Swirl Hands Brick-And-Mortars A Weapon To Battle Amazon Showrooming

Swirl’s integration Bluetooth beacons, wi-fi, and GPS location signals on its new Mobile Presence Management and Marketing platform is premised on the notion that personalization is best achieved in person and in-store.

Proximity advertising specialist Swirl is presenting its Mobile Presence Management and Marketing Platform as the answer to the increased challenge to physical stores by Amazon.

Major retailers such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom have all posted weak Q1 sales, as e-commerce purchases generally (including Amazon in particular) have cut into in-store shopping. And as Amazon plans to open more physical locations, retailers are certainly receptive for enhancing whatever digital tools they have in their arsenal to fight off the e-tail giant’s advance.

Swirl’s In-Store Defense System

Its new software platform allows retailers to “systematically generate and leverage first-party shopper behavioral data based on a broad set of digital location signals (spanning GPS, wi-fi and Bluetooth beacons) in and around their physical stores,” a rep for Swirl said.

By better organizing Swirl’s array of proximity-based marketing offerings, brick-and-mortar businesses can take advantage of digital location signals for measurement, marketing, merchandising, and customer service applications to increase stores’ level of personalized service.

“Brick and mortar retailers have struggled to keep up with Amazon’s personalization capabilities because they have been unable to build the necessary data foundation — a deep understanding of individual customer needs and preferences,” Swirl says. “Amazon’s personalization engine is powered by a massive set of behavioral data that is collected from every visit, click and purchase that is made on its ecommerce properties.”

In Swirl’s view, traditional retailers have been hampered by an inability to capture similar data on individual customers in their physical stores, where more than 90 percent of sales take place.

Back in December, Swirl published a survey that found very few retailers are provided a seamless shopping experience across in-store, online, and mobile, even as “omnichannel” tools web-to-shop pickup have gained considerable attention this year. Furthermore, Swirl posits that retailers that “continue to push irrelevant content, ads and offers risk alienating consumers and losing business to competitors.”

Most notably, a mere quarter of the 1,000 people who participated in Swirl’s survey said that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers regularly demonstrate an understanding of their individual preferences and needs.

Stores Can Play Offense, Too

Given that consumers are searching on their smartphones for where to shop, Swirl helps local brands connect with those location signals. In addition to sending a targeted ad, Swirl also gathers the corresponding data that emanates from consumers’ digital devices via clients’ opt-in apps. Both directly and indirectly, consumers are constantly telling retailers what they want via mobile searches, app usage, and social media check-ins. Swirl’s new platform makes it a bit easier for its store partners to listen more closely for those signals and act on it in real time.

“Brick and mortar retailers have been at a significant disadvantage relative to their online-only counterparts for far too long when it comes to data and digital marketing capabilities,” said Hilmi Ozguc, Swirl’s CEO. “With the introduction of the Swirl Mobile Presence Management and Marketing Platform, we are leveling the playing field by enabling retailers to take full advantage of the digital location signals in their stores. With these new capabilities, retailers will be able to transform their stores into valuable strategic marketing assets that can be used to drive even greater business results.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.