Uber announced a partnership with New York-based startup Yext on Thursday that enables marketers to hail a car for their customers, effectively delivering online prospects to a brick-and-mortar store.
Marketers can now implement Uber’s API within Yext’s software to add its ride-sharing services to their location-based advertising campaigns. Yext powers the Location Cloud, an ecosystem of location-based data from Web sites and third-party applications such as Google, Apple, Bing and Yahoo.
“Email, social, digital ads -- all of these mediums have now come full circle, not only existing as pivotal means to drive great online experiences, but now to extend that service back to brick-and-mortar as well,” says Ryan Luckin, head of marketing and communication at marketing automation company Bluecore. “Ride sharing becomes another option for marketers to reduce friction and provide consumers with the easiest possible path to conversion. Whether you offer a free ride, free shipping or purely verify the closest location with inventory for a specific item -- all of this is made possible for those marketers willing to embrace the value of channels supporting one another for a common objective.”
Vivek Sharma, CEO of contextual marketing company Movable Ink, agrees that the lines between online and offline are blurring and that Uber may offer an opportunity for marketers to stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition.
“Offline retail sales are still over 90% of all retail sales and it behooves a brand to have a well-thought-out clicks-to-bricks strategy,” says Sharma. “Making it easy for shoppers to get to your stores and perhaps even offering promotional Uber rides for high-value customers could form a winning strategy.”
Sharma says that offering customers an Uber ride to a nearby store should lead to better engagement and repeat customers, thanks to its convenience and utility. This wouldn’t just benefit retail brands, either, as B2B companies could also benefit from incorporating the ride-sharing application in their marketing campaigns.
“B2B companies are increasingly relying on account-based marketing to offer high-touch experiences,” says Sharma. “Imagine hosting a VIP customer event and rolling out the red carpet to specific accounts by having an Uber Black show up to pick them up. This is memorable, unique, and could have a big impact.”