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Beacon Technology in Retail: What You Need to Know

Beacon Technology in Retail: What You Need to Know
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    Imagine walking into a clothing store and discovering a pair of jeans you like is for sale. When you look down at your phone, a product notification just pops up, in which you are shocked to find that this pair of Levis jeans enjoy a 30% discount at the moment. More and more of this convenient and personalized indoor shopping experience is associated with our smartphones, and astonishingly, about 80% of shoppers are using their smartphones to consider a purchasing decision. As retailers and start-ups have noticed this, the concept of proximity marketing has emerged. While the evolving technological advances have brought more opportunities for businesses, beacon technology in retail takes mobile location analytics to a whole new level.

    What is beacon technology marketing

    Beacon technology marketing, widely known as Bluetooth proximity marketing, is the localized wireless distribution of promotional content to mobile users based on a specific location and time using proximity beacons. Smart in-store beacons are able to detect where the customers are, and easily perform online operations by interacting with mobile devices to enhance the offline shopping experience.

    Once hailed as the ‘holy grail of marketing’, beacon technology has proven to sustain retailers to some extent. Potential customers with the necessary devices such as smartphones and tablets are enabled to choose to receive these transmissions, which can be precise enough to target shoppers standing in front of a particular product, offering coupons, lightning sales and recommendations for related products, among many other possibilities.

    Why choose proximity beacon technology in retail

    Bluetooth proximity marketing is a type of proximity marketing that uses beacon technology to achieve communication between retailers and customers. It has reached a high level of popularity among retailers seeking to push high-personalized ads to target shoppers and improve their shopping experience. Here are some reasons why retailers choose Bluetooth proximity beacons in proximity marketing.

    • Bluetooth has grown tremendously in popularity, and it has become one of the standard hardware configurations of mobile phones.
    • Beacon transmission charges no money and there’s no need to pay for communication operators.
    • Bluetooth transmission is wireless and can cover a certain area and crowds, which is flexible and convenient.
    • Various types of files can be transferred via Bluetooth, including text, pictures, audio, animations, videos, software, etc.

    How beacon technology in retail works

    Beacon technology marketing solution consists of a setup in which BLE beacons are adopted to send information to Bluetooth-enabled devices. To be precise, BLE beacons, as short-range location devices, play an important role in helping brands interact with customers through their smart mobile devices. Personalized promotional notifications are sent to customers when they enter a store using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. Here’s a detailed illustration of how Bluetooth proximity marketing works.

    1. Proximity beacons are deployed at a specific promotional spot.
    2. These beacons broadcast BLE signals within their Bluetooth range, and Consumers’ smart devices detect the BLE signals when they are within the range of the Beacon.
    3. Mobile app which is beacon enabled on the phone then transmitted these ID numbers and characters of the BLE signals to the cloud server.
    4. The cloud server will check the ID number and respond accordingly, telling the app to perform an action.
    5. The app formats the information for the customer.
    6. The customer receives the targeted and personalized messages.

    How beacon technology in retail works

    It’s worth noticing that Beacon communication is a one-way street, which means that they can only send information to mobile devices rather than receive signals back from them. Of course, users are available to turn off these notifications, but most people with shopping ideas prefer to receive these personalized offers, product information and downloadable vouchers. This ensures a unique and quality shopping experience.

    What are the benefits of using beacon technology in retail

    Both retailers and customers can get a wealth of benefits from the implementation of beacon proximity marketing solutions. Not only does it bridge the gap between offline and online marketing, but it also gains a competitive edge over other offline promotional campaigns. You may soon be drawn to execute a Bluetooth marketing campaign. Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of proximity marketing with beacons.

    Helping customers finding ways and items

    Department stores are often large and complex spaces that are overwhelming. You may feel depressed when you cannot find the items on your shopping list after a long-time aimless searching. Luckily, beacon technology offers indoor shopping map that makes your indoor shopping experience easier and more fun. Besides, you can also check where your desired items are located in store, as well as how far away you’re from them.

    Helping customers finding ways and items

    Enhancing customer engagement

    Getting customers more involved in the purchasing experience is one of the most important ways to ensure business success. Bluetooth retail marketing makes it easier for customers to learn more about the brand and its promotional campaigns. The more engaged customers are, the better their shopping experience will be. By establishing a connection between retailers and customers, customers will perceive the interaction as a meaningful activity, thus improving customer loyalty.

    Enhancing customer engagement

    Additional advertising method

    Beacon marketing provides customers with an interactive environment that not only helps users engage and retain them but also advertise your brand development. Brand development and customer shopping experience complement each other. If the shopper cannot connect to your brand, your brand won’t thrive as much as you want it to. As beacons continue to transmit signals to the target audience, it is expected to boost customer reception of brand development and marketing initiatives.

    Providing a highly personalized experience

    Personalization is the foundation of an awesome shopping experience. Mobile proximity marketing helps send hyper-personalized communications to customers who can use their mobile devices to get the content they want from the comfortable couch. Most people prefer to receive personalized content because they are taken seriously by retailers and their shopping experience is significantly improved. Once they discover more value in your business, they are more likely to make a second or multiple consumptions. Higher content can be crucial to driving higher engagement rates.

    Providing a highly personalized experience - Beacon Technology in Retail

    Getting higher conversions rates

    Comparing to the other outbound marketing technologies, going for Bluetooth retail marketing is a good option as it has been proven to have higher conversion rates. With precise location-based communication, smart beacons push enticing notifications at the perfect time, such as big discounts, buy one get one free, and other promotions. In this case, the target customers are most likely to purchase from your store, which helps achieve higher conversion goals.

    Increasing customer data granularity

    Bluetooth marketing generates copious amounts of data, enabling retailers to better access and analyze customer behaviors. By establishing data inventories, retailers using beacon technology can find out what exactly drives potential individuals to make purchase decisions and where they are likely to download coupons. These customer insights are critical to every stage of the shopping experience and enable retailers to devise future strategies accordingly.

    Increasing customer data granularity - Beacon Technology in Retail

    Challenges surrounding beacon proximity marketing

    Currently, there are an estimated 5.32 billion mobile phone users worldwide, and this number is still on the rise. It is clear that the applications of Bluetooth technology will have a promising future. However, despite the many benefits of beacon technology in retail marketing, there are still some limitations that we cannot ignore.

    Most people don’t form a habit of turning on Bluetooth

    Almost all mobile phones are equipped with Bluetooth, but only a very small number of users take the use of Bluetooth as a habit. Except for some people who use accessories such as Bluetooth headsets, almost no one will turn Bluetooth on all day long, because it will consume unnecessary battery capacity. Therefore, if retailers want to spread product information through Bluetooth, an important premise is that the customer’s mobile phone has the Bluetooth turned on and can agree to receive external information.

    Limitations of Bluetooth transmission
    One of the obvious drawbacks of Bluetooth information transmission lies in its signal, anything obstruction such as building walls and office equipment may cause a transmission failure. The coverage distance of Bluetooth can also have an impact on marketing efficiency. How to set up Bluetooth devices according to the building landscape and customer behavior habits will be the key link to determining the results of Bluetooth beacon advertising.

    Bluetooth data security concerns

    Needless to say, Bluetooth brings great convenience to our file transfer and information exchange, but at the same time, this convenience may be exploited by someone with ulterior motives. Hostile intruders can easily obtain all the information and data in the mobile phone through the Bluetooth vulnerability, and even send malicious viruses to fully control the mobile phone. To a certain extent, Bluetooth, as an open short-distance communication technology, creates the most comfortable hotbed for the spread of the virus.

    A look into the future of proximity beacons in retail

    With the sudden attack of the COVID-19 pandemic, retail stores have had to close their doors. While most stores are starting to reopen for now, they should adjust their strategies to embrace the changing world. Beacon technology is crucial to capture the attention of potential customers and provide them with a seamless, safe and cross channel shopping experience.

    As long as customers are shopping offline, it’s promising that beacon technology will have a bright future. Aside from offering coupons, finding ways, enabling personalized shopping experience, there is no doubt that the future of retail will embrace more technological innovations to get more connected.

    Why choose MOKOBlue proximity marketing beacons

    As we have discussed above, Bluetooth proximity marketing makes it possible to improve retailer operations and the overall shopping experience. If you are probably wondering about deploying proximity marketing beacons in your business, feel free to get in touch with one of our Bluetooth experts. MOKOBlue is a leading Bluetooth marketing device supplier in the world, and we can customize Bluetooth hardware orders in bulk according to your specific needs.

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