Beacon Use Gives Retailers An Edge With Shoppers
by Laurie Petersen, Columnist, April 10, 2017
Beacons have sometimes gotten a bad rap but with “always on” consumers, their ability to deliver personalized customer experiences in the moment makes them well worth experimentation.
Luigi Ferguson, assistant vice president of SEO for Ansira, a customer engagement consultancy, shared that perspective in a recent white paper issued by the company supporting the notion the beacon has more to offer than simply promotions.
Beacons communicate with smartphone apps to deliver information — whether it’s the fuel economy of a car at an auto dealership, or a real-time offer while shopping in store.
“There is so much news around stores that are closing and lots of reasons why that’s really detrimental to a brand. If they had beacons in place, that’s first-party data — foot traffic data they can’t get anywhere else,” Ferguson says.
“A lot has happened in the sophistication of the device to create additional viability for retail stores,” he adds. Just the Bluetooth 5.0 device will allow devices to pick up broadcast signals from a greater reach.
“If a retailer could get just 10% of that traffic,” Ferguson says, “maybe they wouldn’t have to close those stores — especially as they go omnichannel. What’s more omnichannel than beacons? You’re looking at live visits and you then have the option to engage digitally.
“Say every six weeks you shop my store,” Ferguson adds. “What if I gave you a coupon for the items you browsed? Right away you like me more. All of that can happen because we have the hardware/software and infrastructure to recognize you. Rather than broadcasting these blanket messages across the web, we can identify users in the moment of need — whether it’s through search, display or email.”
Beacons can also help with multi-point attribution, Ferguson maintains. If you always have a beacon in the back of your store, it’s a way, say, to tie in whether online reviews are driving offline behavior and whether a big television promotion really worked.
Beyond the retail setting, ways the report cites beacon technology being used to enhance the consumer experience include:
- Airports – Miami International, JFK International, and Hong Kong International are just three using beacons to assist with navigation, provide travel updates and promote retailer offers.
- Sports and concert venues – Providing help and promoting concession and retail offers.
- Schools – Helping campus navigation, safety, school news and information.
- Museums – Assisting with traffic and promotions.
- Healthcare – Helping hospitals track equipment.
Beacons can also help a brand identify which products are most profitable. Beyond couponing intelligence, retailers can understand where customers shop inside the store to help determine product positioning.