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Saint Patrick’s Day is this weekend, which for many will mean getting dressed up in their finest greenery and heading out to watch the parade go by.  For businesses in the area, holidays like this can often be bittersweet as local foot traffic skyrockets without necessarily translating to increased sales.

The potential for retailers to profit from a surge in customers during special events such as parades or street festivals is huge.  Sealing the deal is another story: customers are so close, yet so far.  Short of putting up a flashing “We’re Open” sign, what’s a store to do?

Jeff Gennette, Chief Marketing Officer at Macy’s, discussed how technology might give retailers the help they need with SAP’s Michael Schulze at the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA)’s Executive Summit this week in Washington, DC.  Gennette shared how Macy’s is strategically targeting younger “millenial” consumers who are more comfortable with digital, mobile and social technologies.  One of the ways Gennette and his team are looking to implement that is by using a combination of RFID, near-field communication, and geolocation technologies to provide targeted personal offers during special events like their annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

When you combine the universal appeal of a good deal with the nail-biting countdown of Groupon and target shoppers through market segmentation, you’ve got a winning formula.

The idea is fantastic. As a native of Montreal – widely regarded as Canada’s “Festival City” – I often find myself downtown with my family enjoying a jazz, comedy, or fireworks festival.  In the summer heat, I’d be ripe for the picking if I were to receive location-based, time-sensitive discounts to restaurants, retail stores, or entertainment venues. 

When you combine the universal appeal of a good deal with the nail-biting countdown of Groupon and target shoppers through market segmentation, you’ve got a winning formula.  That’s what’s at the heart of SAP’s Precision Retailing solution that I got to see first-hand in a demonstration at the annual Development Kickoff Meeting (DKOM) at SAP Labs Montreal this week.  While I can’t go into details just yet, I can say that we are doing some incredibly exciting co-innovation that will push the envelope on this very subject.  I look forward to sharing more on this first-hand in the coming months.

For now, keep your eyes out for store window displays if you’re looking for a deal while you’re out and about. Pretty soon, those deals will come looking for you!

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Louis Bridgman is a professional communicator and retail industry

observer.  For the past six years, he has contributed to SAP retail

solutions by writing everything from software documentation and

training material to marketing collateral.

Follow @LouisBridgman

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    1. Louis Bridgman Post author

      Thanks, Derek!  I’ll be part of a 20,000-member pilot project this spring, and I think the concept has the potential to seriously improve the digital experience of living in a major urban center.

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