Beacon revolutionizing the world of retail shopping
What is Beacon?
Beacon is a new technology created to enhance location-based services for mobile devices. It was created with an objective to enable your phone to receive signals from Beacons in the close proximity and react accordingly.
Understanding the Beacon technology
A Beacon is like a business lighthouse that emits signals to nearby smartphones and other mobile devices. Mobile users can use this signal as a navigational aid for their shopping experience.
Beacon follows Bluetooth Low-energy specifications which are embedded in most smart devices. It transmits small packet of data to alert the receiver. From business point of view, they can advertise their items to a unique identifier. It’s a proximity-based (how near you are to the Beacon) and not location-based, which is what GPS technology does. (GPS technology is great for finding location but not for proximity.) Moreover, Beacons are cheaper than Bluetooth technology, since it consumes less battery.
How Beacon is transforming retail shopping?
Traditional retail environment saw a decline of foot traffic by 50% from 2010 to 2013. Clearly, they were losing out to online commerce and this was affecting traditional retail environment. In simple words – decrease in offline sales and increase in digital sales.
How can offline retailers accelerate their sales in such a scenario? They must focus on:
- Enabling destination and experience-based shopping for customers through Omni channel
- And be present across all physical and digital channels by integrating them
Beacon connects the physical world to the digital world; the device can identify the location and proximity of accessible shoppers through their smart gadgets. Retailers can digitally streamline existing in-store information and deliver context-based messages. They can carry out relevant marketing tactics to influence users’ decisions based on their precise proximity to products in the real world.
With the proximity-based marketing, retailers can even greet customers when they are near to the store. They can send push notifications on latest product arrivals, ongoing sales and discount and upsell products. As soon as a customer enters inside a Beacon-enabled store, retailers can start streaming special highlights that would be worth buying for the customer.
Why Beacon is becoming more mainstream for retail business?
Low-cost technology: Retailers can set up Beacon transmitters transmitting signal up to a radius of 500 feet without using network bandwidth. Beacon uses cheap wireless sensors and consumes less battery. It is a low-cost technology for the retailers, but with great selling advantages.
More energy saving: Many companies are coming up with LED lights that can relay information to smartphones. It saves dual costs, both on energy bills and eliminating the need to buy stand-alone Beacon, since the LED lights have Bluetooth Low Energy technology for Beacon functionality.
Sharper business analytics: Retailers always need real-time information of what the customers are doing in their store, which product customers are looking at and how long they are looking at it. Since Beacon helps in finding the micro-location of a customer, retailers can customize their marketing offers and deals to make more sales.
Relevant marketing punch: The most important rule of marketing is to understand the buyer persona. With Beacon, retailers can measure in-store shopping behavior of their customers more effectively. This enables the retailer to craft just-in-time marketing campaigns for a targeted buyer. In marketing words – delivering content as per the context.
Better shopping experience: The biggest advantage of Beacon is that it gives customers a better shopping experience. By using Beacon retailers can provide richer and more personalized experiences to the customer. For example, a customer can be guided towards a section where he/she can find better deals and discounts for a particular product he/she is looking for in a store. This improves the overall shopping experience of a customer driving more sales.
Mobile platforms will play a key role in transforming retail business in the coming years. More and more players are going to push mobile technologies and platforms to help the customers in their buying journey.
Many retailers have jumped on the Beacon bandwagon and the trend is gaining momentum. They integrate Beacon into their apps, reaching out to more context customers based on the location. Beacon as a technology has already generated a sale of $4.1 Billion in 2015. As per BI Intelligence report, a staggering $44.4 Billion retail sales is going to be induced by Beacon-triggered messages in the coming year.
Beacon is going to play an even more transformative role for retailers in the near future.
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