Why is identity resolution so valuable for retailers with physical locations?

Why is identity resolution so valuable for retailers with physical locations?


  • Identity Resolution is the act of connecting people and their devices and linking these profiles to your 1st party data like CRM, purchase history, POS data, etc.
  • Retailers with brick-and-mortar stores often struggle to identify in-store shoppers when they visit their web properties — most notably, the eCommerce store.
  • Identity Resolution, when properly implemented, solves this fragmented customer experience problem to enable 1:1 personalization that drives revenue.

What is Identity Resolution? A crash course.

Preface: I’m going to assume that you, the reader, manages a brand with both physical locations and an eCommerce store. I’m also going to focus on one specific use case of identity resolution here — just remember that there are more.

Let’s start with your website. For every 100 visitors that come to your website, how many of them are “identified”? (Meaning you have their email address, they’re logged into their account, they have made a purchase, etc.) Typically it’s around 8 or so. That leaves 92 visitors who are completely anonymous to you — although many of them have likely shopped in one of your brick-and-mortars, joined your loyalty program, purchased online but long enough ago that they’re anonymous again, purchased online but on a different device, or are already known to your brand in some other way.

An illustration of identity resolution, using ShopperGraph™ from AddShoppers

Identity Resolution takes those “anonymous” visitors and determines which of those visitors are able to be identified & enriched with data from your CRM (or wherever those customer records exist).

How does this happen? There’s one remaining missing piece to Identity Resolution solutions that we haven’t talked about yet: a Data Network. Any identity resolution platform needs access to a large repository of customer profiles to match against in order to discover the identity of the user. 

The process looks like this:

  1. Visitor comes to your website
  2. If the visitor is anonymous, the Identity Resolution platform checks the Data Network to see if the visitor is found.
  3. If the visitor is found in the Data Network, the platform searches your CRM to see if that visitor exists in your records.
  4. If there’s a match, congratulations! You’ve successfully identified a previously-unknown visitor — and you now have their CRM data at your disposal for personalization.

In practice, Identity Resolution can usually match an additional 30 visitors or so, boosting your known visitors from roughly 8 to 40 visitors. 

Illustration of the AddShoppers Data Network

Why is Identity Resolution important for retailers with physical locations?

It should be fairly apparent at this point, but it’s all about personalizing the eCommerce experience and showing relevant offers and messaging to your website visitors. If you can’t identify someone, you can’t show them the right message!

Identity Resolution enables what used to be a far-fetched dream of many marketers: the ability to access offline data when visitors come online — even if your website doesn’t know who they are. 

While this probably already has the wheels turning for you, here are some popular specific use cases that our clients are using our platform to accomplish:

  • Showing follow-on offers to customers that purchased a key product offline.
  • Helping convert offline store members into online customers.
  • Hiding/minimizing product categories on the website that customers have recently purchased offline

With Identity Resolution, you can finally give your marketing offers the intelligence you’ve always wanted. If someone just purchased one of your TVs offline, you don’t want to show them TVs when they come to your website! Rather, you want to show them something that they’d naturally be interested in after that initial purchase. (How about TV mounts, Apple TVs, etc?) In the past, we simply didn’t have the ability to know this upon a visitor first landing on the website. 

Now, we do. And that’s why Identity Resolution is so exciting.