John D. Corbett, PhD is Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of aWhere, which provides an analytics platform focused on location intelligence.
AdExchanger.com: Please give us a bit of history about aWhere. A new company? Or pivoting for new opportunity?
aWhere is a ten year old company that has historically focused on the agribusiness and world health markets. The business was constructed on robust geographic information system (GIS) technology, providing the means to integrate a variety of causal data elements with geographic location intelligence. The growth of mapping tools and information sources has made these tools even more valuable over the company’s growth.
What problem is aWhere solving today?
The general set of solutions are focused on enabling more informed business decisions by integrating disparate data sources and applying analytic tools clearly point to what causal factors will drive growth. A good illustration of this is using trading area methods to append shopper demographics to retail stores, then matching the shopper demographic profile to heavy consumption profiles for consumer products. This directs the intelligent assortment of items for individual retail stores.
aWhere is focused on analyzing product items at store level, and has methods uniquely designed to process that volume of data. Other providers like ESRI or MapInfo provide general use software and mapping tools, but do not have the analytic models designed for specific vertical industries. Claritas and Spectra offering similar methods, but are typically not working the volume of product by store level detail that aWhere is designed for application.
Why did aWhere move into packaged goods?
The CPG market has the need for very detailed product by store analysis, and has the broad availability of information sources to feed the tools. This vertical space is a very mature industry with extensive retailer and distributor business models build on the release and analysis of product by store detail. Importantly, the industry is able to execute business analysis and implement store level recommendations, making it very attractive for application of the aWhere tools.
How and why are retailers making in-store sales data freely available?
Several major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, and Whole Foods have well established business models built on release of item by store level sales detail to the manufacturer communities. Most other major retailers in the CPG space have some form of detail data release established either on a more selective release basis, such as to the leading manufacturers in each category, or periodic release, such as to feed an analytic process that they want the manufacturer to perform, already in place.
Discuss the pain points for aWhere’s clients today.
The shortest path to value for the aWhere offering is store or store cluster level product assortment solutions. As the methods for matching the product item consumer profile to the store shopper profile provides a clear and actionable business recommendation, clients find this to be a quick return on their investment. The ability to aid clients in building a broader distribution base is measurable and quantifiable.
How has Point-of-Sale data evolved over the past few years? And, what kind of scale are we talking about here in terms of data processing today?
This trend has accelerated over the last five years. As processing power and data storage costs have fallen, the ability for retailers to store and manage item level detail has created the availability of this information. A typical retail grocery store will stock 40K items and will hold daily detail on the transaction volume across their stores. So, for a large grocery chain it would be common to find a thousand stores with 40K items in each store and have them processing and storing daily transactions.
How could a digital marketer make aWhere data work for them?
Any marketer who is attempting to measure the impact of on-line ads or promotions in off-line sales volume can find value in the aWhere offering. The means to geographically target campaign weight, then measure the precise impact on off-line transactions creates the path to measure ad impact. As the transaction volume can be tracked at item, store, day level, any geographically targeted campaign can be measured with high precision.
What about couponing and other parts of the marketing mix? How is a marketer going to achieve proper attribution?
A standard approach to this is to hold other variables constant by having the same program offering operating in the test and control ad markets. This is typically easy to do as most trade and coupon programs are running in very broad geographies, and thus allow the client to overlay the test ad schedule over existing marketing plans.
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