Editor’s note: This article is by IBM
Research’s Retail Lead Sima Nadler.
From retailers and banks, to medical centers and transportation
authorities, all businesses need to understand their customers better if they
want to provide a more personalized and compelling experience. This means they need
insight into their customers’ behavior patterns. Using the advanced analytics
behind IBM Presence Zones, they’ll be able to understand people’s shopping and
browsing patterns whether in the virtual (eCommerce) or physical world (brick
and mortar stores).
Today's mobile-based GPS technologies provide information
about our location by superimposing the location on a map or by providing
geo-coordinates. But this doesn't help businesses understand the meaning of the
location or identify if it's a department store, restaurant, airport, or the conference
room of an office building. Presence Zones delivers this context and merges it
with the customers’ eCommerce patterns – creating entirely new opportunities to
offer personalized services, and helping businesses understand more about their
Mapping the great
Originally developed at IBM Research – Haifa, and now an IBM
Smarter Commerce product, Presence Zones gives businesses an “indoors GPS” to
identify the location and context of mobile users. The technology is installed
in the location, similar to having Wifi at a café. It identifies mobile devices on the premises
and, after being granted permission, takes action. This could include offering
individualized location-based promotions, providing personalized service, tracking
foot traffic patterns for staff analysis, notifying employees of where they may
be needed, and even adjusting store infrastructure like the cooling and heating.
Once the device owner has opted into the service (per
business using Presence Zones), there's no need for any further action – it's
all done automatically without them ever having to take the mobile device out
of their pocket. When the system wants to interact with the customer, it does
so via various channels such as text messages, mobile apps, or email. The
retailer can send a reminder about other shopping deals even after the customer
has left the physical location.
In the same way retailers track their website’s browsing
patterns with sophisticated tools (such as IBM’s Coremetrics) for a granular
view of their customers' online preferences, IBM Presence Zones also gives them
their in-store customers’ past purchases and shopping patterns. With IBM
Presence Zones it's now possible to get the same type of insight when people
visit the physical location as when they visit the virtual one.
Labels: analytics, eCommerce, IBM Research - Haifa, in-store analytics, Presence Zones, retail, Sima Nadler