Company News • 16.04.2015

Beacon technology attractive for retailers

Helping retailers to recognise and understand their best customers

Beacon technology attractive for retailers
Source: Vista Retail Support

Beacons are a type of a low-cost, micro-location-based technology that use Bluetooth for communicating with beacon enabled devices.

This technology has enormous potential to enhance the shopping experience, making it quicker and easier for customers to access the information and products they are looking for, or provide special offers or discounts. It can also provide retailers with invaluable data about their customers’ shopping habits to make improvement across all channels will benefit both customer and retailer.

A UK retailer introduced beacon-equipped mannequins in its stores last year to provide customers with a more engaging retail experience.

When a customer with an enabled smartphone app is within 50 metres of the mannequin, the beacon sends information about the clothes and accessories on the mannequin such as, price, where the items can be found within the store and links to purchase the items directly from the website.

One of the several reasons why beacon technology is proving attractive for retailers is the potential beyond the store. The mannequins are helping to boost engagement with customers who are already inside, but beacons could help get customers through the door.

A beacon in a window display could be used to send promotional information to people as they pass. They could be placed in bus stops, street adverts or tube stations to direct customers towards a specific store.

Beacons can also help a retailer recognise and understand its best customers, allowing them to send appropriate rewards; increasing loyalty and building a stronger relationship. They can be used to track how many times a customer visits a shop, which departments they spend most of their time and so much more. The technology also has the potential to let a retailer know when its most profitable online customers are present so staff can recognise and treat them accordingly.

The main barrier to the potential success of beacon technology is the fact that customers have to voluntarily download and install a smartphone app for it to work. Most retailer apps are likely to be unique and while customers may be happy to download an app for a couple of retailers, they might not want to download an app for every shop they visit.

While the introduction of beacon technology poses various challenges, if retailers offer a genuinely beneficial and relevant experience to customers, they will benefit from enhanced engagement and greater insight into in-store footfall and customer.

Source: Vista Retail Support

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