Heralded by technology and marketing experts as an innovation on the cusp of transforming retail industry, beacons have stimulated the appetite of retailers all over the world. Many brands, from Macy’s to Tesco, Alex and Ani to Kenneth Cole are running beacon trials to test these new proximity-detection devices at gaining deep insights into consumer shopping behaviour.
Unfortunately, because of overused mobile marketing efforts, a few marketers have rendered the technology useless. According to a recent study by inMarket, a company that helps brands implement beacons, too many irrelevant push notifications, or an overload of messages, nudged consumers to stop using an app or uninstall them. The study also reported that, overwhelmed by in-store marketing, most consumers ended up checking their beacon apps three times less frequently. Thus, with every other push notification that is delivered per store visit, marketers risk a whopping 313% drop in app usage.
The recent scam around New York City phone booths is a perfect example of annoying usage of beacons. According to a BuzzFeed News investigation published early this week, approximately 500 advertising beacons were found installed in phone booths across Manhattan without the consent of New Yorkers. However, this beacon installation by Titan, an advertising company, was approved by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. In response to the report, City Hall has apparently asked Titan to remove these beacons.
Another thing that has been troubling retailers world over, are talks about privacy concerns of beacons, as they rely on consumers offering up their data. Contrary to popular belief, most consumers are fine with location tracking and push messaging, as long as the app delivers valuable content, found a recent Urban Airship study. We have addressed a few other security concerns in one of our recent blog posts.
Well-timed, contextually relevant push notifications also have great impact on consumer behaviour. When used along with apps that have utility, beacons are reported to drive 500% increase in interactions compared to standard push notifications with location relevancy. Adding on to that, the inMarket study also states that, consumers who receive push notifications from a brand in-store are also found to be 7.5 times more likely to seek out that specific brand than others who do not.
1. Integrate with your customers’ wishlist and social-networking accounts
Most customers often tend to forget about items that they liked on facebook page or added to their online wish list, when they shop in-store. Beacons can help you bridge online and offline shopping, by syncing your customer’s online wish list or social-networking accounts in real-time with the app. For example, as soon as a customer enters the store, you can send an image of the product in their online wishlist, reminding them of it’s availability in-store. You can even use beacons to direct them to a particular aisle where they can touch and feel the product.
2. Add some utility to your app
Image Source: techcrunch.com
When it comes to beacon marketing, one of the most crucial aspects is that it requires retailers to understand each step in the customer journey and accordingly provide notifications that customers are likely to benefit from. For example, Epicurious, Condé Nast’s 19-year-old recipe warehouse, recently leveraged beacons in-store to push notifications on recipe suggestions to shoppers’ apps letting customers buy all ingredients necessary for the recipe by just tapping the notification.
3. Set a threshold time for messages to be triggered via your app
Beacons can help you detect the threshold time for each section at your store, by tracking customer dwell time at different sections. The average dwell time spent by customers at a particular section of that store, when they are interested in buying products from that section, is then termed as threshold time. For example, if a store has set two minutes as the threshold time, it indicates that the there is a higher chance of a customer buying a product, if he or she spends more than two minutes in a particular aisle. This approach will help you ensure that you trigger ‘interest-based’ messages only to customers who are ready to buy and not spam everyone with offers.
4. Integrate with customer loyalty programs
Beacons allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s behavior, demographics, location and actions and utilize these insights to enhance customer loyalty programs. For example, say a customer generally prefers shirts and trousers of a particular brand. When the customer enters your store, you can use beacons to trigger a message about a beige trouser that would go well with the shirt that the customer recently bought online. Top this up by offering a discount based on the number of loyalty points in their account.
Therefore, while beacons open up a whole new world of opportunities, it is highly crucial that marketers understand the fine line between beacon’s ability to help and hinder.
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!