Are you shocked to see the buzz that ‘Pokemon Go’, a game developed by Niantic, an augmented reality game maker, has generated and wondering why? Well, the credit truly goes to the engaging location-based experience that the app offers its users. Though Pokemon Go uses GPS, there are a few other location-based technologies, including Wi-Fi, and iBeacon, that are being widely leveraged by businesses in their efforts to offer such engaging consumer experiences.
Given the popularity of these technologies, the internet is filled with articles that weigh one against the other. For example, according to a recent Forrester Research, next-generation Wi-Fi is expected to reach 90% penetration over the next few years. At the same time another recent Proxbook report states that, complete coverage of top 50 retail players with a light density of beacons would take 3,644,000 beacons, just one beacon per thousand square feet. It is worth noting that, strategic technology suppliers with insights into the spending plans of these top retail players have agreed that a third of those leaders will spend on major beacon projects in 2016.
From our experience, some of the questions that keep coming up in client conversations point to the fact that many marketers, even today aren’t really clear about how Wi-Fi marketing or beacon marketing works, and how to go about it implementing it.
In this article we aim to help marketers like you gain a better understanding of these marketing techniques and provide some ideas on how you could put it to use right away.
What is it?
Like any other monthly expense that plagues a business’s profit, internet too is an expensive resource to just give away. However, in their efforts to appeal to users who are on the lookout for an always-on experience, most businesses offer free Wi-Fi these days.
The best part about this is that there are a number of ways you can generate a return on the monthly investment of providing Internet to your customers. These vary from collecting info through Wi-Fi sign-ons for your marketing database, to prompting them to follow/like/check-in on your business’ social media pages or submit a review using Yelp. These marketing tactics are known as Wi-Fi marketing, as they allow you to build on your marketing strategy using the power of Wi-Fi.
How does it work?
Any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet, is programmed to constantly search for wireless networks to connect to. They do so by broadcasting signals called probe requests. Associated with these probe requests are the mobile device’s MAC address – a 12-digit alphanumeric number that is unique to each mobile device.
Your modem or router (Wireless access points with special Wi-Fi marketing platform firmware attached to it) will be able to detect these signals and use this info to identify when a user walked into your store, when he/she walked out, how much of time he/she spent there and if he or she has visited your store previously.
[Tweet “What is Wi-Fi marketing and how does it work?”]
Why is it effective?
Here are a few stats that should help you gauge the reach and effectiveness of this marketing technique:
– 96% of customers prefer locations that offer free Wi-Fi and return to stores that offer it (Research from Yankee Group)
– 78% of shoppers would access Wi-Fi if it were offered in-store (Research from Yankee Group)
– 74% of respondents would be happy for a retailer to send a text or email with promotions while they’re using in-store Wi-Fi ( OnDeviceResearch survey)
[Tweet “96% of customers prefer locations that offer free Wi-Fi and return to stores that offer it”]
Thus, customers not only appreciate the free Wi-Fi your business offers, they are also happy to receive any marketing messages you send to them while they are using it. In fact, having no Internet access or spotty connectivity could actually be driving people out of your establishment, while free Internet access with a good connection will help you drive customers in.
What can you do with it
(1) Grow your customer contact lists with ease
Wi-Fi marketing allows you to collect contact info from your customers in exchange for the Internet access that you provide them with . This can either be done is done through a splash page or captive portal that will ask customers to connect to the free Wi-Fi by logging in by typing in their e-mail address/phone number or via social login. This information will help your business build targeted contact lists that you can use for future marketing campaigns.
Getting your customers to type in their contact info (be it email, a phone number, etc.) to gain access to free Wi-Fi also sync their contact info with their MAC addresses. And once this is done, it allows you to build a set of automated marketing rules and triggers to send out messages and coupons to them.
Some of the more popular types of automated marketing prompts that you could send include:
– Triggering a message upon entering the venue. These are ideal for encouraging more in-store purchases
– Triggering a message upon exiting the venue. These are ideal for increasing repeat visits and customer loyalty
– Triggering a message to consumers who haven’t visited you for quite some time, as they pass by. These are ideal for customer retention
These types of marketing campaigns are extremely effective because they take location data into consideration.
(3) Gather in-store analytics
Most Wi-Fi marketing platforms passively capture audience analytics that will help you gather deep insights about your operations. For example, it could provide you with answers to critical questions such as:
– Are clients lost due to understaffing?
– Which types of messaging delivers the highest walk by conversion?
– What types of promotions bring new clientele?
[Tweet “3 ways retailers could put Wi-Fi marketing to use right away”]
How do you implement it?
Most Wi-Fi marketing solutions fall under the are plug-and-play category. All you need to do is plug in the Wi-Fi marketing hardware to your existing modem or router and setup your account with a platform to access your dashboard.
What is it?
Once a business has set up beacons, any user who has opted in for notifications and turned on the bluetooth on his/her device will receive a notification that is relevant to the beacon that he/she is in close proximity to. This marketing technique is called beacon marketing. Marketers can leverage such beacon-powered in-store mobile marketing campaigns to engage with shoppers at the precise moment and place they are making a purchase decision.
[Tweet “71% retailers are able to track and understand customers’ buying patterns using beacons”]
How does it work?
Basically beacons are low-cost, low-power, transmitters that are equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. These devices transmit a signal that will help mobile devices detect its proximity to the beacon itself and determine its relative location. Beacon offer a great alternative for marketing in indoor scenarios where GPS signals tend to falter otherwise.
Also, beacons do not send notifications to a user’s phone; apps do. Beacons simply send a unique identifier to an app (akin to a geographic landmark), to tell the app that it is entering the beacon range.That signal makes an app aware that it’s time to send the user a notification, trigger messages or perform an action.
[Tweet “What is beacon marketing and how does it work?”]
Why is it effective?
Here are a few stats that should be help you gauge the reach and effectiveness of this marketing technique:
– 1 million beacons to be purchased for deployment in the US Retail stores alone in 2016 (Proxbook Q1 2016 Report)
– Beacon messages will trigger retail sales worth $44.4 billion in the US (Business Insider)
– 71% retailers are able to track and understand customers’ buying patterns using beacons
– 24% retailers saw an increase in sales (2015 Store Operations Survey’ by Retail Touchpoints)
– 24% retailers saw an increase in offer redemption (2015 Store Operations Survey’ by Retail Touchpoints)
Thus beacon marketing allows you to leverage physical context components to engage with your customers when they are about making a purchase decision. Adding on to that, it also empowers you to deliver highly relevant content and offers to a shopper’s smartphone based on his or her shopping activities and in-aisle location.
[Tweet “1 million beacons to be purchased for deployment in the US Retail stores alone in 2016”]
What can you do with it
While beacons are primarily known for their proximity messaging capabilities,there is more to them. Here are a few beacon campaign ideas that you could try out in-store:
– Use geofencing to keep a customer’s order ready just before they arrive when they opt for in-store pickup.
– Place beacons near dressing rooms to offer targeted sales and rewards points for trying on clothes.
– Track employee coverage of the sales floor through beacon-enabled applications. Remind customers of their loyalty points accumulated so far.
– Alert customers about items in their online cart or wish list that are available in a nearby store.
– Offer in-app product finders to locate products in-store. Allow customers to reach out to the sales staff from within the app.
[Tweet “6 ways retailers could put beacon marketing to use right away”]
How do you implement it?
(1) Define your goals
If you’re looking to get started with beacons in your store, the first step would be to understand the use cases that benefit you and your customers. We would strongly suggest you to think through the following questions in order to identify your goals.
– How do your customers shop?
– What kind of messages are your customers looking for?
– How seamless is the experience that you currently offer across channels (i.e. website, mobile, etc.)?
– What do you want to measure using beacons? This can include things like demographic breakdowns, bounce rates, and even customer movements to create heat maps that enhance store layouts.
– How do you wish to identify and reward returning customers?
(2) Buy some beacons
Now if yours is a business that doesn’t already have a dedicated app of its own, you should probably go ahead with Eddystone beacons. These beacons are based on the Eddystone beacon protocol which allow businesses to interact with their customers without the need for a beacon-enabled app. You can simply use the Chrome app to interact with your users on both iOS and Android. Also take a look at our Beaconstac platform, that includes everything you need to kickstart your campaign in under 15 minutes.
(3) Gain access to deep consumer insights on the Beaconstac Eddy platform
Beaconstac Eddy platform comes with a range of features that allows you to offer engaging customer experiences. For example, you can use the ‘Card’ feature to send offers and promotions to your customers. It also allows you to send a pre-created lead-generation form or customer satisfaction form to your users. You can even send a custom-URL that would direct them to a online product-profile page that describes the services that you offer or any landing page that you could have created. You can also access all the responses to your customer satisfaction form or lead generation form and some critical metrics such as unique visitors, form completion rate etc., in the ‘Form responses’ tab.
Which marketing technique do you plan to go ahead with? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are planning an Eddystone beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to kickstart your campaign in under 15 minutes. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!