Retail-focused industry trade shows are packed with “store of the future” exhibits that highlight cutting- edge technologies making their way into the mainstream. The driving force behind many of these new technologies is customer engagement: using hardware and software to create better shopping experiences so customers spend more and come back for repeat visits.
Beacons drive customer engagement
One solution that addresses these trends is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters, or beacons. Beacons are strategically placed throughout a store and sense the proximity of customer smartphones. As customers who’ve opted into the program (usually via the retailer’s app) walk through a store, beacons can sense their location and take any number of marketing- or experience-related actions. Here are just a few examples:
- An alert can be sent to the customer’s smartphone to inform them about a sale on a nearby item.
- Digital signage can begin playing targeted ads and other content.
- Beacons at store entrances can be used to “ping” customers walking by the store, alerting them to deals and events they might be interested in.
- Interactive wayfinding maps can help customers find desired items in a store.
Beacons’ effectiveness can be increased if promotions are based on the customer’s past shopping behavior via an integration between the retailer’s POS software and CRM solution.
In addition to direct customer interaction, beacons also let retailers gather meaningful insights into customer shopping behavior. Data analytics will reveal patrons’ traffic patterns and identify areas with short and long dwell times. Phone apps can be configured to capture vital information such as email address, birthday, gender and more—all useful for creating targeted marketing messages in the future.
Not ready for beacons? Start with guest Wi-Fi
Beacon technology solutions are available today, but if your customers don’t have the budget or appetite for such a solution, it’s possible to achieve similar results with guest Wi-Fi. When customers opt in to join your customers’ free Wi-Fi, their phones’ radios can be used to triangulate their position and drive digital signage, gather foot traffic and browsing data, and more. Guest Wi-Fi might be the perfect way to show your customers the value of proximity-based marketing while serving as a stepping stone to beacons.
For more information on how you can deliver the store of the future to your retailers today, contact Daryl Schuster
, Ingram Micro’s DCPOS expert.