A new digital analytics tool from Moneris Solutions Corp. is hoping to make it easier for retailers to measure the effect digital ad spending can have on in-store purchases and ROI with its newly launched product.

Announced at a downtown Toronto event on Tuesday, Offlinx is Moneris’ new digital marketing analytics tool that it touts as a first-of-its kind solution for connecting online consumer activity with in-store purchases.

“We’re able to give our retail customers a tool that allows them to understand something they never understood before, which is the effect of their digital marketing spend on their in-store retail spend,” Malcolm Fowler chief product and partnership officer at Moneris told ITBusiness.ca, noting that while e-commerce continues to grow, 90 per cent of purchases are still happening in brick and mortar stores.

Being Canada’s largest processor of credit and debit payments, Moneris has a vast amount of data collected from the 3.5 billion transactions that happen each year through its system. The idea behind Offlinx, said Fowler is to use this collection of data to show the direct link between digital marketing and online as well as in-store ROI.

How it works

The tool collects data through email, affiliations, paid and organic search, referrals and social media as well as from regional locations and stores.

It allows retailers to know what is driving sales and revenue with key performance indicators (KPIs) about how consumers interact with digital advertising campaigns, what channel they interact with, whether its email campaigns, social media or search engines.

Similar products that analyze the ROI of marketing do exist, and Google Ads does have a tool that allows marketers track in-person visits to stores, however it is based off the idea that the consumer is geo-tagged through their mobile device while in store and doesn’t necessarily equate to a purchase.

The difference with Offlinx according to Fowler is the data it can offer regarding actual in-store purchases. He says that while other solutions do exist, those solutions “are [only] able to attribute online advertising to e-commerce website purchases, but none have existed that extend that to what physical purchases are happening in the store network.”

Offlinx, which is generally available as of Tuesday to all Moneris customers, could also make it easier for retailers to view and understand the KPIs since it is displayed through an easy-to-interact-with dashboard.

The Offlinx dashboard, shown at the product launch, Toronto.

The dashboard demonstration at the event showed a drag and drop-style dashboard that lets the user personalize and compare various types of data, for example, a retailer can choose to compare what channel is driving the traffic to in-store versus online purchases.

The data can be viewed by geography as well, down to a specific, province, region and even data specific to each store/retail location.

“Offlinx uses a linking mechanism to connect anonymized devices to tokenized payment cards, leveraging cookie-based tracking and Moneris’ secure payment transaction network. It then applies an algorithm to source web traffic and total conversion of online and offline [sales]” stated the press release.

Fowler pointed out that security was one of the major concerns when creating Offlinx. Dealing with this type and amount of data, he said, needs to be treated in a private and secure manner, noting the security of the Moneris system.

Another key feature that was important when Moneris came up with the idea for the tool, was to be able to provide data in real-time.

“The data has to be really fresh, so we found a new way to feed data in real-time through our engines so that we could tell marketers today about transactions that happened last night, not last month, because the decisions they make need to reflect the speed at which digital marketing ads can be changed,” said Fowler.

The Canadian use-case

When Moneris’s head of data and insights solutions, Sanjeev Chib, came up with the idea three years ago the company decided to approach Indigo Books and Music Inc. to help test the new tool.

Since then Indigo has been working with the Offlinx team to help develop the product and Samantha Taylor, senior VP of marketing loyalty and customer intelligence for Indigo told ITBusiness.ca that the company has already seen positive results in at least three areas.

She says it has help Indigo understand how its customers interact with its website and online store; helped take an in-depth look at how to spend marketing budgets based on regions and individual stores; as well as understanding the value of paid versus non-paid traffic and how Indigo should be investing.

At the event, Moneris recognized Indigo for its support in the project with the inaugural Moneris Innovator Award.

Taylor says being innovative as a retailer in the Canadian market is important, “the entire Canadian market is changing so fast and we pride ourselves in being a place that is very customer-centric…[Indigo] is always open and looking for innovative companies to partner with so we can do our job better, and serve our customers needs, in this ever-changing and ever-evolving big landscape.”

As of Tuesday Offlinx is now available to all Moneris customers and its operated by embedding standard pixel tags to the retailer’s domain.

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