Over the past month, we’ve been extensively covering customer identification in retail. As we look around the omnichannel landscape, retailers are having a hard time having a true omnichannel experience. While there are tons of technology companies that have specialized in creating solutions ranging from customer experience to point-of-sale, Facebook could disrupt the omnichannel space in a way that would be tough to compete with over time.
Here are three reasons why Facebook could disrupt the retail space:
Identity & Scale
Facebook simply has a reach across the Internet that cannot be matched. With 1.5 billion people on the social network and almost 1 billion of them are checking Facebook every single day. What makes this extremely powerful is that each person’s profile is filled out and accurate and serves as a strong identifier compared to others used online. Facebook has done an incredible job of extending their reach online with the creation of Facebook Connect and it being used to sign-in to many popular apps and websites. If Facebook decides to move deeper into the retail space, having Facebook ID’s layered into the omnichannel experience can provide a whole new set of data for retailers.
The implications of taking Facebook’s social data and applying it to the physical store is immensely powerful. One of the biggest implications of using that data is in a product that is gaining significant momentum at Facebook. Atlas, the ad network Facebook bought from Microsoft a few years ago, has been rebuilt to challenge online heavyweights like Google and Twitter. Combining Facebook’s massive user base with the ability to track people across devices and attribute offline sales to online ad campaigns is something that many marketers have tried to crack but have had difficulty doing due to limits of the technology in place. Atlas gives omnichannel marketers much greater insight into their online advertising campaigns and the business results that marketers are held to achieving for their brand.
Facebook recently launched a beacon program, which allows retailers to order beacons with the intention of engaging with shoppers when they are in the store. The beacons provide businesses the ability to engage and personalize with people who visit a business within the Facebook app and provide tips and recommendations from friends in their social graph.
While this might not seem like that big of a deal, they are quietly testing these beacons and could make a serious play with the evolution of the physical store. Using that treasure trove of social data, whether to share content or promote offers is compelling for retailers to implement in their stores. Imagine Atlas connecting the in-store engagement data with beacons to the anonymized person and matching their mobile device usage to their interactions to advertisements.
Facebook has done a great job in its mission of connecting the world and bringing people closer together. Now that it has the identity and scale to reach people anytime, anywhere, it can start diving into to industries that are ripe to disruption. Omnichannel marketers need to pay close attention to Facebook in the coming years and should be aware and keeping pace and innovation of relevant advertising and multichannel attribution.
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