First introduced by Apple in 2013,Beacon technology (first named iBeacon) endured a slow start as consumers were unlikely to regularly make use of retail applications on a mobile device to drive their in-store experience.
But as the retail landscape has evolved over the last few years, it looks set to make a bigger impact over the next 12 months.
Photo by Allen Cai
Beacons are small and inexpensive pieces of hardware that can communicate with smartphone apps via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
They help brick-and-mortar stores enhance customer loyalty, gather data about their customers and provide an entry point for shoppers to become digitally engaged.
According to Business Insider UK, 60% of shoppers who had never tried in-store tracking said that discounts and coupons would convince them to use beacons, while 47% said loyalty rewards would convince them to opt-in to in-store messaging.
Over half of beacon-triggered messages currently sent involve some form of coupon or discount, while loyalty programmes are set to become even more important in the coming years. This will provide retailers with the ability to reward customers for location-based actions.
Think about it, if you walked past a store and your smartphone received an offer for that store, would you be more likely to go and at least have a look? And once in store, would you be drawn towards a special offer sent to you by another beacon that pulls you towards the till?
With the technology maturing, the key for retailers will be getting their beacon strategy right.
It’s extremely likely that retailers already collect the data they need to make successful decisions, but it is often hidden without the right analytics tools.
Having easy to understand reports to help decision makers create plans is crucial. And this applies at all levels, from nationwide to individual stores. While some trends are countrywide, others may only have a local impact. It’s unlikely there is a ‘one size fits all’ solution, so having that data is important.
Visual analytics can help retailers to identify the offers that will be successful when used with beacon technology, giving them actionable insights into what has been working from store or group level, what can be replicated and even what should be avoided.
It will quickly become clear that you can sell a lot more by getting quick answers from visual analytics and updating beacon offers in line with current trends, rather than having to work through stacks of lengthy reports and struggling to keep up.
So if you’re considering developing beacon technology in your stores in 2017 and beyond, make sure you have the right information at your fingertips that will really make a difference.