How to Grow Your Sales Using Proximity Marketing During a Pandemic
Last Updated:  December 21, 2020
The current global pandemic is significantly affecting retail. Physical stores are suffering the most due to lockdowns and movement restrictions. As a business owner, you now have to think proactively about your store and its marketing strategies. One of these strategies is the usage of proximity marketing.
Various technologies determine the location of a device. These include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as GPS, enabled mobiles. It also includes NFC tag-enabled mobiles that can read RFC chips on products. The latter is an effective way to get customers to engage with a brand.
Proximity marketing gets your business the most extensive reach. It is no wonder that it’s so effective at increasing sales.
We’ll unravel more details about this marketing method below.
The Current Impact of COVID-19 on the Retail Sector
Covid-19 is not merely a disease of the body. The economy is also succumbing to its ill effects. Businesses have been significantly impacted. The pandemic has hit the economy hard.
Let’s discuss these impacts below.
Changes in Customer Behavior
People are currently demanding certain products at the expense of others. Due to the pandemic, many people have been hoarding everything from toiletries to canned food. Empty grocery store shelves are a common sight.
Likewise, discretionary spending has suffered a drastic decline. Food, clothing, and other merchandise stores rarely see clientele now. This decline is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
A Shift to Online and Digital Purchasing
A key characteristic of COVID-19 is how contagious it is. So online shopping provides a level of safety that many customers need right now. This is why online shopping has become so popular in these uncertain times.
Let’s face it; online shopping is also convenient. It gives people access to a broader variety of goods and services. At the stroke of the keypad, you can visit multiple stores from the comfort of your home. This does not bode well for physical stores and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. You can use digital marketing tools to help grow your sales online.
A Shift to getting Value for Money
There is currently a massive spike in the rate of unemployment. To be exact, 20.5 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs in April alone. That’s a 14.7% unemployment rate!
U.S shoppers are buying cheaper brands. They are also frequenting dollar stores, and only spending much less than they used to. Also, competing health concerns are a genuine concern. Understandably, people want to get as much bang for their buck.
So how will your business thrive in light of the above? Let’s read on to find out.
Proximity Marketing Strategies to Combat COVID-19
Proximity marketing is a powerful marketing strategy. In a pandemic, it can help you reach your valued customers in specific ways. Let’s consider this technology in light of the objectives every business should have –
Get Your Future Assortment Right
Yes, proximity marketing is useful in assortment planning. How so, you may ask? Let’s consider the definition. Assortment planning maximizes sales by optimizing store layout, product placement, and visual merchandising.
Proximity technology is also able to track the time spent by customers in certain parts of a store. It gives sellers the real-time location of a customer too. They are then able to customize a mobile message based on the relevancy of that location.
Assortment planning is critical to most businesses. If you are not doing it, you need to start. This is all about forecasting demand and getting a grasp on how you will manage that demand. This is important for future planning post-COVID-19.
Reconsider Your Discount Strategy
Offering discounts to drive in more sales is a business strategy as old as time. What if you could do this more efficiently? What if you could get more value when you offer discounts?
Sending out relevant information to the right customer is effective marketing. Couple that with attractive discounts and you are winning. A well-planned discount strategy increases sales without decreasing profit margins.
This way, you can increase your sales, dispose of old merchandise, and gain new customers. Your online customers could account for a significant part of your sales well after the pandemic is over.
Grow Consumer Engagement
Your product sells when your customers love what you offer. Focus on adding value to customers rather than generating income from them. Humanize your brand and personalize each customer’s experience.
Create content that your target audience finds useful and engaging. Whenever you send out a message, make sure it’s impactful.
This maintains people’s interest in your brand. So, even though you don’t start out pitching a sale, you can get lifetime customers in the end. Proximity marketing just gets your message out there faster and more effectively.
Where is the Retail Market Going?
In every industry, there are emerging innovations and trends. Let’s take a closer look at beacon technology.
How does Beacon Technology Benefit Retailers during Uncertain Times?
A beacon is a small, wireless device. It broadcasts signals to smartphones within a specific range. The owner of the phone would have downloaded a compatible app that connects to the beacon device. It is contactless and does not require physical interaction between seller and customer. In light of the pandemic, this becomes an invaluable tool.
As an advertising tool, beacon technology meets and exceeds expectations. For as long as stores are closed, the technology can direct customers to your online store.
Beacon tech helps you offer the right advert to the right customers. Studies have shown a very positive impact on sales through the use of this tool.
Personalization is Key
Beacon technology can be used to personalize a customer’s interaction with your business. Post Covid-19, companies may need to limit the number of clientele at any one time. If you’re a restaurant owner, it can send out messages to customers to alert them of your wait times.
This gives them an option. If they are not willing to wait for long, you would have saved them the trouble. You then end up with a happy customer. Personalization is perfect for building customer loyalty.
You can also use beacon technology to offer discounts and coupons. Eventually, you’ll be able to map out a pattern of customer behavior.
You then access this data to tailor your actions to meet your customer’s needs. This is a compelling way to skyrocket your sales.
3 Tools to Tackle Marketing Amidst COVID-19
1. Finding Your Target Audience’s Contacts
In the world of marketing and business, you often need to locate your target audience. Also, one of the most effective ways of contacting cold leads is through email. For example, you may need to be able to advertise whatever form of proximity marketing you have.
An email lookup is how you go about finding a contact’s email. There is no shortage of tools and methodologies that can help.
You then locate the twitter handle from their profile (after the “@” in the profile URL). You then insert the twitter handle name after the forward-slash in the “twitter.com” website address. Often the person or entity’s email address will later be revealed.
2. Face Recognition and Proximity Marketing
Face recognition is another valuable marketing tool. It enables retailers to recognize a customer as they enter a store instantly. They can then be sent an automated text based on their facial recognition.
Each customer can receive, in real-time, offers for only products unique to that buyer. This technology is best known for its security purpose. However, it has a significant impact on customer engagement potential. Face recognition will have more relevance once restrictions on businesses are lifted.
3. Cashless transactions using e-wallets
During the pandemic, stores that are open to business have to take precautions. Offering alternative means of payment will increase customer buying habits. There is a heightened fear of catching diseases through cash exchanges. Contactless cash transactions via e-wallets are a great solution.
To sum up,
Proximity marketing is a life-saver in uncertain times. Customers are more confident to shop from you if they can do so in a safe way. This means more sales for your business. This technology extends your business into a post COVID world of revitalized economic activity
Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He authors guides on entire security posture, both physical and cyber. Enjoys sharing the best practices and does it the right way!