“Beacon-enabled campaigns have an average click-through rate of 60%, compared with traditional campaigns like email marketing at 2%.” - Business Insider
Over the past year, there have been a huge number of brands - ranging from high street retailers to luxury goods retailers - opting to enhance their customer experience using proximity marketing technologies.
The technology itself is predominantly about marketing to your consumer at the right place, the right time, with highly relevant and personalised notifications. Retailers are now beginning to realise that the tools available offer an enormous potential beyond merely delivering vouchers and coupons. These tools work best when they are used by brands to better understand the needs and wants of their customer base, while noting and reacting to patterns in buying behaviour.
Proximity marketing with beacons, involves setting up a Bluetooth enabled mobile device at a particular spot within the range of the beacon. This then passes tailored information in the form of a text, image or videoOh via the respective mobile app.
Ca-Phun Ung, Managing Partner of Tofugear, shares his insights on the benefits and frequently asked questions surrounding the implementation of beacons and proximity marketing in the retail operating system.
Why should retailers care about Beacons?
Beacons play a major role in delivering a truly connected retail solution - that is both effective and measurable. It enables targeting and retargeting of in-store consumers by pushing in-location offers, promotions or additional proximity based actions that result in data gathering in-store. Location-based messaging, combined with real-time product visibility, meshed with machine-learning intelligence enables a truly enhanced shopper experience, and I believe it is the future of retail.
Using the beacons, what are the benefits on the customer’s journey?
We see many interesting ways beacons could be used to maximise the benefit of a customer journeying through a store. One such usage is journey-mapping. A single solo beacon only tells us the approximate radial distance from itself, so it cannot pinpoint a coordinate in space. But an array of beacons strategically placed can triangulate, and therefore map a customer's journey path through the store. This opens doors to very insightful analytics, which could involve more efficient store planning along with all the other metrics we already track and gather on customer journeys.
By reviewing customer experiences, we learned that the good things in life are simple. The simpler the better. People do not like to go through a lot of steps just to use a system, especially when they are making difficult buying decisions. Beacons just make the entire shopping process much easier and fun.
From a retailer’s perspective, using beacons to communicate to their customers, what barriers they could overcome that currently exist in the retail environment?
An obvious barrier that retailers will be able to overcome is reducing cold starts and mundane experiences. Imagine this; when a customer walks in the door, the store staff gets notified and can learn more about the customer, such as their previous purchase history or machine learned product suggestions, before engaging. Beacons can also power all in-location functionalities and call assistant features.
By utilising beacons for customer logins at our interactive mirror display, connected fitting rooms and point-of-sale. With their mobile in-hand, the beacons can sense when a customer is inside a fitting room and ask them to login.
Tofugear Omnitech solves a unique problem for the physical retailer. It allows them to gain full visibility of shopper behaviour, real-time inventory movements, checkout progress and abandonments all in the physical brick-and-mortar stores. This uniquely empowers fully visible remarketing and single personas for the every individual customer, both online and offline. This cannot be achieved in today’s world without beacon technology.
Would it be an effective tool for ROI or conversion?
Yes, research shows us that retailers’ ROI tripled just by implementing the connected fitting room. When a customer sees their avatar appear on the mirror display, simply by walking close, it feels intuitive and works well as a method of logging in. Simply tapping on their own avatar allows the system to communicate with their mobile phone, which in turn triggers authentication and login. This simplicity meant customers found it easy and intuitive from the get go. Even for those who had never used a beacon based login feature before, it was a straightforward process that worked really well.
What form of information can be passed through to the receivers?
Beacons are simply dumb location broadcasters with a unique identifier that tell the world it’s alive. So the receiver is in fact the customer's mobile device. Retailers strategically place beacons in designated locations within the store. Since the retailer placed the beacons, they know the exact location of each point. All information we receive comes from the customer’s own mobile device communicating with our platform. This opens a wealth of trackable information and selling opportunities.
Retailers are now beginning to realise that using beacon technology and exploring proximity marketing offers an enormous potential beyond papers and conversations. It offers them the ability to triple their conversion rates, while keeping their marketing efforts personalised and more targeted. The future of retail could be as exciting for the retailers as for the customers who will continue to treasure the Brick & Mortar and interactive experiences.