THE OFFLINE RETAILER: In-store beacon technology for retailers
It used to be that ordering something online on your mobile phone and having it delivered within three hours was the most advanced (and convenient) form of retail technology. Today, technology in retail is becoming even more innovative than online shopping and growing at lightning pace. And with 90% of shoppers still preferring to buy in-store, the real game-changers in retail technology are happening in physical shops.
Enter in-store beacon technology.
There’s a new “P” to join the ranks of E. Jerome McCarthy’s concept of the “Four P’s of Marketing” and that’s Proximity. While no good retail store can survive without product, price, promotion and placement, proximity is the new MVP in the game of retail technology.
Proximity marketing (also known as hyperlocal marketing) refers to targeting shoppers at the exact moment they’re shopping in a specific store or within proximity to that store with marketing messages, sales promotions and other offerings on their mobile phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.
With 8 out of 10 shoppers using their mobile phone in-store to help them shop, proximity marketing yields remarkable revenue-producing potential for retailers and has opened up a whole new world of marketing possibilities.
Bluetooth beacons are another game-changer for shop owners wanting to make the most of proximity marketing. While sending promotions and offers to nearby shoppers via Wi-Fi is a great marketing tactic to attract customers into the store, Bluetooth beacons go one step further and focus on engaging shoppers who are already in the store.
Sound familiar? Bluetooth technology in retail is actually nothing new. Apple was the first company to recognise the immense potential of retail beacons back in 2013 when they introduced iBeacon technology. While this new tech craze might have been a bit too intrusive for guarded shoppers at the time, today’s savvy, plugged-in consumers are actually demanding a more engaging experience when shopping in physical stores.
Creating convenience with location-based notifications
While the Booodl focus is on helping you find the right store when you need it via Booodl.com, registered Booodl app users also have access to a nifty feature: reminder notifications. Shoppers can save products they want to their personal list and receive a reminder notification when near a store selling what they want. In a similar way to beacons, this uses location information to improve the in-store experience and bring convenience to bricks-and-mortar.
The final connection between brands and buyers
Proximity marketing presents a valuable connection between brands and buyers. Once a shopper has entered a store, a Bluetooth beacon will personalise their shopping experience by helping them navigate through the store to find the product they’re looking for, or help them discover the cheapest deals in-store and streamline the checkout process. Location-based notifications (such as those offered by the Booodl app) also improve the in-store experience by reminding shoppers to head in in the first place! Proximity marketing in its many forms helps to increase shopper visits and build consumer loyalty and trust through amazing in-store experiences.
Who does it well? Department store powerhouse, Macy’s embraced beacon technology early on in the piece with their Shopkick shopBeacon initiative that has grown to become the largest beacon installation program in retail history. Like other retail stores making the most of beacon technology and other forms of proximity marketing, Macy’s recognised that by offering the same privileges of digital shopping coupled with the intimate connection of feeling and shopping for products in-store they could provide a much more comprehensive experience for their shoppers.