Ace Hardware shows shopper frequency improvements with mobile advertising

Posted on August 28, 2012


Clearly any retailer is looking to improve in three areas-

1- add more to the cart

2- increase the number of shopper visits

3- add new customers

Mobile resonates in all of these areas. However,  none of these ares improves through mobile without a concerted effort on the brand side to manage the process.

Those brands that do acknowledge the mobile channel as a relevant part of the marketing efforts will win.

In the ‘old days’ (and by that i mean 5 years ago) merchants would use ROP print newspaper advertising as a significant driver of foot traffic as well as circulars and direct mail. In the US, Q1 of 2012 showed that ad revenue from newspapers hovered around 1.1 Billion and Billboards was just a slight bit under that. Think of that impact- traditional methods of reaching localized consumers through newspaper as, direct mail and circulars has fallen off the scale as a real method of moving goods. What can a merchant do? Heck all the CO-OP that they raise goes to brand marketing and we all know how effective that is in getting dollars in the register. Think about a company that has 95% brand and consumer reach and recognition putting cash into trying to get to 96%- what a waste of money and we all know that this is really difficult to measure.

Now, with the loss of price circulation through traditional newspaper ads and local print campaigns , mobile is setting on the horizon to fill that gap. What is the problem? IT gets in the way of merchandising. IT by nature is a cost burden on a company- they make their  way through developing more efficient systems and they work on 2 year schedules. Just ask a marketer or a merchant in a large company what it is like to work with IT to get mobile included (or anything) included in a short term situation – it simply doesn’t happen easily. But there in lies the opportunity. Being agile in mobile is difficult, and traditional methods of measurement are problematic, but the impact of new technology- like mobile-  is never clearly defined at the outset. it takes some leap of faith. Usually that leap is easily understood when you observe your customers, however most big enterprises cannot react quickly. This is the challenge and the test of IT now and in the future.

Let marketing drive the innovation and push IT to get beyond the ‘not built here’ ideology and move quickly to meet the needs of the customer. Those brands that do will win over their competition in the end. Those that start now, as imperfect as it may appear, will learn and excel.

Mobile Commerce Daily By   “Mobile ads are all about collecting data, learning more about your consumers likes and dislikes in order to serve them better and ROI,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.

Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with Ace Hardware. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Ace Hardware did not respond by press deadline.

Ace Hardware is continuing to show that mobile advertising is a workhorse for the company with a new time-sensitive, targeted campaign.

The Ace Hardware ads are running in The Weather Channel’s mobile site. The ads encourage users to find a nearby store to stock up on fall items for their home projects.

Fall on mobile
Animation is being used in the mobile ads to read, “When the winds die down, the pickup season begins. Get your recovery started.” Another set of copy reads, “You can’t control the weather. You can control how well you weather it.”

The ads also include the Ace Hardware logo and encourage users to tap to find a nearby store.

When users tap on the banner ad, they are directed to Ace Hardware’s mobile site where they can enter their ZIP code to find the nearest store.

From there, consumers can view a list of all nearby stores with directions, contact information and a map.

Users can view ads for particular stores that are sorted by category. Each sale item shows consumers how much they save and how long the offer is good until.

The Ace Hardware banner ads

Links at the bottom of the page promote the brand’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, which lets users stay in touch with the brand.

Users can find a nearby store

Mobile construction
Ace Hardware does not have a commerce-enabled mobile site.

Therefore, the goal behind everything that the company has done thus far in mobile is to drive in-store traffic and revenue.

Using location and seasonal marketing to sway users in-store has been beneficial for Ace Hardware with certain campaigns showing successful results.

For instance, another seasonal campaign that Ace Hardware ran with the Weather Channel generated a 61 percent purchase intent with users who saw the ad. The campaign also helped build brand awareness for Ace Hardware (see story).

Additionally, in 2010 Ace Hardware worked with Microsoft Mobile Advertising on a campaign to reach homeowners with four different offers. The campaign claimed to increase brand awareness by 60 percent (see story).

Using seasonal, time-specific ads alongside weather content gives a mobile ad stronger context, leading to better engagement.

Besides advertising, Ace Hardware also bolstered sign-ups for its Ace Rewards Visa Credit Card recently with a mobile app that let users apply for a branded credit card. The app is operated by U.S. Bank (see story).