Taking Proximity Tech Beyond Promotional Offers

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Many retailers have invested the money to install beacons in stores and deliver location-based promotions and offers to shoppers. According to the most recent report from Proxbook, more than 6.2 million beacons have currently been deployed.

But once a program is successful and sales have increased as customers use more promotions, many retailers think they only need to maintain what they have. While you can stop there, however, beacon technology also affords retailers a number of other opportunities to reach and engage with customers beyond simply delivering offers.

Here are a few other ways retailers use this technology to deliver a superior customer experience and, ultimately, increase profits.

Customer Service
It happens to everyone, you’re shopping and can’t find an item you need or can’t reach the top shelf. A store associate is nowhere to be found so you give up and decide not to make the purchase. But beacons can help shoppers get the help they need and ensure in-store associates are in the right place when customers need them. Customers can quickly select the help button within in their mobile store app, the app will send a signal to the beacon which will then alert the closest store associate to assist. Shoppers don’t have to wander the store until they find help, often giving up and not purchasing on item. By having store associates come to the shopper, you can ensure the customer gets what they need and save a sale. It’s also a great opportunity for the associate to make recommendations that lead to increased basket size and sales.

Beacons can also be used to deliver tasty, new recipes to customers. Use beacons to not only alert customers of a nearby sale items but also recommend recipes to go along with those recipes and provide them with a list of other items to add to their shopping list. Beacons can then guide the customer through the store to find the additional ingredients to complete the recipe. For store operators, providing customers with recipes can increase basket size and drives sales and for customers, it takes the headache out of meal planning and shopping list making.

Data and Metrics
Take advantage of the vast amount of data beacons can track. Find out how many shoppers came into store using the in-store app at any given time. Discover if customers hovered near a certain item or display for an extended amount of time or if they simply passed it by. Measure wait and checkout times as customers move from one beacon placed at the back of a line until they pass through the checkout line and leave the store. This data is invaluable on the store level and for brands and wholesalers. Use the data measured by beacons to improve store operations and provide the best possible customer experience.

Promotional Contests
If you’ve ever been to a Trader Joe’s with a child, you’ve probably helped find the stuffed bear or monkey in exchange for a free sucker. But imagine if that free sucker were a gift card or meal kit, you’d probably be looking a lot harder. Using beacons, create a similar hide and seek style promotional contest for adult shoppers. Other promotional contests may include entering customers to win a prize when they share the location of their favorite products to their social media channels.

Mobile Payments
Another forward-thinking, and more complex, use of beacon technology is enabling mobile payments. When a shopper is using a mobile shopping app that includes the customer’s shopping list, beacons can automatically add the items to a customer’s digital cart as they pass and stop at the item’s in-store location. Shoppers can add additional items to their digital shopping cart by scanning or taking a photo of the item. When it’s time to exit the store, an in-store associate can easily verify the purchase, bag the items and print or email a receipt based on the customer’s preference.

The applications for in-store beacons are endless and with the technology installed to deliver promotional offers, and with the right talent in place, many beacon uses can be created and executed in-house. The more ways retailers use their in-store beacons, the greater the opportunity to increase sales and customer loyalty.

Shekar Raman is co-founder and CEO of Birdzi, a provider of strategic personalization and shopper engagement solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry developing algorithms, managing data centers, building servers and writing code.