3 Ways Pop-Up Stores can Leverage Beacons to Boost Sales
Last Updated:  April 9, 2018
Over the past few years, pop-up stores, with their ability to bridge the gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores have exploded and are currently fueling the retail revolution. From online brands testing the waters for a physical presence, to major retail brands testing out new products, the pop-up store concept has become a major tool for businesses of all sizes. According to PopUp Republic, the pop-up market has grown to become an industry worth approximately $10 billion in sales.
With bridging the offline and online gap becoming a critical step for retailers to thrive in today’s economy, pop-up stores have now become a go-to marketing strategy for retailers looking to extend the brand and introduce new products. So, regardless of where businesses fall into the spectrum, when it comes to selling exclusively online, or in-store or are somewhere in the middle with a mix of sales channels, pop-up stores can be that perfect opportunity to cash in on.
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Another trend that is proliferating at a great rate in the retail industry is beacons. According to a recent Business Insider study, beacons are predicted to have a direct influence of over $4 billion worth of US retail sales in 2015. While it’s pretty clear that big players are already benefiting from beacons, many marketers are still not sure about how pop-up stores with fewer resources can take advantage of this technology.
If you are just getting started with your beacon pilot or are already in the process of planning one, check out our recent webinar on ‘Your Guide to Planning a Successful Beacon Pilot’. It will help you understand the nuances of setting up a beacon pilot from scratch and set you up for success.
In this blog we will discuss in detail on how beacons can help pop-up stores improve customer experience.
3 ways beacons can help pop-up stores level the playing field with major retail brands
1. Help expand physical footprint
While pop-up stores do not come with the same square footage as a major retailer, beacons can help them level the playing field by catching the attention of a shopper walking down the street. In other words, with a typical range of up to 70 meters, beacons can be used to engage potential patrons by delivering messages as they walk by even at a distance from the actual storefront. For mom and pop shops or food trucks that might be in a different location every week or every afternoon, beacons could make the difference between being undiscovered and selling out their Monday special bagels before 9 a.m from an increase in hyper-local awareness.
2. Beacons are easily transportable
iBeacon is an easy to use technology that pop-up stores with temporary and minimal physical presences can easily adopt to. The best thing is that, these proximity detection devices are easily transportable. This allows brands to take them anywhere they go if they’re following a pop-up or mobile vendor strategy. Also, pop-stores that do not already have a specific retail app of their own could easily opt for Eddystone beacons to push content. Any consumer with a Chrome app on their smartphone will be able to view the pushed content.
3. Provides brands with more square footage for their buck
Beacons also provide brands with more square footage for their buck, by allowing them to showcase the availability of other merchandise (that could not be displayed due to limited shelf space) by distributing content and information to potential patrons as they walk by, via beacons. For instance, an online fashion retailer could maximize the limited shelf space in the pop-up store by showcasing the top selling items, while highlighting additional inventory (such as additional color choices, or size availability) via beacons.
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Thus, with a low barrier to entry, and ability to change messages from one location to the next, the possibilities for beacons are only limited by a business’ imagination.
Real-life examples of beacon implementations in pop-up stores
1. Claim it! van used beacons to allow more brands to connect with locals by offering free stuff
Image Source: pfsk.com
Claim it!, a creative startup based out of the Big Apple, New York City, is a mobile giveaway platform that offer brands a simple way to connect with locals driven by free stuff. The app lists out new giveaway contests each week that New Yorkers can easily take part in by watching 15-second advertisements.
Users can put in a claim on one of that particular week’s offers and wait for the Sunday drawing. Winners are then notified of their prizes via SMS and are given a week’s time to stop by the Claim it! van and pick up their prize.
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To add on to the excitement, Claim it! vans have deployed beacons in an effort to promote instant wins. Any user who passes by the Claim it! truck can download their app and win due to the beacon technology that they use. This way whenever a user is near the truck they are always a winner.
2. Knorr soup food truck leveraged beacons for physical retargeting
Image Source: knutk.se
In November 2014, Knorr soup, a Unilever product ran a beacon campaign along with Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s largest newspaper. As a part of the campaign, a Knorr food truck in Stockholm offered free samples of the brand’s tomato and Thai soups to visitors around. In addition to beacons being set up on the truck, several people handing out samples were equipped with battery-powered beacons in their pockets, as well. Visitors who had pre-installed the popular Aftonbladet app on their mobile device, were then registered by the beacons as having been there.
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In a typical beacon scenario, the publisher or advertiser would then have immediately sent a location-specific ad, or offer to the customer in the store. However, Unilever opted to go for a more refined use of beacons. Instead of immediately pushing a coupon for Knorr soup to the user, they chose to wait until the next time the user opened the Aftonbladet app. Then during a subsequent session, the customer was served a discount coupon on the app splash screen (first screen) to buy Knorr soup at any Stockholm grocery store.
3. LXR & Co. pop-up store used beacons to enhance customer shopping experience
Image Source: mobilesyrup.com
Elite retailer LXR & Co. opened a pop-up store inside the Bay to showcase its iBeacon-based shopping experience. When a customer walks into their retail store along with his or her smartphone, provided they have installed the the brand’s app on their device, the beacons detect their phones. This allows customers to simply scan any of the products for sale in order to immediately receive detailed information such as pictures, videos and a complete product description. Customers were even allowed to add items directly to a wish list or share it with their favourite social network to receive in-store recommendations and offers.
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Other possibilities using beacons in pop-up stores
If you are an online retailer trying to set up a pop-up store to make flash appearances and engage with customers in-person or a major retailer looking to leverage pop-stores to generate brand awareness, there is more that beacons can do for you. Such brands can invest in data analytics and use this intelligence to drive conversions and increase revenue. For example, evaluating your pop-up store’s success will enable you to learn what you can do differently next time around and whether selling offline is an effective sales channel for you. Let’s look at what metrics you can capture, and how these metrics will help you generate more sales.
1. Footfall metrics
Carrying out footfall analysis of your pop-up store will allow you to make informed operational and strategic decisions that will in turn drive better conversion rates, optimise staff, and improve merchandising and store displays.
For example you can not only use beacons to keep track of the hours during which the pop-store was particularly crowded, but can also use that information to plan things like special promotions and giveaways or knowing when you need to add more staff.
2. Customer path metrics
One of the factors that beacons can help with is providing a sound understanding of customer flow. This is where heat maps, another beacon-enabled feature comes into the picture. These heat maps can help pop-up stores identify hotspots within the store and use that data to make informed decisions when putting together merchandising or window displays.
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3. Loyalty metrics
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. Pop-up stores can use beacons to create a much more refined customer profiles that will go beyond merely looking at qualitative insights like gender, age, and income and include deeper insights such on purchasing habits, and product preferences.
Thus, beacons, with their ability to quickly shift strategy and flexibility with physical locations (trucks, stands, pop-ups) provide businesses with clear incentives to surface novel ways of leveraging iBeacon technology.
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!