In an effort to better compete online, retailers have been on a mission in recent years to better engage with customers. One way they’ve done this is to track customers to whatever extent they can glean insights into shopping behaviors and engage with customers. Depending on the technologies being used and the extent to which customers opt in to be tracked, the results have varied. However, more recently, we’ve seen the emergence of iBeacon technology and video analytics, which have proven to be very powerful, effective and capable of driving some unique applications.
iBeacons, video analytics combine for powerful intelligence
iBeacons were developed by Apple and use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) transmitters that can communicate with mobile devices up to approximately 200 feet away. The transmitters can be used to identify a device, its location, movement through a store or to trigger events. In all cases, it’s important to note that for iBeacons to function, the customer has to opt in and allow the communication to take place. Typically, iBeacons and customer engagement are brought together via an app the retailer creates and offers to customers with the promise of sales, new product updates and other value-added enticements.
Surveillance cameras can use analytic tools to identify customer demographic information, such as the relative age and gender. They can also be used much like iBeacons, tracking customers as they move through a store.
Analytics provide valuable customer insights
For savvy solution providers, these two technologies can be used to create customer-engaging video solutions that are very attractive to retailers. The first step is to use iBeacons or surveillance cameras over a few months to produce a heat map of the store. A heat map will show the retailer, using different colors, the areas of the store where foot traffic is highest and lowest. It can show which displays are working and which are not, what products are of most interest and which are not. It will also show how long customers dwell in certain areas. All of this data is valuable to retailers seeking an understanding of customer behavior.
However, the data can also be used to strategically place video walls—or even simple single-screen displays if budget and store size don’t permit a full wall—in strategic locations of the store. By then integrating an iBeacon transmitter and/or surveillance cameras that can access demographic analytics tools with the video wall, it’s possible to trigger custom content to play on the wall based on the customer in close proximity.
Overcome intelligent video wall integration challenges
Keep in mind, if adding such intelligence to your video walls is something you want to do, it requires a complex integration of systems. You need analytics—whether from iBeacons or video surveillance. You also need demographic information and database integration to ensure the right content is displayed to the target customer. You might need to integrate with the retailer’s point-of-sale system. All that said, a higher complexity doesn’t mean the solutions are out of reach. It just means you might need the assistance of Ingram Micro and the vendors involved. Regardless, the hard work is worth it. These types of solutions yield higher margins due to the complexity and they certainly set you apart from your competitors offering basic digital signage.