Technology can literally drive customers to your store

“Uncle, please u-turn,” says a taxi passenger upon seeing a store promotion on a screen inside the car. That is a true story of how in-car screens can literally drive customers to your store.

With technology transforming the retail sector, traditional out-of-home (OOH) advertising is moving towards the Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) medium using screens and tablets. Commonly seen at lift lobbies, in-store displays or large, digital billboards, screens are versatile as a digital touchpoint, scalable, and targeted at a specific demographic based on its location.

Mark Forsyth

What is less known is Digital OOH’s ‘ride-to-store’ strategies which target consumers who ride in taxis or ride-sharing vehicles. Such in-vehicle screens provide a more dynamic and interactive engagement previously not possible in traditional OOH channels and allow retailers to target consumers based on their profile, location, time of day, and other factors – and drive customers to your store.

With an addressable market of 278 million people in Southeast Asia, this digital platform provides retailers with an opportunity to offer a mass customised brand experience and drive customers to retail using this unique media environment.

Unlike the mass advertising nature of OOH advertising, in-vehicle engagement is intimate – a one-on-one relationship for a minimum of 20 minutes in a captive environment. In congestion-heavy cities like Jakarta, Bangkok or Manila, the duration is even longer.

So, what is the future of in-vehicle brand engagement?

Ecommerce and mobile payment integration

The battle over the second screen is influencing the way millennials and other generations use their mobile devices to consume media, work and shop. As in-vehicle tablets and screens are beginning to scale en-masse in Southeast Asia, e-commerce players are in unique position to take advantage of this digital platform to provide consumers with a seamless, multi-platform digital shopping experience from tablet-to-mobile, connecting one platform to another.

Our experience working with e-commerce players like Lazada, Foodpanda and Deliveroo has predominantly been to grow their consumer base to support their market entry and growth in the region. In August 2018, Lazada Philippines ran a campaign to showcase its new TVC and latest weekly deals for lead-generation and reward drivers through an interactive gift box offering a surprise discount voucher. The campaign resulted in more than 380,000 impressions and an engagement rate of 1.28 per cent.

ride to store (1)

The next phase is to fully integrate in-vehicle screens into the full m-commerce experience – from product consideration and selection, payment via QR code, mobile payment, to electronic receipt and delivery confirmation and we are piloting a demonstration of this with an online florist.

Targeting consumers using geo-fencing and day-parting

As they say, timing is everything. In a captive environment, content seen at the right time, at the right location can translate into higher sales conversions using technology such as geo-fencing and day-parting.

Geo-fencing is a location-based service that triggers a pre-programmed action in a given set of boundaries, allowing retailers to focus on passengers originating or alighting in a specific area. For example, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) ran several in-vehicle campaigns geo-fenced around their location where the taxi screen will show passengers, alighting or departing from their premises, a targeted promotion for that period.

One of the specific campaigns was to promote MBS celebrity chef restaurants through an interactive campaign featuring the various celebrity chefs, their culinary expertise and restaurant information. Targeted at techno-savvy passengers who were familiar with ride-hailing apps, the four week in-vehicle campaign resulted in almost 60,000 impressions in Singapore.

ride to store (4)

ride to store (3)

On the other hand, day-parting schedules content at opportune moments throughout the day. It works by dividing a day into several segments and selecting when the advertisements should be shown. For example, ads can be restricted to show during certain times of the day such as during store hours or on weekdays, reinforcing studies of retail behaviour which suggest that certain times of the day are better for driving purchases while other times of the day might be better for branding.

Consumer targeting with AI and facial recognition

We expect next year to be when artificial intelligence (AI) will make a breakthrough in the retail industry, with more retailers using it to power various parts of the retail and e-commerce experience.

With the growing capabilities of AI, we are experimenting with such technology in cars to identify and serve relevant content to consumers, beginning with presence and facial recognition. Once a passenger commences a ride, our screen is engaged while the biometric sensors and computer vision work out the person’s demographic characteristics in a matter of seconds.

Facial recognition goes one step further to identify the face, not the person, and their preferences so that our algorithm then selects and recommends appropriate content. With the passenger’s preferences mapped against location, geolocation patterns emerge that improve our predictive accuracy, allowing us to evolve content recommendations even as the car cruises through the city.

Augmented reality: trying it out on the go

We are starting to see Augmented Reality (AR) incorporated into the retail experience which allows customers to have an immersive brand experience by enabling them to envision the item they are considering purchasing.

AR can be used to do virtual product testing, gamification and in-store navigation. Brands like Timberland and Topshop have used Kinect technology to create virtual fitting rooms for shoppers to try clothes and accessories, making the retailer experience more convenient and novel, thus encouraging footfall into stores.

Research by RetailPerceptions found 61 per cent of shoppers would prefer to shop at stores that offer AR and 40 per cent of them would be willing to pay more for a product to experience it through AR.

Expanding the AR experience into cars opens up exciting possibilities for mass customisation. The larger screen and captive environment provide a conducive environment for brands to engage with passengers in a unique and memorable experience to try products on themselves – be it accessories, make-up, and sunglasses – and ultimately drive customers to your store.

  • Mark Forsyth is CEO at IDOOH.

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