How Beacons and Proximity Marketing Can Enhance Sales at Stores?
Location-based marketing has been around for a while now. Using the latest in technology, stores can send marketing messages to shoppers’ smartphones when they are in the vicinity of stores. This is made possible by the use of beacons, or iBeacons, which were introduced by Apple in 2013. These Bluetooth low energy (BLE) devices broadcast messages one-way, and can be used to provide information about deals products, make billing easier, etc. Most importantly, beacons have begun to revolutionize the way stores market their products and services. In this article, let us take a look at how proximity marketing makes use of beacons.
According to an article published on the Forbes:
- 53% of users are willing to share their location with stores.
- 57% of users are open to the idea of receiving location-based ads.
- 63% feel coupons on mobile phones are great.
- 62% share deals they find interesting with their friends.
Certainly, these facts point toward a trend that is likely going to normalise location-based marketing that makes use of beacons.
What do beacons do to help drive sales?
- Beacons help in providing several payment options to customers.
- Loyalty programs can be shared via beacons when customers are in store.
- Recommend products based on individual user attributes
- Broadcast coupon details to customers who are likely to make purchases.
- Help customers navigate stores and find products they want easily.
Here is how marketers can use beacons and proximity marketing to drive sales:
- Gain customer insights
Beacons help you to understand how your customers are spending money, how long they spend time at your store on average and what they are doing while they are at your store. This information can be further processed to design personalized campaigns that help to drive sales.
- Boost customer loyalty
You can use beacons to reward customers who may arrive at your store repeatedly. The moment they walk in, you can send coupons and if they are regulars, you can ask them to ‘click and shop’ for goods previously purchased. While this a utility for the customer, it drives sales for you.
- Kick-start proximity marketing
Beacons help you to gain a variety of information based the customer. One of these is their location data. Location-based information can be used to kick start proximity marketing, suggesting information, products and services which may be available close to where your customer is around at that particular moment.
- Offer discounts and coupons
Nothing entices customers more than a good discount or a coupon. If you want to turn walk-ins to sales, you can use beacons to send coupons to users’ smartphones, so that they purchase something, instead of walking away. Geo-targeted messages are known to drive sales, especially if you have a store in a place where footfalls are high. Even if they are in the vicinity to buy something else, a coupon or a discount that flashes on their screen may tempt them to walk into your store.
- Help customers
Beacons are all about the location. If your customer is looking for something, beacons can be used to help them find the right aisle, or the right product. If it is a man that walks into your store, you would probably direct him to the men’s section of your clothing store, instead of him having to look or them himself. The possibilities are endless. Beacons can help you maximize sales by customizing location-targeted messages.
- Enable cross-channel experience
With so many options to make sales happen these days, many stores are opting for online sales. While this takes place mostly on desktops or smartphones, brick and mortar stores are still around. By offering a custom sales experience across all these channels, beacons help you to offer a cross-channel experience. This is important when your competitors are already engaging in multi-channel delivery.
- Thwart shoplifting
While this is not part of traditional marketing, beacons do help you to thwart shoplifting when they happen. Though it may not directly boost sales, preventing shoplifting helps you to save valuable products which will add up to your bottom-line. Many supermarkets and departmental stores have begun to use beacons to monitor and track customers when they are in the store.
- Data and analytics
Analysis if data that is collected by beacons provides valuable information about the kind of people who purchase your products. This is the target demographic that you should be targeting in order to boost sales. There are several analytic tools available to help retailers drive sales with the help of beacon-based analytics. Business intelligence tools can be customized to integrate beacon data and help you come up with useful insights.
3 Examples of companies using beacons to enhance sales:
- Woolworths, a British supermarket chain has successfully used beacons across its 254 stores. Push notifications are sent too consumers when they arrive within a certain radius of the store so that they can ‘click and collect’.
- Venerable Macy’s installed more than 4,000 beacons to provide an omni-channel retail experience. The store also brought a beacon-triggered mobile game which allowed users to win Macy’s coupons and prizes.
- McDonald’s used beacons to engage in proximity marketing across its Istanbul outlets. A loyalty app was used to target customers near McDonald outlets and then offer them coupons and try new drinks for free.
- More marketing agencies believe location based data can help them design better campaigns.
- Proximity marketing campaigns can be weaved along with social media campaigns for a more nuanced approach.
- Data collected by beacons can be used to improve products.
- The same data can be used to manage shelves and product locations within a store.
- Use beacons to push discounts and coupons, which in turn help drive sales.
- Use analytics for a deeper insight about customers, their behaviour and their needs.
- Monitor and track individuals to avoid unwanted activities such as shoplifting.
- Provide an enhanced shopping experience to your store visitors, by combining in-store, social media, online and mobile experiences.
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