The retail sector is a tough space to operate in. Hypertargeting and experience personalization is the future of retail engagements a notch above the currently popular mobile marketing via sms. Beacons are proximity devices that ride on Bluetooth technology to provide a digital sixth sense. Bluetooth Smart has been fashioned for the connected world with intelligence and power efficiency at its core. The technology has been around for ages but could not be exploited fully and dynamical in the pre-smartphone era. In the apps age, phone features can be toggled on and off with requisite permissions granted by the device owner. Paired with geo-location functionality that ships with most phones, retailers now have the unique opportunity to connect better with their current and potential customers.
The holy grail would be to have these interactions supported by additional data from a customer relationship management system that would use historical data to enrich the experience. Suppliers in the fast moving consumer goods segment where many store owners place a rental premium on shelf space that is closer to the entry, exit or tills can deploy beacons to funnel customers to their displays which may not be within line of sight. For suppliers to large stores, this may prove useful in the event the store format is changed.
The challenge toward wide scale adoption on the consumer level still exists. Foot traffic must be converted to mobile app installs at every opportunity if the value on return is to be realized. Smaller retail outlets within larger “consumption ecosystems” such as malls, that carry only a brand or two may not see value in an independent deployment of the technology, but a banding together with other outlets not in direct competition to both seed and share an audience is a way to reduce the total cost of ownership and also grow the install base.
The possibilities opened up by beacons proximity and context technology are only limited by ones imagination. From optimizing widow displays, offering time bound discounts, opening up warehoused inventory, making product information more readily available for the discerning consumer to cross selling of complementary products or services.
Beacons deliver context and relevance making for an activated consumer who is then in a better frame of mind to purchase, resulting in a higher value basket at the till or at the very least triggers a future purchase decision.