Beacons present several opportunities to make mall experiences more delightful for shoppers, but they also provide various analytics that can be incredibly useful for mall owners. In this post, we will focus on how to collect and interpret these analytics using the Beaconstac platform. You will learn how to better understand shopper behavior so you can maximize the mall experience for all parties involved.
Let’s see how you can use beacon campaigns around a mall to gather useful information on visitor behavior such as average footfall, average time spent in certain locations and demographic breakdowns of mall visitors.
As in all beacon implementations, the mall must have a mobile app for the beacons to communicate with. While several malls have already developed such apps, many visitors may not have downloaded them or may not have their bluetooth turned on at all times. Thus, in this post we will also address how to gently nudge visitors entering the mall to download the app or enable bluetooth for an enhanced shopping experience with beacons.
Here’s how you can accomplish this in the Beacon admin console:
Step 1: Set up geofencing with ‘Places’
In order to gently suggest that customers download the app or enable bluetooth, we will use a feature called geofencing. Geofencing defines a geographical boundary that will trigger a message to a user’s phone if crossed. This uses location services on a user’s phone and therefore will work even if bluetooth is turned off.
To add a geofenced space to your location, choose ‘Places’ from the console navigation. ‘Places’ is the feature of Beaconstac that allows users to create a geofenced area for their physical location, known as a ‘Place’. To create a ‘Place’, click ‘Add a new place’ and then add an easily identifiable name, an address, and the latitude and longitude values of your desired location.
You can adjust the size of geofenced area using the bar at the bottom of the screen called ‘Geofence Radius’. For this context, we have chosen a radius of 300m so that the entire mall is included within the ‘Place’.
Now, every time a mall visitor who has location services turned on walks into that geofenced area, he/she will receive a custom message on his/her phone. You can use this message to subtly send a welcome message and/or remind them to turn on bluetooth for exclusive offers, updates and other features as they shop.
For more in-depth information on how to program these custom messages, read this post about geofencing on our developer blog.
Step 2: Add Beacons to the Dashboard and install them
Next, we will add each beacon’s major and minor numbers in the dashboard. In the context of a mall, you will need several beacons—either in shared spaces or in individual retail stores—to interact with visitors in a meaningful way.
In large scale deployments, it is especially important to name your beacons accurately. For the sake of simplicity in this campaign, we will say there are five beacons in the mall, which we have named after their locations: ‘Food Court’, ‘Movie Theater’,‘Car Promo’, ‘West Entrance’, and ‘East Entrance’.
It is important that you assign each beacon to the ‘Place’ that you created by clicking on each beacon and selecting your desired location in each beacon’s drop-down menu for ‘Place’.
Step 3: Track general visitor behavior using Overview section of Analytics
With your geofencing set up and your beacons configured, you are ready to make your campaign live. There are several beacon campaigns that you can implement in malls—aggregating retail promotions from various stores or collaborating with movie theaters, for instance—but in this post we will focus on the analytics side of things.
In the Overview tab under the Analytics section, you will get a general overview of the activity from your top five performing beacons; in our case, it will show an overview of data from all of our beacons since we only have five.
You can change the “dimension” of the chart from ‘Camp On’ (which is the act of the visitor’s phone registering a beacon) to ‘Rules’ (number of times rules were triggered by a beacon), ‘Average time spent’ (average time spent by visitors in the proximity of a beacon) and ‘Total time spent’ (total time spent by visitors in the proximity of a beacon). The default time period is a month, but you can change this in the range selector in the top left of the screen.
These cumulative metrics provide a meaningful birds-eye view of user activity in your mall such as general traffic flow and relative visitor dwell times at various locations. As a mall owner, this helps you decide where people are generally going and for how long, which can help to inform future decisions regarding proximity marketing campaigns, budget allocation and more.
Step 4: Gather deeper visitor insights from Visitors section of Analytics
In the Visitors tab under Analytics, you can get more specific information about each visitor who interacts with your beacons. Here, you will have access to a list where you can see each visitor’s name (depending on the permissions your app has taken from them to collect this information), last visited store location, last visit, total number of visits, Beaconstac SDK version and device profile.
Below that, you will see a pie chart showing the proportion of new visitors and returning visitors in that time period. This is a simple yet powerful measurement for understanding the growth—or lack thereof—in your mall visitorship.
When you click on the name of a visitor in the list of visitors, you will be taken to a detailed visitor analytics page that will give you a snapshot of that particular visitor: name, profile (based on custom attributes used in campaigns through the app), device ID, total visits and last visit.
Below that, you will find a pie-chart showing the time that visitor spent in the proximity of certain beacons.
And below that, you will find the details of the last ten visits to your stores made by that visitor. Details include specific beacons and the timestamp, so you can easily track the path that the visitor took throughout your mall.
These detailed insights are incredibly powerful for mall owners looking to gain a strategic edge. You can pinpoint common paths through your space, aggregate user information to develop data-driven shopper personas, and even tailor sections of your mall to appeal more to different segments of visitors. Say, for example, you find that many of the visitors staying at the ‘Car Demo’ for extended periods of time are male. You can then tailor proximity marketing campaigns, in-mall advertising and nearby merchandising to that demographic!
And these analytics features are only the beginning! Our team is hard at work on several new features coming soon, including more detailed reports on the performance of campaigns and creatives, filtering based on custom attributes, and the ability to export reports. Stay tuned!
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!