4 Ways Beacons Make Retail Better

Beacons in retail making a huge difference for managers

4 Ways Beacons Make Retail Better

Beacons got their start in retail, making headlines with big names like Macy’s and Target. Here’s 4 ways managers in retail should start using beacons.

Delivering Deals At the Right Moment

The most well-known use cases for beacons are found in stores and shopping malls. Though proximity technology has branched into other verticals, many of its core use cases are still central to retail. Large and small business are rolling out POCs or already leveraging full-blown infrastructures to communicate better with customers.

Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that can communicate with the phones of customers and passers-by. These brief signals are able, through the use of an app, to convey huge amounts of information. They are able to connect to the cloud and help pull (or store) all kinds of data, giving retailers the chance to communicate in a more specific way with their customers. Retailers’ apps can pick and choose from an array of options and choose the best information to deliver the customer when they are most likely to engage. They key is proximity, which enables messages to be made at the perfect moment.

Four key uses for beacons in retail:

  • Push notifications
  • Customized offers
  • Indoor navigation
  • Data generation

Mobile Push Notification: a message that pops on a mobile device outside of an app. Without proximity technology, for example, as a customer is walking through the bread aisle their phone vibrates. A message pops up; it tells them the store has a sale on candles. That is cool, but it could be better. Beacons add an extra layer to the mix: proximity. Now, when a customer walks through the bread aisle, their phone (and the app) knows to deliver a message that is relevant and not completely random. The customer receives a push notification with sandwich ideas or a coupon specifically for bread, ham, or cheese. This also leads into the second possibility for beacons here. This way, you might not even need app store optimization for app marketing.

Customized offers: make each interaction count by sending the right message. Sending every customer the exact same offer may work sometimes, but it will very often fail. Here, beacons can send a customer a coupon that directly relates to them. Furthermore, depending on how the program is designed, the app may be able to know enough about the customer to make a personal offer. Using social data, information on previous purchases, saved items, or previous in-app behavior, the app need not guess whether a customer wants a certain message—it knows.

Indoor navigation: helping visitors feel more at home and less likely to get exhausted. Malls are big and confusing. Unless you are a seasoned veteran, it is easy to get lost. By setting up beacons either in a single store or around a shopping center, beacons offer customers the chance to use indoor navigation to find their next product or store.

Data Generation: the first step to big data and the dream of many modern retails. Notifications and offers are the face of retail beacon use cases, but the real driver is the long term game: data generation. Proximity technology can show managers and executives how customers behave in the real world. Where do visitors go first? What are common patterns? More importantly, where are bottlenecks occurring and how can they be fixed?

Bringing Beacons To Your Store

Though all of these options are available use cases for beacons in the retail sector, it is not necessary that a shop owner use all of them at once. Depending on the infrastructure, it is also possible to start with only one or two particular uses and add capabilities later on.

Moreover, it is easy to rush in, but retailers must consider the distinct benefits of beacon solutions before implementation. Much of the work required to build an app, deploy an infrastructure, or even analyze data can be outsourced to companies who specialize in beacons. Retailers should consider looking into partnerships, perhaps planning solutions for a series of stores. Once a proper plan is in place, they can look forward to building a better data-based retail experience for their customers.

Do YOU want beacons in your mall? Tweet us your thoughts or questions!