With mobile surpassing desktop as the most important influencer for customers to make purchase decisions, stores and brands should focus on the most effective ways to reach customers on their mobile devices. This is where location-based marketing or proximity marketing is proving to be a boon to brands and stores.
Proximity marketing gives brands the opportunity to reach target customers with tailored, hyper-local content and is used as a key differentiator among brands. In fact, the Forbes Insights report – Location: a Strategic Marketing Imperative, defines location as a new category of 1:1 marketing.
According to Location Based Marketing Association’s Global Location Trends Report, while 75% of marketers believe location based marketing is an important business issue for 2016, only 65% think it’s currently accurate. Hence, it is highly critical to keep in mind the value of content and the effectiveness of communication for any proximity-based messaging. Among the host of technologies that brands can leverage for proximity marketing, iBeacon is definitely a great option given its ability to not only send personalized, contextual and data-driven messages to target customers but also gather valuable customer insights. In addition, beacons are low cost transmitters, and can be deployed easily.
In this post, we cover some of the best practices and tips around sending beacon-based messages or notifications to customers, in order to engage them effectively and reduce the number of wasted impressions.
1. Inform customers about specific locations
Beacon based notifications have a character limit of 107 characters (on iPhones, iPads, iPods). This requires the notification message to be short, to the point and impactful. One way to drive more store footfalls, is to inform customers near the store about the location of the store. This creates an immediate impact, as customers can easily relate to their geographical surroundings.
A good example of this was seen during the 2014 NFL Super Bowl promotions. NFL used Bluetooth beacons at the stadium and other locations at NYC to send location-tailored messages to the NFL app users. The notifications specifically mentioned the street numbers and locality names in particular, in order to help fans identify the location with ease.
2. Use hyper-local references
Local landmarks and points of interest always enjoy a good recall value. Beacon notifications should reference local landmarks in the neighbourhood in order simplify store discovery. In addition, popular places of interest, may also have a good number of visitors, thus ensuring a good number of impressions.
An example of this would be – “It looks like you are near Hotel Chocolat at Cabot Circus, why not treat yourself? Pop in now”
3. Leverage specific categories and brands
According to a recent article on Mobile Marketer, using specific product categories and brands for notifications leads to increased user interaction and open rates. Specific product (e.g winter jackets) or brand notifications (e.g North Face) also helps stores to precisely target customers based on individual customer segments.
Being aware of customers’ brand and product preferences allows stores to send targeted messages that will not only immediately get the customers’ attention, but also match their purchasing behaviour.
American retailer, Burlington Coat Factory ran one such beacon-based promotion. The store ran a promotion that provided a 20% off specifically on its raincoats.
4. Collaborate with other brands
Beacon campaigns should try and leverage other popular brands, campaigns and third party endorsements in order ride on the popularity of the same.
Such collaborations will not only enhance brand value but will also provide the opportunity to increase customer base (by connecting with the customers of the collaborating brand).
Beauty magazine, Elle, recently ran a proximity campaign using beacons in order to engage in-store shoppers with promotions about their partner brands.
5. Send value added messages in-store
Stores should aim at sending value added messaging across different areas of the store. Beacon campaigns should be not only be exclusive but also make sure that customers are not bombarded with generic blanket messages.
In addition to this, beacon-based proximity notifications should bring distinct value to customers. The Apple Store is a good example of a store that is leveraging beacons to send value-added messaging. Customers at the store are sent well curated messages from inviting welcome messages to messages that encourage customers to read product reviews.
6. Send Loyalty points reminders
Beacons help enhance traditional loyalty programs by delivering personalized, contextual and data-driven customer experiences. Brands can leverage such beacon-based loyalty programs to send up-to-date loyalty point reminders to customers. Beacons at important areas in the store, like entry points or billing counters can be used to trigger loyalty points notifications. This function can be quite valuable to customers as most of them may not be aware of the exact number of points that he/she has accumulated.
7. Make it part of the onboarding process
The primary step for any beacon initiative is to educate the target audience. From a customer standpoint, everyone may not be aware of the benefits and convenience that a beacon enabled app can deliver. The features, content, offers and other value propositions of the app must be clearly communicated to customers, without getting too much into the technical details. Gerard Babitts, Senior Director of Digital Marketing at leading pharmacy chain – Rite Aid, explained that the main aim of the beacon-enabled Rite Aid app is to convey the benefits of the app (and beacon-triggered app notifications) and not make mere sales propositions.
The Tile app is a good example of how beacon-triggered notifications can be used to educate users about the app. As part of the app’s onboarding process, users are taken through the workings of the app, how to turn on the Tile device and start using it.
8. Make product recommendations based on customer behaviour
Beacon notifications can be used to send highly tailored product recommendations based on various aspects of customer behaviour. Important customer insights such as online browsing history, purchase history and dwell time can be leveraged to make precise and intelligent product recommendations to customers.
The American luxury department store, Barneys New York uses beacons in a similar fashion to send personalised notifications and product recommendations to customers. The notifications are based on the products in the customers’ mobile shopping bag, wish lists and customers browsing patterns within the store’s in-house publication – The Window.
9. Send scavenger/treasure hunt notifications
Beacon-based scavenger hunts are a great way to promote events. Popular events from CES to SummerWell Festival have used beacons to not only provide an enhanced app experience, but also effectively engage attendees by running a beacon-based scavenger/treasure hunt.
Beacon notifications can be used to communicate important clues and the various achievement stages of the scavenger/treasure hunt.
Popular consumer technology trade show, CES used beacons to run an interesting scavenger hunt at their recently concluded trade show. Beacons at various areas of the venue were used to trigger personalized notifications to attendees based on the various stages of the scavenger hunt.
10. Cross-sell products
Beacons help gather important insights about customer behaviour. This valuable data can then be leveraged to help brands cross-sell products. For instance, if a customer has previously purchased a pair of brown pants, she can be sent a notification about a shirt or a handbag that pairs well with the brown pants.
When effectively leveraged, beacon-based messaging has the potential to intelligently connect to customers in both the physical and virtual worlds. The content, context and personalization of beacon notifications have the power to influence customers and bridge the gap between intent and purchase. However, it is important that brands first run a pilot test in order to understand campaign effectiveness, before going ahead with a full fledged beacon initiative.
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!