Being smart with data in retail needn’t be a costly, laborious process, and technology is delivering new solutions for smarter customer engagement at a phenomenal rate. One such tool that I think has been overlooked so far is the use of iBeacons.
The iBeacon, like its similar rivals, is simply a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitter that can recognise smartphone users in its immediate area, and interact with them by waking them
up and serving them with targeted messages providing they have the brand’s app downloaded.
The good thing about iBeacons is that it moves the conversation from not just marketing but to customer experience. iBeacons should enrich the customer engagement, rather than just how they are sold to. This is a strong positive.
A simple use might be for a transmitter, located at the entrance of a fashion store, to alert their smartphone customers passing the store of a new season line via a push message.
Even as early-stage technology, iBeacons are a golden opportunity for retailers to target customers on a more personal level than ever before – not just as a high-tech billboard. They can now use individuals’ transactional information at that precise moment to impart the most relevant sales message at that particular time.
Thanks to the system’s ability to profile customers based on their transactional shopping and engagement habits at specific locations, sales messages can be targeted much more specifically. Towards different demographics – and even what products they are likely to be looking for – based on what aisle of a store they might be standing in and how often they visit. By combining a customer’s level of engagement and value, segmentation can be used in real-time to determine and push the customer’s next action.
It also provides an incentive for people to download retailers’ apps, offering a fantastic opportunity for highly detailed data collection. Monitoring which customers visit particular stores, how often, and mapping their favourite areas on the shop floor, enables a new level of market profiling for retailers to work towards.
For example, a regular customer who visits a store once a fortnight and usually spends £20 could be sent a tailored offer via iBeacon, that encourages them to stretch their spend to £30 on products they are known to like or often browse through in-store.
It is a relatively straight forward process but the retailer's challenge will be in building the capability to design, deliver and maintain the content for these enhanced apps.
Implementing iBeacons technology in a retail environment is the easy part. Having an engagement strategy on how to use them properly to deliver engaged customers and incremental profits is the tricky part. Are you engaged?