By Lisa Cramer, InReality
Beacons. Last year they dominated the media waves. This year they will start to dominate the store, driving loyalty and sales. Why? As customers enter stores, smartphone in hand, beacons offer a low-cost solution to sending messages or prompts to these mobile devices, giving retailers and brands an irresistible opportunity—the ability to influence consumers and their path to purchase.
In fact, according to Business Insider, beacon-triggered messages could directly influence up to $4.1B of the total U.S. store sales this year, with that figure growing to $44.1B in 2016 (percent of total U.S., store sales). And, with shopping apps increasing more than any other mobile app category at an rate of 174 percent in 2014 (Flurry), the foundation for successful beacon implementations has been laid.
So how can you use beacons to increase sales and customer retention this year? Here are 3 ways:
1) Enhance Success of Promotions/Coupons
Over the years, coupons have had a tremendous influence on overall sales volumes. In 2013, coupons drove $510B in retail sales. And, while these were coupons of all types, mobile coupons in particular have become the largest segment of the coupon market influencing sales volume.
So how can beacons help? As a customer approaches a certain product or even as they approach a store, the beacon can wake up the mobile app and present a personalized coupon for that specific product or for some in-store promotion. Additionally, if tied to shopping cart technology, a consumer can be presented a coupon when approaching a product in-store which they might have abandoned while shopping online (also creating that omni-channel experience).
2) Enhance Loyalty Programs
Beacons can also help to increase the value of loyalty programs. Through special offers and product insights only available to loyalty members, beacons will enhance the success and stickiness of these programs. And with loyalty, in theory, comes customer retention and even customer advocacy, The jury is still out on how much loyalty programs really affect customer retention, but the more beacons can increase the usage and improve the experience of loyalty programs with brands and retailers, the more likely the customer will stay loyal.
3) Implement Proximity Marketing
Proximity marketing refers to the ability to send marketing messages/advertising to consumers based on their location in-store or proximity to a product or department, made possible through beacons. The more specific a marketing message is to an individual (personalized), the more effective it is. According to JiWire, 57 percent of customers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising. Macy’s is one example of a retailer already using beacons to send personalized deals, recommendations and rewards to customers based on proximity marketing.
In 2014 we heard a lot about beacons and their retail potential. But, 2015 appears to be the year beacons will start to make an impact in retail. According to Swirl Networks, nearly 75 percent of customers who received beacon-triggered messages said it increased their likelihood of purchasing in store. And in the same study, it was also found that 61 percent of customers who received beacon-triggered messages said they would visit the store more often. The reality is, the use of beacons has already proven to increase both sales and customer retention, and retailers and brands alike will soon start their deployments. Is it time to figure out your approach?
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