I just had a great breakfast with Vikram Sharma, CEO of ShopLocal. He took me through a deck that reflects all the stuff that they’re doing with retailers. They’ve got their fingers in almost every area of the digital pie now: search, display, mobile, social media.
The company has largely migrated from a shopping destination that also manages retailers’ digital data to a marketing platform or vehicle for retailers and mediator between them and the rest of the digital universe. Apparently they’re doing extremely well.
We spoke about the ongoing challenge of measuring the online to offline conversion and about coupons and other tools (e.g., online tied to loyalty cards, mobile) that help bridge that gap.
We also spoke about the fact that many retailers are seeing their print ROI go down but don’t yet have coherent strategies for digital. It’s amazing that at this point in the Internet’s history there are still major retailers that haven’t fully embraced it yet.
The challenge of attribution and of tracking will remain a persistent problem in local because there’s no single analytics tool or solution that works every time on a campaign basis to reveal efficacy. Regardless, consumers are doing the “ROBO” thing and everyone understands that. Eventually marketers will be compelled to fully embrace that proposition and spend accordingly.