How your POS data can power retail marketing automation

Michael Poyser
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Increasingly, retailers are automating processes to reduce overheads and operational costs. Retail marketing is no exception. 

But beyond the bottom-line benefits, retail marketing automation presents a powerful opportunity to drive customer engagement, loyalty, and profit. To unlock it, you just need the right retail marketing analytics software and real-time POS (point-of-sale) data

The power of real-time POS data and retail marketing automation

The traditional approach to retail marketing involves manually setting up and delivering campaigns in batches. It usually means sending a blanket offer to a list of customers, for example, a coupon that gives 20% off children's items as part of a September back-to-school campaign.     

But with retail marketing automation powered by your POS data, you can make your campaigns much more timely and targeted. 

This is enabled by retail marketing analytics software. The software collects and centralizes your POS data in real-time. Then you can set up rules so that certain customer behaviors trigger personalized campaigns.

A customer does something, like buying from a product category for the first time. The software identifies this behavior, as it happens, from your real-time POS data. This instantly triggers a relevant campaign to be sent out to the customer with a personalized offer or messaging, via their preferred channel.  

And you don't have to lift a finger. 

Here are some examples of what this could look like in practice.

Example 1: Winning back lapsed customers

Adam was an ardent buyer of coffee at your retailer. For months, he’d regularly restock on his favorite brand of roast and ground coffee, spending at least £10 a week.

One day, something changed. Adam spotted a slightly better deal at a competitor and started stocking up there instead. His loyalty – and the revenue it generates for your business – has wavered.

But not for long. The rules of your retail marketing automation are set up to detect ‘lapsed’ customers like Adam. Real-time POS data shows that after a nine-month period of consistent coffee purchasing, Adam hasn’t bought a bean in one of your stores for over a month.

This automatically triggers a campaign to win him back. He gets a voucher – this could be delivered digitally or via coupon at till – for £2 off if he spends £10 or more on coffee at one of your stores. It’s an offer he can’t resist, and before you know it, he’s back to being one of your regular coffee-consuming customers.

Because the list of customers to target with the campaign is constantly being updated in real-time, Adam is removed from the list as soon as he becomes a loyal customer again. So, your campaign efforts aren’t being spent on customers who aren’t right for it.

Read the 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics. Discover how to  transform your data into targeted marketing. 

Example 2: Driving loyalty in a new product category

Katie has always been curious to try alcohol-free beer. On a bright Saturday afternoon, she decides to take the plunge and buys a can of 0% beer at one of your stores.

Real-time POS data tracked from Katie’s loyalty card ID identifies that this is her first purchase of this product, which automatically triggers a campaign. Her receipt features a QR code that links to a video that shows how the manufacturer removes the alcohol from the beer without losing any of its refreshing taste. Her receipt also includes a coupon for 15% off her next four pack.

The beer is a hit, and with the educational messaging and coupon served seamlessly and in real-time, Katie is convinced to buy a case for her barbecue the following week. Her loyalty in that product category has increased, and the beer is soon a regular staple of her weekly shop.

Automation is the smarter way to scale and optimize your marketing

With manual marketing processes, the scale of your retail marketing efforts is always limited. You’ll plan and implement a batch of campaigns. For example, 20 coupon-at-till campaigns for the next month. Then you’ll have to do the same for the next month, and the next, and so on.

But with automated marketing, the sky is the limit. Once you’ve set up your customer journeys and campaigns, your marketing scales with you as you grow. You can go from running 20 campaigns a month to 200, or even 2,000, all triggering automatically to the right people at the right time. 

Retail marketing automation also allows you to test more hypotheses for your campaigns. For instance, you can create three different versions of a campaign – one where customers get a £1 coupon when they spend £10, one where they get a £2 coupon if they spend £15, and a third where they receive an educational message instead. Then you can trial all three in tandem, use retail marketing analytics to see which one drives the most engagement, and optimize your campaigns around the results.

It's time to reap the benefits of retail marketing automation

There are clear benefits to automating any repetitive, labor-intensive, or tedious tasks. But there’s more to retail marketing automation than just saving time and money.

By harnessing your POS data, you can use automated marketing to:

  • Deliver more relevant messages to customers via the right channel at the right time
  • Drive engagement and loyalty at scale
  • Test and optimize your campaigns continuously to improve results

The 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics


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