Seeking Physical Web Inspiration? 10+ Enticing Ideas for Retailers

Oct 17, 2017 · 6 min read

6 minutes of how to unleash online content and revive brick and mortar retail with app-less interaction with the real world

We already discussed how the Physical Web can help take advantage of showrooming. Then we did the same but in Polish (we actually believe it’s one of the first comprehensive articles on the Physical Web in this language!).
But we barely scratched the surface of retail and location-based websites.
And we are hungry for more. And, what’s more, we are working on our own Physical Web-powered solution.

So, today, another take on the subject: the Physical Web for retail, globally. From bookstores to electronics stores, for both small businesses and key players, we present you a number of use cases and a blast of inspiration.

But first: a quick reminder of what the Physical Web is, why it is so great, and how to harness this pure awesomeness.

The how and why of the Physical Web

Here’s the how: with the Physical Web, beacon-enabled objects or locations broadcast URLs and smartphone users can access the content with just their web browser, with no need for a dedicated app:
the websites sent out by objects just pop up in the notification bar.

Here’s the why: so, app-less beacons? Game changing and disruptive,
if you ask us.
The need for a mobile app is a huge barrier to entry to make
the most of proximity marketing. Why? First of all, developing a custom mobile app is costly. Second of all, even if your business does have an app, given the daunting stats, it might share the fate of most mobile apps:
“90% of people stop using mobile apps just a month after downloading them”.

This is why the Physical Web takes proximity-based technology to a whole new level. All your clients need to access your digital content is
a mobile device with a web browser. Which means you can reach practically every mobile-savvy, always-connected shopper that enters your store.

Ok, so we already know why the Physical Web is great. Now: how to make
use of that greatness? All we need to get started with the Physical Web is
a couple of beacons to deploy and a landing page creator. As simple as that. No costly and lengthy
process of developing a dedicated mobile application whatsoever.

Right now, Netizens together with Beeem is working on a simple Physical Web app for store owners and managers: one simple app to rule your online content, from anywhere.

Create landing pages for your store, edit and update them at any time, monitor statistics, analyze, retarget, try something new… Here’s a teaser:

What store owners see in the app vs. what customers see on the webpage

Now: imagine we are retail business owners and we can create Physical Web pages for our enterprise using the app… Let’s boost brick and mortar retail!

Digital In-Store Touch Points, Physical Web-Powered

The general idea of enhancing offline retail with the Physical Web is simple:

Take a look at how the Physical Web evangelist Scott Jenson sees this:

Long story short? Digital content everywhere!

Now, step by step and business by business, let’s explore the possibilities of the Physical Web for traditional retail. We’ve come up with some inspirational use cases.

  1. Let’s take bookstores first. So…

What if chosen books or shelves could broadcast their own websites?

For example with teasing, purchase-inducing excerpts from books leaving the customer curious and wanting more?

Or web pages with the author’s bio and trivia?

With engaging reviews?

With contextual discounts and time-limited offers?

With constantly updated best seller lists?

With real-time polls or quizzes?

2. Now, let’s explore beauty stores. So…

What if makeup products could send out links to video tutorials or reviews?

What if they could broadcast a chatbot filled with professional advice or suggestions by makeup gurus?

What if products could automatically provide a link to your online store when products are out of stock (“it’s ok, just buy me online here!”)?

3. Fashion stores are a land of endless possibilities for the Physical Web. So…

What if clothes could suggest matching outfits and offer complex “complete the look” kind of advice?

What if we could virtually try on clothes using the provided landing page?

What if display mannequins could present more details about the clothes and accessories shown in the shop’s window, thereby luring passersby into the store (“hey, check out what I got for you!”)?

What if products could broadcast a dedicated chatbot with advice from an online fashion community?

Or provide social media buttons to instantly share the purchase with friends?

4. It’s time for groceries. With the Physical Web, even boring grocery aisles can be brought into the 21st century. So…

What if products could broadcast mouth-watering recipes?

Or provide a link to general in-store navigation or recipe-based navigation (“add me to your shopping list and follow the route!”)?

What if products could share fun facts, educational content, nutrition infographics?

What if we could introduce gamification and broadcast a web page promoting in-store games or fun loyalty programs?

5. Finally, electronics stores, still surprisingly offline in most cases. How can the Physical Web bring them online? So…

What if products could send out time-limited offers, incentives, or calls to action?

What if we could reward customer for visiting our store by offering them exclusive proximity-based promotions?

What if we could provide clients with reliable product comparisons? Just select the products you’re considering, compare their features, choose the best option for you.

What if we could propose videos presenting the product or video reviews to clients?

To sum up, from bookstores to electronics stores, Physical Web is a cheap way of turning customers’ smartphones into marketing tools. Anything that is online can now be easily accessed from the offline world, with no need for the customer to download a dedicated app.

So: want to offer well-timed content, accessible right at your customer’s fingertips? Got more ideas for your business? Tempted to become a beta tester of our Physical Web app? Just let us know :)

In the meantime, if you still haven’t seen it, jump to our most read post here on Medium that introduces Netizens properly. Get to know us. Happy exploring! :)

netizens digital innovation house

we like (and do) software, hardware, IoT, interactive installations & literally everything tech-related


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digital innovation house: bridging online & offline

netizens digital innovation house

we like (and do) software, hardware, IoT, interactive installations & literally everything tech-related

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