Has O2O Commerce Arrived? Sort of...

It has not traditionally been easy for offline merchants and retailers to track how their online marketing and advertising initiatives are driving activity in their brick-and-mortar locations. That may change with the unveiling of Yub, a network that is hoping to enable merchants, retailers and restaurants to use the affiliate model to drive in-store purchases.

Offline to online commerce is obviously going to be appealing to a wide cross-section of the business world. Yub, which (after being incubated within TrialPay) has raised $12 million in funding from some noteworthy tech investors including Index Ventures and Greylock Partners, is taking an interesting approach to tracking offline sales that are initiated by online activity.

First, retailers and restaurants place offers and promotions online through digital channels (their own website or social networks for example). The business can then use Yub as their affiliate network, building an "ecosystem" of content, deals and loyalty sites which can be used to promote their offers. Yub currently boasts upwards of 10,000 online and mobile publisher partners.

When consumers discover a merchant's advertising or promotions on the Web, they are encouraged to activate the in-store offer by registering a credit card. If the consumer uses the same credit card for that in-store purchase, Yub tracks the purchase through its transactional tracking platform and the consumer received their reward. Consumers have no coupons to manage, and no mobile apps to download. Yub then provides the data/analytics to the business on the performance of their affiliate campaigns.

"Despite the billions of dollars spent annually on digital advertising, merchants have had no way to track the effectiveness of how online advertising translates into offline sales. Yub represents a breakthrough for merchants by providing them an easy way to track how many of their in-store sales are directly attributable to their digital ad spend, if any at all," said Alex Rampell, CEO and founder, Yub. "Yub provides businesses with a direct link between online advertising and offline revenue, improving the effectiveness of online campaigns and driving in-store purchases on a massive scale, utilizing the demonstrated power of the online affiliate network model."