Best Tech in Retail

Beacons on Display

Mobile trends are all the talk today and constantly changing the landscape of consumer behavior indoors. As a result, marketing best practices are embracing the need for consumers to interact with information in a more modern way.

According to Shopper Marketing Magazine, digital trends have changed consumer expectations to desire omnichannel, convenience, engagement, experience, enjoyment and live dialogue.  Therefore, the shift in marketing efforts has become less about controlling the shopping experience and more about allowing consumers to drive the interaction.

Increasingly, retailers are looking to new technologies to enhance that in-store shopping experience. This new form of marketing is igniting the media and retailer interest everywhere and attempting to focus on trends like real-time social shopping, visual web shopping and shopping online.

According to Global Shop, 90% of retail journeys still end in a retail store, even if they begin online. That said, the search for the best in-store technology – is on.

Among numerous technologies emerging from mobile trends, one technology that comes of interest is one that, in addition to making a consumer smarter, helps make our displays smarter, too – beacons. Let’s explore.

What are beacons, and what can they offer?

Beacons, ranked number two method impacting the future of shopper marketing by Shopper Marketing Magazine, are devices powered by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that can transmit data to other BLE-enabled devices. Basically, beacons are small gadgets that can “talk” to other BLE-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. They can also detect and recognize devices based on their location or previous shopping behavior, allowing them to send messages a customer’s device.

They’re low-cost, energy-efficient, battery-friendly Bluetooth connections that transmit messages or prompts directly to a smart device. They’re acknowledged for their ability to transform how retailers, companies and marketers connect with people in-store.

Retailers can install beacons in their stores and use them to send tailored offers and notifications to people depending on the type of customer or where they are located in the store. Customers can receive “welcome back” messages from retailers when they enter stores or they special offers based on what they are shopping for.

Essentially, beacons help retailers maximize customer service and further improve the shopping experience.  Furthermore, it’s not all about the marketing. The technology has the ability to speed up check-out, provide auto check-ins for consumers, and help with in-store navigation, as well as reinventing ways point of purchase displays are developed.

Why we’re hyped about them

Point-of-purchase (POP) displays are evolving to incorporate beacon technology that enables brands to measure in-store shopper behavior more effectively.

Shoppers can interact with these smart displays by using their smartphones to access product content, promotional offers, ratings and reviews in real time. Simultaneously, retailers will be able to track the effectiveness of certain in-store promotions by gathering shopper engagement data and the performance of that display in-store.

Shelfbucks and Menashsa are two companies who’ve joined forces to completely re-invent in-store merchandising with the launch of POP displays incorporating the iBeacon, BLE and Bluetooth technology to help increase engagement with shoppers.

According to Executive Director McCombs School of Business, Lamar Johnson, having smart displays like what these companies are doing, allows hidden benefits like the availability of data that can help the entire supply chain better forecast and plan for promotion quantities so they’re never out of stock. This also allows CPG companies to understand what motivates consumers on old items, new items, and promotion items.

Benefits for retailers

Using beacons, retailers will have the ability to message consumers while they’re in stores, and at the same time, acquire the ability to collect consumer data. The cool thing about beacons is that they don’t replace, but they work in conjunction with retail apps. This means beacon providers and retail stores can combine users’ app data with data on how they actually move through stores, in turn helping retailers better categorize their audiences and advertise accordingly.

Will people actually use beacons?

According to a recent report by ABI Research, BLE device / hardware shipments will reach 60 million units by 2019. This iBeacon technology has really caught on and has emerged as a key anchor in the retail space.

Beacons can be implemented as long as a beacon-enabled app has to be installed in their customers’ phones. Will customers actually latch onto the idea? This is why getting consumers on board is an obstacle, because they actually have to download that store’s app and open it when they’re in the store and turn on their Bluetooth signal. That may be too many steps for the consumer to complete. What do you think?

Are beacons right for you?

Before deciding to adopt the technology, find out your business objectives and your customers’ needs.

To start, answer these questions.

  • What are your goals and objectives?
  • Are you trying to increase awareness?
  • Do you want to boost loyalty program participation?
  • Are you looking to actively engage with customers?
  • What does the future of retail look like to you?

From here, evaluate different solutions. Visit stores to see how they work first hand and determine which might be right for your store or product.

How are you using beacons? Tell us your story PLUS STAY TUNED for more on the latest revolutionary in-store technology.

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