Brick and Mortar Made Mobile

Note: This series of articles features technologies demonstrated at Summit Sneaks Night during Adobe Summit, the Digital Marketing conference. Sneaks demonstrations are a preview of the ideas and technologies percolating inside Adobe Labs, and should not be viewed as a representation of product plans or features.

When it comes to shopping, the brick and mortar experience has a lot going for it. It’s an immersive environment. Easy-to-browse. Tactile. And most importantly, it provides consumers with critical hands-on product experiences.

But despite everything it has going for it, the brick and mortar experience lacks the convenience, efficiency and cost-savings of online shopping. Online there’s no fighting crowds, near-infinite stock, ready access to expert advice and customer reviews, and easy price comparison.

Consumers want the best of both worlds, so it’s not unusual to see people shopping in a store, but checking prices and reviews on their mobile phones. It even leads to a dynamic known as showrooming — where shoppers visit physical stores to see, feel and try a product, but then go home to purchase from an online retailer. It’s a great time to be a consumer.

From a retailer’s point of view it’s both an incredible challenge, as well as an amazing opportunity. The trick is to figure out how to create brand experiences that reach the consumer across the physical and virtual world. That’s where Adobe comes in.

As part of the Sneaks session at Adobe Summit, the Digital Marketing conference, Adobe showcased a technology project called Mobile Reality.


During the Mobile Reality demonstration, Adobe engineers showed how Bluetooth-powered beacons can be placed throughout the layout of a physical store and then combined with a mobile app on a smart-phone to create enhanced shopping experiences for consumers.

“Retailers with both a physical and a digital presence want to understand how they can create a deeper connection for people,” says Steve Hammond, senior director of Marketing Cloud product management at Adobe. “Retailers need to find ways to build a deeper connection between their customers and their brand, and they need tools to make the shopping experience better, so their customers feel like they’re receiving the same level of discounts and convenience in the physical store.”


Mobile Reality provides retailers with tools for mapping the layout of their showroom and the location of their beacons. If the shopper downloads an app to their phone and opts-in, the beacons can then be used to track the shopper’s location as they move about the store, and provide consumers with access to helpful information, special pricing, promotions or related product suggestions.

Steve adds, “When consumers come into the store, retailers want to make sure they’ve arranged things so that people can find their way around easily. They want to know, are people coming into the store and getting frustrated and leaving? And they want to be able to see that, just in the same way they can measure drop-off and conversion online.”

Consumers win by taking advantage of the tactile experience of the physical store, along with the added convenience of promotions, loyalty programs and online support of their favorite retailers. Retailers win by providing their best customers with a seamless experience across their physical and online storefronts, as well as from improved analysis of the ways people shop inside their physical locations. It’s all part of Adobe’s efforts to extend the power of big data and the Adobe Marketing Cloud to reinvent the physical retail experience.

“Customers expect personalization, and they expect to be able to find products in a physical world, much like they do in the digital world,” explains Steve. “This allows marketers to understand if consumers are finding the things they’re looking for with the same types of analytic data available in the digital world. It also gives the marketer a view of their customer across channels and the ability to understand how people are navigating physical stores on an ongoing basis.”

Check out other sneaks previewed on the Summit stage: