Retale Offers In-Store Foot Traffic Guarantee On In-App Inventory

Location-based shopping app Retale will now offer advertisers a warranty: foot traffic or your money back – at least in the form of a media makegood.

As of Tuesday, Retale will start doling out performance guarantees against its ability to drive in-store traffic within specific time parameters.

“We don’t talk to anybody anymore that doesn’t say they need to understand the connection between digital environments and what those environments actually do for in-store traffic,” said Retale EVP Nels Stromborg.

Guarantees of this nature are gaining in popularity as marketers demand more transparency into actual campaign performance.

Mobile location ad network xAd introduced a performance metric for foot traffic in mid-March that allows advertisers to buy media against in-store visits, rather than clicks.

But Retale is the first mobile publisher to offer a foot traffic guarantee.

The app has run close to 100 tests over the last two years on a monthly basis with almost every retailer on its platform, including JCPenney, Rite Aid and Meijer.

“Marketers are desperately trying to get away from clickthrough rates,” Stromborg said. “Devices are being used to make critical shopping decisions, and we’re ready to stick our necks out to prove it.”

Launched in 2013 by Bonial, German publisher Axel Springer’s digital ad unit, Retale digitizes and aggregates offline circulars, flyers, coupons and catalogs. The app’s retailer partners have an aggregate physical footprint of almost 1.5 million store locations around the world.

When US users download the app – Retale claims 10 million downloads and between 4 and 5 million monthly actives – they’re required to select their favorite retailers, the ones whose content they’re interested in seeing, from a list of roughly 200.

For now, the guarantee only applies to Retale’s US retailer partners, although the app will explore expanding it to Retale’s global footprint of roughly 5,200 retail partners and 26 million users worldwide.

Retale has found that when a user accesses content through the app, that means the person will likely walk into a store within the next two to three days, since hunting for coupons takes place quite low in the funnel.

In the past, Retale only charged its retailers on a CPE basis when users actually engaged with its content. The in-store visit guarantee takes that a step further.

When an app user looks at certain content in the app and then triggers a desired geofence within a particular timeframe, Retale can claim credit for helping drive the action.

Like xAd, Retale is partnering with location analytics company Placed for third-party verification and attribution.

In the process of testing its ability to drive foot traffic over the last couple of years, Retale has learned a number of key lessons, Stromborg said, including the fact that results vary significantly – often by three or four times – based on the frequency of purchase.

The lift in foot traffic for a furniture retailer, for example, is going to be far less than what you’d see for a grocery store, where consumers are likely to shop on a weekly basis.

There are also a few kinks to iron out. At least for now, size matters.

“We do run into some trouble if we’re looking at a 10-chain grocery store vs. a large national retailer,” Stromborg said. “It can be difficult to get the scale needed to show measurable, statistically relevant results.”

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