An increasing number of retailers and other brands are using new “beacon” technology to track consumers to within several inches of their locations in stores in order to push promotions and encourage spending.
What are in-store beacons, and what can they realistically offer retailers and their customers?
Beacons are devices that communicate with a shopper’s smartphone in the hopes of improving the in-store shopping experience. When placed in a store, beacons use Bluetooth technology to detect nearby smartphones and send them media such as ads, coupons or supplementary product information. They can also be used as point-of-sale systems and to collect information on those consumers - particularly how consumers maneuver through stores. For example, if you are passing a store and have downloaded that store’s app, you might receive a message about discounts or other advertising content. A beacon shares information with the retailer about customers’ shopping habits and movements through a store. What the retailer does with that information is where the marketing strategies come into play.
How to benefit from beacons in retail?
1. Track customers in-store movement.
By tracking a customer's in-store movement, you're able to deliver targeted information and discounts depending on which products she's perusing. This can lead to higher conversion rates -- for instance, a customer is more likely to use a discount for purses when she's in the bag section than when she's checking out the workout apparel.
2. Help customers find their way around the store.
Oftentimes, large department stores can be overwhelming. After a while of aimless searching, you might hear a customer say, "I can't find what I'm looking for. Forget it, let's just leave." Fortunately, beacon technology can help combat this problem by offering an indoor mapping experience that makes it easier for customers to find items on their shopping list.
3.Alert in-store customers of discounts and coupons.
When a customer pass by a store, automatically send discounts and coupons message to their mobile phone, alert passersby with offers to draw people into their stores.
In short, retailers who choose to use in-store beacons must make consumers believe it’s worth it to receive store-specific notifications while they shop.