Adobe Analytics’ New Project Brings Together the Online and Offline Retail Experience

It was announced at the company's summit in Las Vegas

The new research project hasn't been seen by any of Adobe's customers. Getty Images
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Retailers are continually questioning whether their websites are working effectively throughout the sales cycle. Now, Adobe Analytics believes it can answer those questions.

Experience Analytics, which the company unveiled for the first time at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, lets retailers link how many customers searched for a product on a site and then how many bought it offline. With the tool, retailers can track how customers went from searching for an item to adding it to their cart to using “store locator” tools to eventually buying it offline.

The tool creates a customer identification data point (which is anonymous and aggregated) that links the offline and online parts of the purchase journey. The offline data point is captured through a point-of-sale system, beacons or CRM software when a customer makes a purchase in-store. It’s then tied to their online identification record through an existing relationship the retailer has with the consumer, whether it’s the customer logging in to the site or having their information already in the system.

Brands haven’t been able to kick the tires on this yet. As a research project that’s part of Adobe’s Sneaks program, an Adobe Summit event in which the company shows off the latest innovations from Adobe Labs, none of Adobe’s customers have seen it, and it isn’t necessarily being fully developed for use. An Adobe spokesperson said about 60 percent of Sneaks projects do eventually become actual products, so retailers and brands could potentially see the tool come to life.

As an example of what Experience Analytics can do, Adobe created a scenario in which a generic item brought in around 12,000 visitors to a search results page. Of those 12,000 customers, around 90 percent decided to add the product to their cart. To see which of those customers decided to purchase the product offline, the tool further refined who looked for a store (about 7,000 people). Finally, only 765 of the 7,000 ended up making an offline purchase.

From the offline purchase, retailers can also whittle it down to even smaller data points like which product a customer bought or if they bought more than one item.

Retailers can also track other things like who ordered online and picked up in-store as an indicator of an online-to-offline purchase.

Trevor Paulsen, senior product manager at Adobe Analytics, said the tool would be valuable to retailers and brands because it’s easier to see the breakdown versus measuring a promotion or ad.

“Adobe developed Experience Analytics to combine all customer data into a single view, and we think it is the holy grail of reporting for many brick-and-click companies,” Paulsen said. “Marketers can see which online actions drove in-store activities—and vice versa. Not only does that mean better attribution of different campaign efforts, brands can engage customers in a more intuitive way as well.”

Within the new tool, retailers can compare products and how they sold online and offline or look at customers who bought something online, in a store or both. Segmenting the consumer audience this way allows brands to develop different promotional techniques to target customers.

This project could make the cut, considering some of Adobe’s retail clients include Home Depot, Macy’s and Nordstrom, just a few retailers trying to figure out the online and offline consumer game.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.