide their in-store shopping journey. Unlocking this dark data has the potential to grow revenue, increase loyalty, and enhance overall stickiness to that brand’s experience.

To do this, retailers must:

  • match the identity of customers who enter the store with their past browsing and transnational history.
  • engage with these customers, while they are in the store, in the context of their historical online activity coupled with where they are physically in the store.


One of the top 10 U.S. retailers recently addressed this opportunity by using a combination of geofencing, Wi-Fi technology within the store, and a real-time streaming decision layer technology that brought together real-time context for each user as they entered the store, and identified specific triggers for interaction within the store. This allowed the retailer to interact with their customers in a very personalized manner adding tremendous value to each user’s shopping experience.

How it happened

Typically, customers who visit the store like to connect to its Wi-Fi and browse products, find deals, or conduct research. The retailer uses this as an opt-in opportunity for users to sign in to their Wi-Fi and in return receive communication from the retailer. The specific Wi-Fi router triangulates position of the individual within the store. This type of Wi-Fi solution recognizes the user’s movement within the store, specific to which department they are in, and is able to relay these movements as a set of events to the ZineOne Streaming Solution.

ZineOne then pulls together the specific customer’s context from the retailer’s existing transactional systems (such as POS, Loyalty, Inventory, etc.) to make in-the-moment decisions of the highest influence points for that specific customer’s journey while they are in the store.

Influence point

Simply put, the retailer immediately recognizes the customer entering the store and notifies them of, say, how many loyalty points they have that might be expiring. This is a very strong influence point, hyper targeting a specific shopper’s journey.

ZineOne can calculate these influence points by looking at behavior, response to different triggers, and learn from it, all in realtime. This system is learning from observed behavior and builds a sphere of influence specific to demonstrated ROI in terms of value addition to each customer journey.


Now it’s easy for the retailer to reach customers while they are in the store with one-to-one personalized, hyper-targeted, and contextualized information. For example, say Susan has looked up shoes on her device, but has not made a purchase. After a few days she comes to the store and as she passes by the shoe department, she receives a push notification on her mobile device, showing an “extra 15% off today” on the shoes she viewed previously online.

Such a contextual engagement makes for a great customer experience and nudges the customer to move along in the buyer journey. The result: the retailer increases conversion and basket size.


Geofencing — the use of GPS to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

Hyper-targeted — the ability to interact based on real-time context and specific smart triggers that have influence over an individual’s customer journey.

Real-time streaming decision layer — an event based layer that recognizes patterns in events as they happen and brings together context to react to those events as they are happening.

The ZineOne system connects the customer’s online activities to their in-store journey, enabling the retailer to interact in-context with the customer based on who they are, what they have done, and what they are doing, in real-time.

Debjani Deb

Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder

For More Information

To learn more about the ZineOne real-time streaming decision layer technology, visit our website at or send us a message to connect further at

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