Blurring the Lines Between Online and Offline

Modern shoppers don’t shop online or offline – they just shop. If a customer is browsing online and receives a great personalised online experience, they expect that to translate into their in-store experience. Providing one seamless experience from online to the physical store is the big challenge for brands and retailers. 

Customers start their journey online with a click and collect service, by placing an order online. Often retailers have done a good job of making this online experience smooth and frictionless. But when a customer arrives in store – they don’t know where to go to collect their parcel, and when they do, they may have to queue for a long time. Customers have a poor experience that they do not wish to repeat.

So how can we bridge this gap between the digital and the physical experience?

Well, the great thing, is that 66% of UK adults [1] are walking around with a smartphone in their pocket, and some even with a smart watch on their wrist. We are all constantly connected online, as we walk around the physical world.

online and offlineLocalz recently conducted a study across over 1 million smartphone users.  This included both our own user base, and a survey of
others. We discovered that 90% of smartphone users have location services switched on.

So what does that mean?

It means that you can communicate with 80% of your app users, in real-time, as they walk into your store. Location technology can let you know, in real-time where a customer is in the physical world.  Not only that – you can communicate with them in real-time. Think of all the possibilities that opens up.


People often think of beacons when they think of location technology. But actually, a geofence, which is an area defined by GPS coordinates, can sometimes be just as effective. A geofence does not need hardware and takes minutes to setup.

Using this technology is an easy way to connect your customers’ online experience with their in-store experience.

If you think customers get annoyed if they feel like they are being spammed via email, imagine how they will react if they feel like you are spamming them on their mobile phone. Flooding customers with annoying irrelevant offers is not the answer.

If a customer has had a great personalised experience online, this needs to translate into their in-store experience. Removing friction from an experience to provide better customer service is the best use of location technology.

For instance, Woolworths Australia is using geofences across over 200 stores, using Localz Click & Collect to improve the retailer’s click and collect experience. The initial results from using location technology include dropping average collection times from 15 mins to 7 mins, with the fastest collection being just under a minute. This continues to improve. To read the full use case, click here.

The great thing about starting with a service experience is that customers are then more engaged with your brand, and will be much more likely to be open to offers that are personalised and relevant to them. This personalisation can now also include the context of where they are, at that moment in time.

Customers spend up to 3 times more if they shop both online and in-store [2]. So for retailers, it’s worth getting it right.

But more importantly, customers will have a better experience – and will love you for it.

[1] Source:

[2] Source: John Lewis “How we shop 2014” report