The Beacon Advantage

beacon devices photoBeacons are changing the way proximity marketing and location-based marketing work!

Retailers have taken to Beacons like fish to water – according to ZDNet, Rite Aid has announced the use of beacons in all of its 4,500 stores in the US! Did you know that about 3.9 million beacons were shipped globally in 2015?

Apart from retail stories, you can find them in airports and trade shows, sports and concert venues – schools and museums – even hospitals!

Why are they being used?

The idea is to increase sales and customer loyalty by increasing customer loyalty.

A very optimistic study found that

  • 60 percent of shoppers engage with beacon-triggered content
  • 30 percent of shoppers redeem beacon-triggered offers at the point of purchase
  • 73 percent of shoppers surveyed said that beacon-triggered content and offers increased their likelihood to purchase during their store visit
  • 61 percent said they would shop more at stores with beacons and also that they would buy more because of beacon-triggered marketing messages

And what are they?

Beacons are tiny wireless devices used to trigger the delivery of location-specific mobile content. They are just transmitters that basically beam location data to Bluetooth-enabled smartphones. Beacons use Bluetooth 4.0 – a new format of Bluetooth that is built into everything from all iPhones from Apple 4S upwards and Android devices like Samsung Galaxy S III. The coolest thing? Bluetooth 4.0 does not require devices to be paired. The special thing about them is that they can trigger the delivery of hyper-targeted mobile content through a mobile app at a particular time and location. Mobile browsers cannot recognize beacon signals, and so mobile apps are necessary for any beacon marketing program. Beacon marketing is an indoor mobile marketing platform, where opted-in consumers can get digital content and offers from retailers and brands on their smartphones while they shop in stores. The impact that this kind of beacon marketing has on the behavior of shoppers is tremendous. There are at least 50 different battery-friendly broadcasting devices offering many options for Bluetooth-powered beacons, including those from manufacturing heavyweights such as Qualcomm and Motorola.

Through beacons, retailers can personalize their interaction with their customers. They can target their audiences better. Get more detailed customer insights. Stores will know what interests a customer – going by the time he or she spent in the store or in a particular aisle. Customers will have the ease of doing a ‘click and collect’ in stores where it is possible – something that enhances customer experience. Since the messages are highly personalized and targeted, marketers and retailers get the attention they want from their customers, with increased open rates as the messages are very relevant. You can send coupons and information about special offers to the customers – which in turn drives sales and revenues.

While there are many advantages to this, too many messages can be annoying to customers. Too much of personalization can totally put them off. And customers can have all kinds of privacy concerns – as the device can access your location and your contacts. There may be overheads and costs that the retailer has to bear – managing a whole network of beacons can be challenging. Operating them can be expensive. There could be a situation where the signals in one store can get mixed up with some signals nearby!

Despite all this, there is tremendous potential in this kind of marketing. And it is up to marketers and retailers to tap into this while walking the fine line between great personalized offers and creepy annoyance.

Image by bukrie 

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