6 ‘Microfencing’ Tools for Retailers

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Wifi_logoDozens of popular geofencing platforms help retailers generate foot traffic — but what happens after these potential customers cross a store’s threshold is anyone’s guess.

In an effort to drive traffic to specific points inside their stores — like special displays, brand kiosks, or promoted products — retailers and brand manufacturers are beginning to utilize “microfencing” solutions from indoor navigation vendors.

In addition to sending targeted offers to customers who are already standing within feet of their products, retailers can use “microfencing” to recommend compatible purchases based on a customer’s current location. (For example, a sporting goods store could send a message to smartphone users near a display of baseball gloves, asking if they’ve checked out the latest cleats, balls, or bats.) Although indoor location tools are still relatively new, research has shown that consumers are 16x more likely to redeem a mobile coupon when it’s pushed from an app that utilizes this technology. Here are six tools that retailers and brands can use for in-store “microfencing.”

1. Point Inside: Increase sales by offering product location information.
Retailers can use Point Inside to increase shopper engagement rates and get more use out of their branded apps. By adding StoreMode capabilities to their mobile apps, stores can provide information about layout and product locations to their customers. They can also deliver product suggestions and personalized offers in real-time, based on their customers’ personal profiles and in-store locations. Adding an in-app shopping list feature also gives retailers insight into what products their customers are hoping to buy. Point Inside offers customized pricing based on each retailer’s individual needs.

2. Wifarer: Engage customers with hyperlocal content.
Retailers that use Wifarer to create their own indoor positioning apps can push any type of content (including special offers, exhibit media, and performance schedules) to smartphone users who’ve stepped into certain microfenced locations within their stores. Wifarer uses a combination of heat maps and on-site visits to assess coverage and density of the WiFi at a retailer’s location, and converts floorplans into mobile-friendly maps. Wifarer doesn’t require the installation of any special hardware. Wifarer says its indoor positioning solutions are “competitively priced.”

3. ByteLight: Leverage LED lighting to deliver hyper-targeted offers.
ByteLight utilizes LED lighting to power its indoor-location solution, allowing retailers to deliver targeted content — including deals, promotions, product information, reviews, and anything else they can dream up — based on their customers’ precise in-store locations. Because ByteLight is powered by its own LED lights with embedded microchips, retailers can use the technology without indoor WiFi or cell carrier signals. In most retail environments, ByteLight is accurate to less than one meter. ByteLight says its LED bulbs cost the same as traditional LEDs.

4. indoo.rs: Locate the exact position of indoor customers in real-time.
indoo.rs provides developers with the technology to track the position of customers inside buildings in real-time, including when smartphones user change floor level. The company’s technology allows developers to access this information without adding any onsite hardware. Instead, indoo.rs utilizes a combination of “dead-reckoning, sensor fusion and WiFi fingerprinting.” indoo.rs charges clients for software licensing fees that range from free (for up to 1,000 active app users per month) to $9,995 (for us to 100,000 active app users per month).

5. Pole Star: Use indoor positioning to promote flash sales.
Large retailers and shopping malls can add value to their branded mobile apps by adding Pole Star’s indoor positioning solution. Pole Star uses a hybrid technology that combines GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy, and motion sensors to track customer movements in real-time. Retailers can push product information and location-aware messages, and generate turn-by-turn navigational directions based on the in-app shopping lists their customers create. Pole Star says its services can be implemented in a new venue in just a few hours.

6. iInside: Analyze indoor traffic data.
Launched by WirelessWERX earlier this year, iInside is a microfencing tool that retailers and grocers can use to analyze indoor traffic data and improve the overall shopping experience for customers. Retailers can use iInside to analyze customer pathing, behavior, and intent, as well as departmental performance. They can also use iInside to measure queue times, and deploy additional staffers when wait times get too long. iInside prices its indoor analytics solutions based on the number of departments or zones in the store, and charges a monthly fee per department. Where applicable, there is no cost to obtain the hardware.

Know of other microfencing tools for retailers? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.