How Beacons are Poised to take the Brick-and-Mortar Sales by Storm
April 9, 2014
With the rapid proliferation of online shopping and mobile purchase research, consumers today are more informed and less inclined to wait for assistance inside your brick and mortar store. This shift in customer experience has motivated retailers to adopt new solutions that supplement their in-store offerings. A number of retailers are looking to implement beacons to better pinpoint customer locations in-stores and send more relevant messages to their smartphones. These devices equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, and the proximity-marketing services they deliver, are already in use in many stores all over the US.
How you can use this trend to your advantage
1. Build stronger bonds with customers through personalized responses
2. Use big data to enhance customer shopping experience
You can push notifications that highlight products and services that offer compelling value to your users. It also helps you to capture big data to gain insights on your customer behaviour and use it to improve content strategies, staffing levels and store layouts to maximize interactions with them.
3. Test and pilot at minimal cost
From an investment standpoint, there is very little monetary risk involved in testing and piloting beacons. For instance, typically, the starting price of each unit will be only about $2 for a battery life of somewhere between six months to two years.
Here a few examples on how retail brands have embraced the beacon to alter the shopping experience:
1. Lyst to offer hands-free cashless payments through PayPal Beacon
Image source: readwrite.com
73% of customers say that long checkout lines is the most frustrating aspect of in-store shopping. Lyst, an online fashion marketplace, recently entered into a partnership with PayPal aiming to eliminate long waiting lines as it expands its product line into brick-and-mortar stores. PayPal Beacon allows shoppers to buy a product in real time using a mobile device while in-store without having to use physical payment options such as cash and credit cards.
2. Tesco to offer better in-store customer service using iBeacons
Image source: mobilecommercedaily.com
While most other retailers are focusing on using beacon technology to trigger sales, Tesco recently entered into a partnership with iBeacon to offer better in-store customer service. The retail brand plans to use iBeacon to notify customers about their online order being ready for pickup as soon as they arrive at the store. This way they aim to use push messaging to enhance their customers’ shopping experience through effective customer service.
3. Macy’s ties customers’ online shopping accounts with in-store visits using shopBeacons
Image source: idownloadblog.com
Macy’s, the 155 year old department store chain, is using shopBeacons technology to notify customers about deals as soon as they enter the store. The beacon gives them an overview of the number of accumulated loyalty points and offers personalized rewards. Adding on to it, the retail brand also links their customers’ online shopping accounts with their in-store visits . For example, if there is a product on a customer’s online wish list, the company could offer a coupon for that product when they visit the physical store.
4. Tarrytown Pharmacy allows price comparison using Shelfbucks beacon
Image source: ektron.com
Consumers today are skeptical about in-store prices and want to ensure that they are getting a good deal. Recent research states that 53% of smartphone shoppers compare prices while inside a store. Also, according to the recent report by Google Shopper council, frequent smartphone shoppers spend 25% more in-store compared to occasional smartphone shoppers. Austin’s landmark Tarrytown Pharmacy used this to build brand loyalty by installing Shelfbucks beacon to allow their customers to compare product prices while in-store.
In the present scenario, most retail experts agree that although the beacon technology has a huge potential to alter offline shopping experience, it is still in the test-and-learn stage. For beacons to work properly, there are a few pre-requisites:
a) Your shoppers must have switched on Bluetooth on their mobile device and must opt-in for location tracking.
b) Additionally, your users must also have installed your store’s app on their device.
Industry experts, however, are of the opinion that having experienced the mutual benefits of beacon-based proximity marketing, consumers are highly likely to knock down any technical barriers standing in the way of widespread beacon adoption.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!