That beacons and other indoor location services have gone mainstream is no news at all. According to a recent survey conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne, 38% of all global respondents currently use indoor positioning. At the same time 43% of US respondents have already initiated an indoor proximity program, followed by the UK and Asia (both at 33% each).
One other thing that is worth taking note of here is that, over the span of 2016, a number of brands including Neiman Marcus expanded their respective use of beacons. To put it in more simple terms, brands have shifted their focus from using beacons to push promotional discount coupons to customers to leveraging micro-location to push contextually relevant messages to customers, that resonate both in terms of the customer’s location, as well as what they’re interested in buying.
At the same time, experts also predict that year 2017 will see a significant growth in terms of ideas and beacon use cases. So much so that, the rise in successful use cases will result in increased adoption rates. In this blog we will take a look at top 3 ways in which beacons will be leveraged by brands in 2017.
1) Drive product sales and revenue
According to a recent survey by a research firm, Vanson Bourne, 55% of survey respondents cited ‘increasing sales/revenues’ as the reason why they decided to go ahead with a beacon installation. And we will see more brands head this way in 2017.
One good example
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One such successful beacon deployment was the one by American honey producer, Sue Bee Honey. The campaign primarily leveraged location as the cornerstone of its targeting procedure, which is otherwise generally deployed in response to the tracking pixels generated via users’ online browsing interests.
How did they go about it?
As a part of this beacon campaign, ‘mobile moments’ within bricks-and-mortar stores were leveraged to expose consumers to location-based advertising. This primarily revolved around targeting consumers precisely when they are about to make a purchase decision— an approach that violates the indifference met by most untargeted or poorly targeted advertising.
Sue Bee Honey was able to do this by partnering with a platform that specializes in beacon proximity advertising. This partnership allowed them to leverage beacons across 100,000 locations to wake shopping apps on a potential user’s device when he/she entered the store and send a utility message. These utility messages would vary based on the kind of store the user is currently in and the type of app that is being leveraged to deliver a hyper-relevant message. For example, say a user walks into a brick and mortar store with a shopping list app on his/her device, the branded content could simply say ‘Add Sue Bee Honey to your list.’
The campaign was a great success and resulted in Sue Bee Honey increasing its overall awareness by almost 50%, its purchase intent by 450% and delivered a 240 per return on investment (ROI).
2) Enhancing consumer experience
While a large number beacon campaigns in the early stages were primarily aimed at driving sales, most of the campaigns in the later stages were aimed at enhancing consumer experience. According to the survey by Vanson Bourne, 47% of CMOs cited ‘customer experience’ as the reason why they deployed beacons. And this is not limited to enhancing consumer experience at retail stores or stadiums. Over the span of 2016, we have seen brands across various sectors leverage beacons to attain the same. And chances are that, going ahead we will see more and more industries embrace beacons for the same.
One good example
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One such innovative campaign of recent times was run by Xerox, an American global corporation that sells business services and document technology products. Xerox used beacons to roll out customized, hyperlocal deals to commuters in Hoboken from merchants along their travel routes, via an app called Shop and Ride. Leveraging beacons enabled Xerox to gain insights into a commuter’s travel timings and what his or her preferred transit hubs are. This helped them ensure that the deals they rolled out were completely customized to those travel patterns. Thus this beacon campaign marked a stark contrast with respect to what other online marketplaces such as LivingSocial and Groupon, have been doing with respect to rolling out deals and coupons. For example, Groupon often times rolls out coupons and deals in a general area rather than a specific radius.
How did they go about it?
Having seen the rising demand for mobile ticketing among commuters, Xerox decided to use the opportunity to its max by offering deals to commuters as a part of their transit experience. In order to attain this, Xerox launched an app called Shop and Ride which allowed commuters in Hoboken, a New Jersey suburb of New York, to receive hyperlocal deals from merchants including restaurants and massage parlors thanks to beacon devices implemented at bus shelters and storefronts.
In order to roll out relevant offers to users, the Shop and Ride app requires users to set up a personal profile. The app also hones each user’s targeted offers the more frequently he/she uses the app. Users are even allowed to save a mobile coupon for immediate or future redemption.
To start out Xerox collaborated with 35 merchants in the Hoboken area to send offers to New Jersey transit customers. As a part of the beacon campaign, each participating merchant shared two weekly mobile coupons with Shop and Ride users. The merchants also leveraged important user information such as anonymized data, which displays the number of individuals who open, save and redeem the deals and real-time tracking of conversion rates from Xerox to make better informed decisions on their future rollouts. This allowed merchants to make data-driven decisions on the kind of offers that should be introduced and the optimal time at which they should be rolled out. It also equipped merchants to build a repeat audience once transit riders became familiar with their products or services.
3) Driving customer loyalty
While the traditional approach to building brand loyalty was primarily via loyalty cards, loyalty stamps and coupons, new technologies such as iBeacon have helped businesses take traditional loyalty programs a step higher, by offering tailored, data driven and hyper-local experiences. So much so that, according to the survey by Vanson Bourne, 41% of respondents cited ‘customer loyalty’ as the reason why they went ahead with a beacon deployment.
One good example
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One such successful beacon campaign of recent times was run by The Fragrance Outlet, a perfume and cosmetics chain. The campaign was aimed at building on The Fragrance Outlet’s existing loyalty membership program while trying to attract new shoppers.
How did they go about it?
As a part of the campaign, the cosmetics chain worked in collaboration with a beacon rewards platform to drive its rewards programs by offering samples for rewards-seekers. To start out, beacons were deployed at about 100 Fragrance Outlet stores.
When a customer with the Shopkick app walked into the store, the beacons greeted the user at the door and rewarded them with kicks (beacon-activated app rewards) for the visit. These ‘kicks’ could then be redeemed for discounts, or in the case of The Fragrance Outlet, product samples for brands such as Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Escada, Hugo Boss, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne, Michael Kors, Thierry Mugler, among others.
The cosmetics chain also adopted the Shopkick linked credit card program called ‘kicks for purchase,’ thereby providing kick rewards to customers who made a purchase at checkout with a linked Visa or MasterCard. This way beacons have helped Fragrance Outlet establish branding and loyalty by driving foot traffic to their stores, attracting new customers, providing rewards to customers for coming into their stores, and generally creating a great in-store experience.
Have you come across any other interesting iBeacon campaign ideas? Let us know in the comments below.
In case 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!