Beacon technology is sweeping the retail industry by storm. Many companies have already started planning a beacon strategy, trying to figure out the best way to leverage the technology to help them improve their operations, increase their productivity and ultimately "out-smart" their competition.
Macy’s started using beacons in two of their stores in late 2013 in collaboration with Shopkick, a location-based app that awards points to customers.
American Eagle deployed beacons in its stores in January 2014. Other deployments have come from large retailers including Target, The Sports Authority, Crate and Barrel, Old Navy, and House of Fraser and Waitrose in the UK.
Companies are trying to gain first-move advantage when it comes to beacons and rightly so as the technology may directly influence more than $4 billion of U.S. retail sales in 2015, according to Business Insider. This number is projected to climb tenfold in 2016.
While the introduction of location-based technology has its own set of challenges, if you offer a genuinely beneficial and relevant experience to customers, you are already positioned for success and will benefit from better customer engagement and a deeper insight into in-store footfall, customer habits, and staff behavior.
To learn more about how beacons can help you make your competition irrelevant we've highlighted 5 of the most effective ways below.
Providing a personalized experience
Let's say a customer walks into your store, as she enters the building beacons positioned there send her a personalized greeting through her smartphone. The beacons being paired with the store's custom app then makes the connection that this customer had favorited a red cardigan while on-line earlier. The app then sends her a personalized discount for that item with "gps" directions to that item in the store using wayfinding.
How can she resist now? Using location-based sensors or beacons with a customized application has now offered the customer actual context and an experience that is both helpful and personal.
If you can get a peak into what your customers are looking for, it is easy to know what to offer them.
Beacons are empowering retailers with the ability to use a customer’s own information to deliver a customized shopping experience.
Collecting valuable analytics
Have you ever wondered what areas of your store get the most foot traffic?
With Beacons you can collect analytics on popular spaces in-store and use it for store layout optimization. Over time you can quickly test store layouts and figure out what works best.
Knowing your customers’ shopping habits and the activity of your staff will allow you to make improvements to the store layout by pin-pointing store flow, maintaining service standards and operations that will benefit you and your customers.
Directing traffic to your store
Location-based technology is a great help while shopping in your store but it can also direct customers towards your store with beacons strategically placed in nearby locations such as bus stops, park benches or street adverts.
You can have a beacon on the window display to encourage customers passing by to go in with promotional alerts. This will highly increase foot traffic through context and provide sale opportunities that otherwise would have gone to a competitor.
Suggested Reading - "How to Design Better Contextual Wi-Fi Experiences Using Beacons"
Increase customer loyalty
Customers like being recognized and tend to be more loyal when you show them appreciation for their continued support of your company.
Through location-based tech solutions can recognize and reward your best customers. You can track how often a customer visits your store, which promotions they have redeemed, and what departments they like most. You can even find out when avid online customers are present so staff can recognize and treat them accordingly.
This will help you create a stronger relationship with them and gain their loyalty in the process.
Tracking staff efficiency
Your biggest asset is your staff. They are the face of your brand and the ones interacting with your customers. You profit from how well they do their jobs, which makes tracking their efficiency a mission critical task.
Using beacon technology you can monitor how often and for how long a staff member engages with customers. This invaluable data can aid you in improving customer service training and tracking sales conversion rates.
Beacons can even alert your staff when your shelves need restocking or if any other tasks need to be carried out. You can even monitor how long each job function takes.
This will help tremendously in making the necessary adjustments to improve performance and customer service.
Suggested Reading: "How Beacons Can Grow Your Business and Optimize the Retail Experience"
Both the IoT and location based services are going to shape the future direction of the retail industry. If you haven’t stated taking steps to leverage these new opportunities yet, you can be sure your competitor is in the process.
So start planning your retail beacon strategy, analyze your network and make sure it is ready to support your future goals.
At SecurEdge we've been helping businesses of all sizes and types realize their goals through the power of wireless. If you have any questions about location-based services or your current wireless network simply contact us here, we’d be glad to help.