No matter which publications you visit for your daily tech, mobile or marketing fix, you won’t be able to avoid noise being made around new multi-channel marketing strategies. Savvy consumers are playing their part, being located not only across an increase of digital touch points, but also across numerous devices.

They also shop in-store too let’s not forget!

We’re at a stage whereby the commerce worlds of offline and online are set to converge and explode. With more smartphones and tablets being produced and shipped, consumers are increasingly agile in how they engage in their own purchase journey. While effort is currently being placed on tracking users across different platforms and also tracking at the point of sale, there are already a number of technologies available right now that can help an online company market to, and be remunerated for, offline sales.

Here’s a list of five technologies that can bridge the online / offline gap, along with some examples of them in action.

1. Affordable Same Day Online Delivery

High street stores are accountable for many impulse purchases and must-haves through the ability to hand over the product at the till rather than waiting for a three to five day, next day or expensive same day delivery through online ordering. While some retailers have succeeded in the interim with in-store collection, a way to encourage online impulse purchases with close to real-time and affordable delivery are just starting to turn up. – a new start-up that’s already integrating both with online and in-store retailers, allows you to integrate its technology directly into a brand’s e-commerce platform, connecting shoppers with a network of local same-day carriers, increasing convenience along the customer journey.

By offering a competitive delivery price around £4.99, customers will receive same-day delivery and also the ability to choose a window slot for delivery. Within minutes from purchase, you can have products delivered direct to your customer’s door.

2. Call Tracking Technology

Not necessarily a new technology, but one that’s becoming ever more relevant to online stakeholders as more smartphones are shipped allowing for consumers to shop on-the-go. Closing the loop between leads and revenue, while also closing the loop for online and offline sales, makes call tracking technologies another huge revenue driver for online companies.

Here’s a great video on the pros of enabling call tracking.

There is a number of third parties and in-house companies such as RingRevenue, Freespee, ResponseTap, RingLeads and many more which offer call tracking solutions that minimise leakage, enhance customer journey tracking and offer mobile-based lead generation.

3. Digital Wallets

While the US has had a taste of things to come with Google Wallet in the UK and Europe, we’re just starting to see adoption of contactless card payments. However, there has been a lot of significant background noise and rumblings around digital wallets that aren’t too far from mass adoption. But what could this mean for online companies?

Here’s a (very cheesy) video from Google about their wallet product:

For me the most important part of this video is that with Google Wallet you’ll be able to download and store offers directly to your wallet which you can redeem through either a barcode scan or by simply paying for the items in-store, as the discounts will be removed automatically. Google are yet to announce when they’ll be launching across the UK / EU / ROW, but with mass adoption of NFC set to be around 2015 we’re sure it won’t be long.

The problem here is that essentially Google aren’t just closing the loop between online and offline, but potentially closing it from publisher use too. There are a number of other wallet offerings launching every month. Every one of the big players such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all have an offering, as do a number of joint advertiser ventures like the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) which was announced last year.

In the UK a joint venture was recently announced with the top three phone networks of Vodafone, Telefonica (O2) and EE which created a mobile platform named Weve.

‘By storing everything from loyalty cards and coupons, to credit and debit cards in one place, our wallet technology will enable companies of all sizes to get involved in the mobile wallet revolution.’ – so it says on their website.

Integration with digital wallets we’re sure will become an integral challenge for many online businesses over the next couple of years.

4. EPoS Integration

Less of a technology, but the integration with online is critical to a multi-channel approach.

As mentioned above, a digital wallet is one way to track a purchase to the point of sale, but there are other ways that online can be integrated with electronic point of sale systems.

In-store cashback is available through some retailers, which allows an online loyalty user to register their credit and debit cards and assign them to their user account. When shopping in-store this user then receives cashback into their online loyalty account. When needing to shop offline, or for a hurried purchase, you’ll likely find that users will be influenced to purchase in certain stores thanks to their cashback offering. Companies such as make available in-store cashback facilities for the likes of Quidco

In-store redemptions through mobile voucher applications and printable vouchers are available to drive customer footfall into high street stores, and a recent article on PerformanceIN told of how there were 6.5 billion mobile coupon redemptions in 2012. Quite a significant number! There is still a large element of trust associated with in-store voucher redemptions due to a lack of closed-loop solutions, however companies such as Eagle Eye can be used to oversee revenue figures and coupon integration.

Again, the introduction of NFC and phone-payments will help to close this loop further and offer other opportunities.


5. QR Codes

Last but not least, the interim solution to multichannel marketing. The quick response (QR) code has been widely adopted as a way to push offline marketing, online. While it’s not as slick as a ‘tap and pay’ wallet scenario, or an automatic cashback credit to your loyalty account, the QR code has played its part well in transitioning online to offline, and vice versa.

A few examples include the Argos pop-up shop that was located in a number of London train stations during the busy Christmas period.

These had a selection of top 10 Christmas gifts for men, women and children alongside a scannable QR code. The code took you to the check and reserve feature on Argos’s m-commerce website, which allowed you to reserve the product at the Argos store nearest the train station.

We’ve also seen publishers use QR codes with embedded affiliate links within print advertising.