How Beacons can help Brands take their Loyalty Programs to the next level
August 14, 2014
Customer loyalty programs are all about keeping your current customers engaged and happy, while keeping a good check on their experience. In fact, according to a recent joint report titled ‘Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World’ by Manta and BIA/Kelsey, 61% of brands reported that repeat customers drive more than half of their revenue, rather than the new ones. Today, consumer’s decision to buy and interact with a brand is often based on the ability of the brand to reward them for the time and money spent. This is one of the main reasons why customer loyalty programs that reward customers for staying loyal to their brand have steadily gained popularity of recent.
Customer loyalty programs work best when they are intertwined with everyday preferences and needs of your customers. This is where beacons come into the picture. While beacons are popularly known for delivering contextual content, it also allows marketers to have a deeper understanding of their target audience’s behavior, demographics, location and actions effectively.
If you are just starting out, our Beacon 101 ebook is a good place to start reading about the iBeacon technology. In this post, we will be discussing in detail on how beacons can help brands take their loyalty programs to the next level. Here a few ideas:
1. Deliver time-sensitive geo-targeted offers with greater precision
You can leverage iBeacon technology to detect your customer’s precise location in an enclosed space (i.e. a resort or a retail store) and accordingly send personalized deals that are specific to the action the customer is expected to perform next. The two main advantages offered by this technology are as follows:
(1) It allows marketers to target customers with greater precision and this helps them ensure that the number of wasted impressions are kept low.
(2) It allows marketers to gather massive amounts of untapped data on customer behaviour and use it to deliver offers and deals to customers to whom they are the most relevant. This way marketers can help raise ROI by driving up customer response.
2. Send customized notifications on offers to patrons when they are closeby
According to a recent survey conducted by Research Now, 41% of smartphone users in US reported ignoring push notifications that weren’t relevant to their preferences. Therefore, when it comes to location-based marketing using beacons, it is crucial for marketers to have a deep understanding of value that they can offer their customers. Particularly because overwhelming your users with notifications could force them to un-install your app.
For example, say you run a restaurant. You can integrate beacons with your mobile strategy to track the favourite dishes of your customers on your app. That way, when they happen to walk by your store any other day, you can just immediately push a customized notification with an enticing offer on their favourite dish.
3. Reward your loyal customers for spending time with you
You can also use beacons to precisely locate your customers and keep track of the amount of time they generally spend at your restaurant, hotel or store. Once you have this information in place, you can rank your customers by the amount of time spent at each location and reward them with offers such as a quick table or room allotment on their arrival, a discount on their next stay or a free cocktail.
Real-life examples of beacon integration with loyalty programs
1. Marriott International
A leading hospitality chain, Marriott International, recently deployed beacons around the lobbies and other areas within their hotels to push geo-targeted in-hotel discounts and offers from nearby retailers to their loyalty club members.
The company revamped its loyalty program by adding two new features – LocalPerks and FlashPerks, that were built on a program that linked loyalty points to social media activity on Facebook, Instagram etc. Among them, LocalPerks, allowed customers to reap the benefits of offers that were available in local neighborhoods around that specific hotel. FlashPerks, on the other hand, allowed them to use reward points as virtual currency and redeem offers like a discount on a stay at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai or test drives of luxury cars such as Porsche and Lamborghini.
One of Bay Area’s popular quick service soup, sandwich and salad chain, San Francisco Soup Company, recently integrated iBeacon technology to automatically identify loyalty program members with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones when they are near a specific location. This customized rewards program allows the restaurant chain to empower its customers with the ability to find the nearby restaurant outlet, earn loyalty points and redeem rewards through their smartphones. The SF Soup Company, on the other hand, collects all important customer data to accurately market their services to their target audience.
The push notifications that the customers receive are specific to that particular restaurant locale and are customized based on the previous order histories and spending patterns of customers. For example, say a loyalty program member occasionally drops in to enjoy a cup of hot and sour chicken soup. The restaurant chain uses beacons to deliver a customized notification with an offer coupon on that particular soup to the customer’s mobile device when he walks by the outlet. The highly personalized nature of this rewards program helps SF Soup Company to increase foot traffic and drive sales at their outlets.
One of New York City’s dominant pharmacy chain and subsidiary of Walgreen Co., Duane Reade, recently leveraged iBeacon technology at ten of its stores to boost its loyalty program. The company deployed this new proximity-detection technology to keep a track of their customer’s shopping history, wishlist etc., and then use it to push product recommendations based on the precise location of the customer within that store.
Thus there is undoubtedly a significant value that businesses can derive from integrating beacons into the loyalty programs. However, most marketers are not yet ready to implement beacon programs as they a lack an overall understanding about how beacon work. You can read our recent post on Beacon FAQs to get a better idea.
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!