Most retail businesses think about growth in terms of dollars and cents and usually they get there through advertising and promotions. Traditionally this has been via email blasts, in-store signage, coupons, discounts, sales, etc. Until recently, most of these methods of attracting customers lacked one thing, context. With beacon technology the way that retailers can communicate with customers has evolved into an interactive, contextually-based engagement between the consumer, their mobile device and the business.
As more and more retailers shift to adopt this new location-based technology they’ll quickly realize that beacons offer much more growth potential than just offering discounts through push notifications.
One of my biggest pet peeves is going into a store and wandering around trying to find what I’m looking for, especially in stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. By using beacons stores can now offer their customers in-store navigation.
Using “gps” style turn-by-turn navigation your customers will be able to quickly locate the products they are searching for, creating a seamless, helpful experience.
Suggested Reading: "What are Beacons and Why Should the Retail Industry Care?"
Beyond navigation stores could create apps that aligned with their customers shopping lists to show them which ones were in stock, you could even create an app that suggested new products based on what you were searching for, all while you’re actively shopping.
Analytics – “Big Data”
Collecting data is nothing new in retail, for years retailers have been asking customers to fill out surveys usually incentivizing them with the chance to win a gift or prize. While this kind of data is still useful it fails in comparison to the amount and kinds of data beacons can provide.
Retailers can now optimize the shopping experience utilizing this data to:
- Design more efficient store layouts with better strategic product placement
- Improve staff allocation and service levels
- Determine how many customers are engaged in their loyalty program
- Quantify marketing and merchandising effectiveness
- Calculate transaction behaviors, number of visits and repeat customers
With over 61% of brands saying that repeat customers account for over half of their revenue, missing out on the granular data that beacons and their apps provide is a huge mistake.
Beacons provide deep analytics and a means to connect the on-line, in-app and in-store behaviors of your customers that not only give you a competitive advantage but more importantly allow you to offer a better more valuable experience to your customers.
Retail businesses have always been looking for ways to better serve their customers, not only to make the shopping experience better but to also drive sales.
In the mobile, data-rich world we live in today sales associates need to be as empowered if not more than the customers they serve and beacon technology allows them to do that.
Sales associates today using beacons can offer a more personal experience to shoppers. By utilizing valuable data such as:
- Product preferences
- Purchase history
- Social Profiles – (birthdays, brand preferences etc.)
Employees today can better understand each customer giving them the ability to offer a more relevant and valuable service.
One of the biggest challenges for any marketer is validating what’s working and what’s not, this has been especially true when trying to measure mobile advertising.
For retailers mobile advertising has become a necessity and a main component in any retail marketing strategy. The problem is how do you effectively connect mobile advertising to in-store sales?
With beacons retailers can offer ads or discounts based on a customer’s location or proximity to a beacon or product.
Suggested Reading: "How to Design Better Contextual Wi-Fi Experiences Using Beacons"
The downfall here is that proximity to a beacon doesn’t always mean they were exposed to your marketing efforts and it would also only reflect those that have downloaded your store’s app.
However, depending on what your store’s app can do you could get pull better more accurate data. For example, when a customer enters or is close to your store you could show them an ad for a discounted product and in the same ad offer to direct them to the exact product in-store.
Using this example you could know exactly how many people clicked for directions in the ad to the product and then purchased it.
Check-Out (The Big Picture)
While the above example is a hypothetical scenario the takeaway is real; with beacons and customized apps to go with them there is no limit to what you can do.
Beacons and mobile applications offer retailers a new way to connect with their customers, offering a more personalized, contextually-based shopping experience.
They not only deliver more value to the customer but also empower your employees the ability to consistently offer higher service levels.
Planning is critical to a successful beacon strategy. To get the most out of them you have to understand and ask:
- What types of content are relevant and offer value
- What your customer’s expectations are both for and against
- Will your customer’s get value from your beacons and mobile app
- What is the value that your strategy will offer your customers
- What types of content are considered spammy
- Is the experience easy to use and clearly presented