Beacons and Digital Signage: The New Power Couple in Brand Advertising
Last Updated:  April 9, 2018
With the evolution of the role of a mobile device in a customer’s purchase journey, digital signage has grown from merely replacing posters with LCD screens into being a core component of a sound marketing strategy. And going ahead, brands looking to improve their merchandising and promotional effectiveness will leverage innovative digital signage solutions to deliver relevant content directly to customers at the purchase points which in turn will contribute to revenue growth. These points where customers are bound to make purchase decisions could vary from a new product display, near the checkout line to an in-store event.
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In fact, according to a recent study by Grand View Research, Inc., a U.S. based market research and consulting company, the global digital signage market is expected to reach USD 20.03 billion by 2020. Another important thing to note here is that, while digital signage on its own has helped increase brand awareness, enhance in-store experience etc., effective digital signage is built on a comprehensive media strategy that provides brands with deeper insights on their customer base, allowing them to match the target audience with the right message at the right place, at the right time. This is where beacons come into the picture.
In this blog, we will discuss in detail how integrating beacons with digital signage will help brands get more granular in their marketing efforts.
Why beacons and digital signage work best when used together
1. Contextual marketing:
Beacon-enabled mobile apps can leverage back-end customer relationship management systems to provide brands with a wide range of valuable customer data such as buying patterns, purchase history, loyalty status and demographics. This data can then be used to trigger relevant messaging to a customer’s smartphone and to the digital signage that surrounds them.
For example, say Mariah, a loyal customer walks into your store. As she approaches a beacon zone, she’s identified as an avid Hidesign fan, based on her purchase history. The beacon can then trigger the digital signage to display a message featuring the latest Hidesign collection.
You can even use beacons in combination with digital signage to drive in-store traffic. This way, brands could leverage beacons to deliver personalized messages to a mobile device while the digital sign displays more generic messaging that supports it. For example, in the scenario mentioned earlier, you could leverage beacons to deliver an offer on a mustard yellow leather Hidesign bag that goes along with the white Michael Kors shirt that she recently purchased, while the digital signage displays a 15% off on Hidesign bags.
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2. Another screen to reach out to customers:
Most retail beacon implementations of today require shoppers to interact with a mobile app. These proximity detection devices then send discounts, ads or offers to the consumer’s mobile device when he or she nears a particular product or aisle. But what happens if the consumer fails to engage with his or her phone in-store? In such cases none of these personalized proximity marketing messages will be received by the consumer. This is one of the main reasons why digital signage and beacons can together be quite a great marketing combination. Digital signage helps brands leverage beacon-triggered location information to provide highly targeted information that helps customers without them ever having to use their phone.
3. Upsell or cross-sell products across different departments:
One of the biggest advantage offered by beacons, is that they help brands turn valuable customer data into actionable information by identifying in-store patterns that can help promote sales. And by combining them with digital signage, brands can trigger relevant messaging based on customer dwell time, loyalty points, inventory levels or customer proximity to a particular product. For example, say the same customer Mariah, has been detected to be standing next to the display of Coffee/Espresso Makers. You can use beacons to trigger offers on travel mugs and send product demo videos that will educate the customer on the brewing flexibility of the Coffee Maker on their smartphone, thus helping her make the right decision. It’s important to note that there is a very thin line between personalizing offers and breaching customer privacy.
You can also leverage beacons to create storewide heat maps to help you identify the parts of the store that are the most frequented. This when combined with digital signage will help you drive more sales by cross-selling or upselling alongside popular products. For example, say Michael Kors skirts at a store are quite popular among customers. You can now trigger a display that pairs a yellow Michael Kors skirt with a white blouse and a cream Louis Vuitton bag on the digital signage next to the skirts section in your efforts to cross sell the products.
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4. Driving shopper engagement through interactivity:
Beacons and digital signage don’t have to be a one way street; brands can leverage the technology to enable consumers to control digital signage content right from their mobile device. For example, you can use beacons to activate your retail mobile app which will then turn the customer’s phone into a “remote” for a nearby display. Say the same customer Mariah is standing next to a pair of Gucci shoes. You can now leverage beacons to display thumbnails on product demos showing models walk the ramp in those stilettos or even featuring how those pair of stilettos are made, on the mobile screen. Each of those clicks signals the digital sign to play that chosen content. It gives the customer the power to decide what they see, which increases relevancy and creates a fun and interactive experience.
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Real-life examples of beacon implementations in digital signage
1. Diageo partners with London pubs to trial beacons for its Pimm’s brand
Image source: marketingweek.com
Brand owner Diageo recently partnered with eight Taylor Walker pubs in London’s Victoria as well as The Metro restaurant and bar in Clapham as a part of its sensor-activated OOH Pimm’s campaign that was focused around transport hubs. The campaign leveraged a beacon network installed in selected pubs to measure the rush at the respective venue by keeping a count of the number of smartphones in the space. Occupancy was measured at five-minute intervals to ensure that if a particular venue was full its details were removed from the advertising.
The campaign also used weather data to deliver tailored copy, that changed depending on whether it was a cloudy or a sunny day. Once the temperature reached at least 16 degrees (which according to the brand is warm enough for customers to enjoy a Pimm’s), the beacons then used the information to direct people via digital outdoor posters to nearby pubs and beer gardens where there was space for them to have a drink.
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2. Levi’s taps beacons to rejuvenate brand and reel in shoppers
Apparel brand Levi Strauss and Co.’s, leveraged beacon-enabled billboards as a part of “The Live in Levi’s” brand reintroduction campaign. The brand used beacons to communicate with their best customers, which is their mobile app users, wherever they encounter a beacon-enabled billboard by prompting them with an offer and driving them into nearby retail stores. The brand plans to capitalize on granular location data and other customer data provided by iBeacon technology to run effective campaigns in future.
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3. Adshel rolls out beacons across it’s OOH advertising network to allow retailers to send more geotargeted messages
Image source: cmo.com
Outdoor advertising company, Adshel, rolled out more than 3000 beacons across its national out-of-home advertising network to allow brands to leverage their existing customer databases to deliver geo-targeted and contextually relevant messages to customers standing within the vicinity of an enabled Adshel panel.
Brands could also use the data generated by the beacons to profile Adshel’s outdoor sites, thus gaining deep geographic insights into a specific location and improving audience targeting. The outdoor advertising company also feels that beacons will help them deliver more effective campaign planning with reduced media spend wastage.
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4. SapientNitro recently introduced passive beacons that tap into the mobile device in a consumer’s pocket to customize on-screen displays
Image source: sapientnitroblog.com
SapientNitro recently introduced passive beacons that tap into the mobile device in a consumer’s pocket and leverage location information along with the loyalty profile of a consumer approaching the screen. Once these beacons have tapped into a consumer’s past behaviours including his or her preferences and needs, they will accordingly personalize content on a nearby in-store screen. This novel in-store approach demonstrated at NRF Big Show earlier this month will help consumers make informed buying decisions without ever having to use their phone.
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!