CloudTags: Digital Insight In Physical Stores

They say that knowledge is power — and for physical retailers, it is a matter of survival.

It’s also the inspiration for in-store marketing technology provider CloudTags, whose mission is to make in-store shopping more informative for retailers, as well as more digitally engaging for consumers.

“Online provides a tremendous amount of data for retailers: what specific products the customers look at, who they are,” said CloudTags Cofounder and CEO James Yancey in a recent interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster. “But once you get into physical store environments, most of that data isn’t able to be tracked.”

Until now, Yancey said, when a consumer enters a mall, unless they download apps, sign up and scan barcodes for every item they look at, there’s no record left behind for merchants unless a purchase was made. It’s this gap in customer behavior data that CloudTags aims to bridge for merchants, as well as to provide consumers with a digitally augmented in-store experience.

“We wanted to create the connective tissue,” said Yancey, “that was app-free and browser-based. So that you can go into multiple stores without having to download, sign up and register on your smartphone.”

In a nutshell, CloudTags works with merchants to create connected stores using app-less technology to both provide customers with a digital shopping experience in-store, while allowing merchants to collect data on in-store customer behavior and interactions.

It starts with what Yancey calls a “cloud block,” a modular, repurposable physical fitting structure for tablets. “You can invest in a single unit that sits on a shelf edge,” said Yancey, “or you can take all the individual units and snap them together to build a wall.”

These interactive screens, said Yancey, can be used by online native merchants looking to experiment with pop-up stores to showcase their extended digital catalog of goods, while housing select items within a limited square footage.

Likewise, traditionally brick-and-mortar retailers can use the screens to enhance the physical store experience with digital functionality. Current brands that use CloudTags’ technology include Crate and Barrel, Timberland and Ashley HomeStore, to name a few.

When consumers enter a store using CloudTags, they can enter the store’s domain on their smartphone to interact with the in-store screens by sharing mobile browsing cookies or an email if the customer so chooses.

Shoppers can select an item on the screen and then browse through similar and suggested items related to the first. This creates a closed loop of recommendations, said Yancey. “As soon as you touch something on the wall, two additional data inputs update what’s happening on the wall in real time.”

As the customer browses on their phone, the next item to appear on the in-store screen is updated. “The wall is the visual stimulus that is getting you to move information onto your phone,” Yancey noted. “You’re viewing more information on your phone, and as you’re doing that, we’re updating the wall.”

The benefit is twofold for merchants. The first means increased consumer engagement in-store. The second comes when the customer leaves — because now the merchant has the consumer’s in-store browsing data, which can allow for larger, more targeted digital marketing campaigns from using data from physical stores.

CloudTags has found that in-store digital engagement significantly increases open and click-through rates for advertisements and promotional emails. “If I go to the store and I engage digitally, the open rate for those ads and emails is 30–40 percent greater, and the click-through rate is sometimes 50 percent greater,” said Yancey.

From the data CloudTags’ technology brings in, Yancey said that participating merchants have found that, while the specifics vary by segment, an average of 70 percent of customers who engage with the digital wall but don’t buy in-store were previously unknown in the merchant’s existing analytics.

“People who are digitally engaging in the store are not the same ones engaging on the website,” he said. “If that [in-store] customer goes and buys online a day, a week, six months later, merchants now have that mobile browser cookie, and they’re able to use to attribute that value.”

Another benefit, said Yancey, is that merchants looking to optimize the use of floor space can use the customer data collected by CloudTags to prioritize what items to display in physical stores. These are what Yancey refers to as “connector products,” items that both sell well and, by association, for whatever reason, lead customers to look at a number of additional relevant products as well.

“The objective,” he said, “is not to put your top-selling physical items in the store. It’s to do an analysis of products that will lead to the consideration of more. As in, when consumers physically see this couch, it encourages them to also look at five or six things in the digital space versus just buying the couch.”

In an age where digital retail is rushing to the forefront, having this kind of insight handy is an invaluable tool for merchants looking to optimize the use of physical floor space. Knowledge is power, after all.

CloudTags Launches Latest Connected Store with Crate and Barrel

CloudTags Launches Latest Connected Store with Crate and Barrel

CloudTags’ Digital In-Store Experience Increases Average Order Value

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CloudTags, the creator of Connected Stores, today announced a new customer experience with Crate and Barrel, one of the world’s leading home furnishings retailers, to launch their first Connected Store in suburban Chicago.

Using branded tablets, called MobileTotes, shoppers can digitally interact with in-store products as well as shop Crate and Barrel’s full online assortment without being required to sign up or download an app. MobileTote provides shoppers with product information, recommendations, inventory availability, and styling options as they build their digital collection of home furnishings and housewares items. Additionally, the CloudTags platform is seamlessly integrated with Crate and Barrel’s existing site-search tool and product reviews.

Once a shopper has explored the store and created a digital cart, they may email it as a wishlist to save for later or complete the transaction via the dedicated MobileTote checkout. After giving their tablet to a sales associate, the store team will gather all of their items to checkout while the shopper completes their store visit.

“CloudTags and MobileTote gives our customers some of the best features of digital shopping while exploring the store. The blend of online and in-store elements is very user friendly and supports an omnichannel shopping experience,” said Joan King, Vice President of eCommerce for Crate and Barrel. “By allowing customers to opt-in at the end of the session, we can re-engage with our most highly valued store visitors.”

The Crate and Barrel Connected Store leverages CloudTags’ technology for staff members as well. Using assigned NFC tags, sales associates can tap the back of the devices to receive credit for any online sales that result from the customer’s in-store experience. Crate and Barrel is also making use of CloudTags’ In-Store Remarketing features, which employ both email and re-targeted display ads related to the specific products a customer considered while using the device to increase sales.

“We’re honored to work with one of the country’s best home furnishings retailers. The Crate and Barrel Connected Store is all about increasing participation and access to digital commerce experiences with no sign-up, download or registration. We’re excited to co-innovate with their teams as the importance of connected retail grows,” said James Yancey, CEO of CloudTags.

CloudTags and Crate and Barrel have noted positive initial results from the pilot showing an average order value increase for MobileTote customers versus store customers not using the technology.

To see the Crate and Barrel Connected Store in action, check out this video or visit 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL 60077.



CloudTags is the creator of the Connected Store – powering customer identification, predictive intelligence, and in-store remarketing. CloudTags drives increased ROI for retailers by helping customers to fall in love digitally with products in the store, then re-engaging them intelligently afterward. For more information, please visit or follow the technology on Twitter @cloudtags.


Brian Prezgay

Top 50 Innovations in Retail

CloudTags was recently named one of the top 50 innovations in retail by Insider Trends. “CloudTags helps link up the online and offline shopping experience to create a ‘connected store’. Using its smart tags, sensors and devices it creates joined up solutions for retailers like Harvey Nichols and,” the release describes.

See the full list from Insider Trends

MADE.COM’s Paris Showroom Advances Clicks to Bricks Strategy

MADE.COM, an online furniture retailer, recently opened its first showroom in Paris, France. “The two story space is designed to be an environment where customers can explore what is on offer by moving through a series of experiential installations. Window displays act as both traditional VM and as an exhibition space to showcase art installations,” writes Retail Design World. MADE.COM has incorporated technology from CloudTags to create a “connected store,” where customers can use tablet computers to learn about products, discover recommended items, and save items to a list for later review or purchase.

Read the full story from Retail Design World

CloudTags Placed in Crate & Barrel, Moves Along $1.2M Bridge – Hypepotamus

Atlanta, GA-based Cloudtags recently achieved pilot status with Crate & Barrel, in addition to closing a $1.2 million bridge round of funding.

“They are paving the way toward the ‘retail of the future’,” Hype reports.

In an exclusive interview with James Yancey, the company’s CEO, Hypepotamus explores and discusses the company’s recent and future financings, while also delving into the company’s strategy for growth and development.

Read the full story from Hypepotamus

Roundtable: Connecting store associates for modern retailing

In a roundtable discussion, representatives from Asda, Blackwell’s, Booths, Dune, Heal’s, Lloydspharmacy, Tesco and White Stuff joined Essential Retail and Manhattan to discuss the changing role of the store associate.

In the discussion, the experts considered the role of Cloudtags’ system for increased customer engagement. Their platform is placed onto a store’s tablet devices and can be used by customers to keep track of items of interest.

“It starts the conversation between the in-store customers and the associate and leads to re-marketing and learning about shoppers’ journeys,” added James Williamson of Heal’s. “We try and keep it sales-associate-focused and make it so the use of the tool is a joint experience between them and the customer. We can link this to the salesperson in-store if the purchase is made online further down the line, which works well because our associates work on commission and are very reluctant to hand over sales to online.”

Read the full story from EssentialRetail

Timberland creates its first digitally connected store

Outdoors wear manufacturing company Timberland has begun using CloudTags’ technology to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. Timberland’s New York City Herald Square Store debuted the technology on Thursday, January 14th, which shows customers related items and allows them to create a personal shopping collection, among other services such as note taking.

CloudTags’ Global Strategy Head Brian Prezgay argues that while tradition retail apps tend to lose the attention of the customers, the in-store experience could find more success.“People will realize, ‘Hey, I have a tablet already in my pocket for this,’ and they’ll want to handle the experience on their own,” he said.

Read the full story from Digiday

Heal’s Boosts Sales With NFC System, Links Store With Online Purchases

Heal’s, a U.K. luxury furniture company, is using CloudTags to “bridge the digital and physical worlds of product sales and marketing.” CloudTags combines smart tags with tablet PCs to enable shoppers to learn about products and create a wishlist. When their visit is complete, shoppers can choose to share contact information as a way to save their wishlist. “The solution paid for itself within one week by increasing store sales,” says Oliver White, Heal’s multi-channel director.

Read the full article from RFID Journal

Forget Apps; American Signature Hands Tablets to Furniture Shoppers

Despite fears of physical retailers that they would become obsolete as shoppers moved to ecommerce purchases, it turns out that the majority of shoppers still prefer to make their purchases in a physical store. As the number of shoppers using their mobile device in the store increases, the question has become how to better engage these customers. Columbus, OH based furniture retailer American Signature is working with CloudTags to provide customized tablets to provide product features, reviews, availability and delivery dates, as well as related online-only products. “Customers in the journey didn’t love any furniture shopping in any furniture store,” said Stephen Haffer, CIO and EVP at American Signature, based in Columbus, Ohio. “The whole experience was broken. We wanted to make buying furniture easier.” After using the tablets for several months, American Signature has seen exciting results – 95% of customer emails collected via the tablet were previously unknown and the average post-visit order value was 20% that non-tablet users.

Read the full article from MediaPost