Time-stamped coupons may be so yesterday. Thanks to a generation of new mobile apps, retailers no longer have to wait until a purchase is made to send their customers special promotions; they can make offers in real time, right in the aisles.

User-friendly

These apps allow brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with the personalization and convenience of online shopping. Fueled with consumer data, retailers are more adept at identifying shopping patterns and anticipating customer needs.

For example, if you’re a time-starved mom passing the baby aisle, you may receive information regarding a sale on diapers and healthy convenient meal options in the frozen aisle. Through the use of predictive data analytics, the store can further see that you typically buy organic produce and heart-healthy items rather than salty snacks. Know­ing that shoppers who regularly pur­chase both organic produce and heart-healthy items tend to spend more—and look for value, tips and ideas—the merchant could send you recipes with coupons for the ingredients.

"Mobile apps provide a picture of the shopping journey in context, so merchants can communicate in a timely manner both in and out of the store.

This example illustrates a key fea­ture that sets mobile apps apart from other forms of marketing. They provide a picture of the shopping journey in context, so merchants can communicate in a timely manner both in and out of the store.

Meanwhile, the data allows the retailer to create and send one-to-one offers, coupons and shopping lists while the analytics equip them to offer products with personalized pricing.

The (personalized) price is right

The days of one-size-fits-all pricing are going the way of the dodo bird. Data gleaned from mobile apps now allows retailers to tailor prices ac­cording to demand, consumer behavior and competition. Stores can personalize offers in real time, sending limit­ed-time specials on items that are relevant.

Consider if your local grocer could identify your pro­pensity for health, convenience and value. And, based on analysis of your past purchases, knows that in addition to fresh fruit and low-fat dairy items, you occasionally purchase premium ice cream. Along with offers for the foods you buy regularly, the grocer can send a special price on ice cream when you’re near the freezer case.

That kind of delicious surprise is possible, and it’s coming soon to a store near you.