Even with retail apocalypse making headlines for the last couple of years, tech-savvy businessmen have found ways to compete with online giants like Amazon. According to a report from The New York Times, just 8.9 per cent of the retail sales in the United States last year were made online – which includes Amazon. Presented upside down, 91.1% of the $5.7 trillion shoppers spent at retailers last year was through brick-and-mortar stores. Proximity marketing strategies if not completely, is massively responsible for the growth of offline businesses.
However, buying beacon hardware from an e-commerce site and getting started with it is not always the most economical and efficient solution. It requires months of effort, a developer on-board and thousands of marketing dollars. This is why small and medium-sized businesses prefer a complete proximity marketing solution from a reliable company. This blog post will walk you through how to evaluate a proximity marketing company and how to map your business needs to the core features of the proximity marketing solution.
What is proximity marketing?
Proximity marketing is not a new concept for offline businesses. Store owners have been practising it for a long time, by pitching in for the right product at the right time. However, technology has made this process seamless and delightful.
Bluetooth beacons are one such proximity marketing technology that is extremely versatile and powerful. Learn about other proximity marketing technologies and compare them. Not just retail giants like Macy’s, McDonalds and Amazon Go, but a lot of small businesses have also adopted beacons for providing a pleasant experience to their shoppers.
How do I know if my business needs a proximity marketing company?
Any business that wants to connect with their customers on their smartphones, save marketing dollars and keep marketing relevant will benefit from an end-to-end proximity marketing company. The benefit of having an end-to-end proximity marketing solution is to have a central dashboard to manage a fleet of beacons, create campaigns and analyse the success of the campaigns.
Major industries that benefit the most from an absolute proximity marketing solution are –
- Retail (Learn more about using beacons in retail stores)
- Restaurants, bars and coffee shops (How to run a successful beacon campaign for coffee shops)
- Real estate (How to capture leads for real estate using proximity marketing)
- Service providers (How can food delivery business leverage beacons to get more orders)
Two crucial questions you should ask yourself when evaluating the need for a proximity marketing company
- Do you have enough resources to build a platform to manage beacons and create campaigns?
- Do you want to collect insightful analytics on footfalls, the most visited section of the store, engagement in-store and more?
Choosing a proximity marketing company vs buying beacons off an e-commerce store
Opting for a proximity marketing solution for your business can be overwhelming given the options to choose from. But, at the end of the day, the ROI from the solution is what matters the most for a business.
There are two ways of getting started with a proximity marketing campaign –
Buying beacons from an e-commerce site
Step1: Buy beacons from Amazon, Alibaba or a beacon hardware vendor.
Step 2: Then, get a developer onboard to set up a highly secure beacon software to create, manage and monitor campaigns. This software should have the following functionalities
- URL shortening service
- Ability to create a markdown card for campaigns
- Ability to create forms for surveys and lead generation
- Running campaigns according to a schedule
- Google proximity API integration to send Nearby notifications
- Integration with Samsung phones (CloseBy)
- Build an app to configure beacons to your platform
- Real-time analytics to monitor the success of campaigns
- Facebook and Google Adwords retargeting
- A robust user management system
These are the core functionalities for an Eddystone system that does not require an app for transmitting notifications. However, the functionalities double when the solution has to be compatible with iBeacon as well.
Step 3: Create Eddystone beacon campaigns to broadcast to users.
Invest in an end-to-end proximity marketing company/solution
Proximity marketing companies like Beaconstac are not just cost-effective but are also easier, richer with functionalities, secure and have a robust integration at its core.
Step 1: Choose a beacon from a range of hardware to suit your needs and subscribe to a cost-effective beacon software plan.
Step 2: Create beacon marketing campaigns to broadcast to your users.
Here is a basic calculation of the resources involved in buying beacons off an e-commerce store and getting started vs investing in a wholesome solution. I have pulled in data from some of the best in industry beacon solutions. This comparison is based on the steps in setting up a platform to manage and broadcast an Eddystone beacon campaign.
|Hardware price (Average)
|URL shortening service
|Form service integration
|Google proximity API integration
||Exclusive with Beaconstac
|App to configure beacons to your platform
|Facebook and Google Adwords retargeting
|User management system
|Building a secure system
||Built with utmost importance
|Fault tolerance system
||Taken care of
|Total time taken
||2 years 5 months
||Works out of the box
To sweeten it further, proximity marketing companies like Beaconstac also provides campaign templates, studies and other powerful features to help you boost the performance of campaigns.
The difference is massive! It often takes more than 2 years to build a fully functional and rich software to run proximity campaigns seamlessly.
How do I evaluate which is the best proximity marketing company for your business?
Choosing the right marketing solution depends on your business goals. One of the biggest mistake in choosing the best proximity marketing company is evaluating the vendor before deciding on the goals. By focusing on vendors, you end up reverse engineering their offerings to define your needs, rather than focusing on areas with real business value to your company. However, your proximity marketing solution should still have some core capabilities.
Here are some of the core features you should look for in a proximity marketing company
1. Should support a range of beacon hardware (for all use cases – long ranges, highly targeted zones, mobile implementations and more)
2. Should deliver notifications to both Android and iOS
3. Should be cost-effective
4. Should have the ability to dynamically switch campaigns based on days of the week and time of the day.
5. Should have a powerful analytics engine to measure the campaign effectiveness.
In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, Beaconstac also allows marketers to
1. Choose from beautiful campaign templates
2. Target users in their preferred language
3. Add app intent to campaigns and a host of other functionalities
I’m ready to opt for Beaconstac as my proximity marketing company/solution. What are the next steps?
Before we get into how to get started, here are few giants who are using Beaconstac as a proximity marketing solution for their business needs –
1. Head to Beaconstac store to choose your beacon hardware and a corresponding software plan. Here’s a hardware datasheet to help you decide which beacons suit your business needs.
2. Once we ship your beacons, they work out-of-the-box! Login to your Beaconstac dashboard and create your first proximity marketing campaign!
Good luck with choosing your proximity marketing solution! Schedule a call with our beacon experts to know more about setting up proximity marketing campaigns and using Beaconstac as a solution.