Service • 27.04.2017

EuroShop interactive: Successful use of GPS and beacons

The retail industry is more mobile than ever before. That was also evident during this year’s EuroShop: 12,000 visitors took advantage of the current EuroShop app

It allowed them to use location-based services, which not only genuinely benefitted them but also the exhibitors.

Together with the two companies bitplaces and Osram, Messe (Trade Fair) Düsseldorf provided a broad spectrum of information with the help of location-based services at EuroShop 2017. App users received notifications via geofencing using GPS coordinates. It simplified the trip to the exhibition center from the airport or train station by providing information on shuttle bus services and trains. Parking structures like the nearby Stockumer Kirchstraße and the outer exhibition grounds were also equipped with these capabilities.

Bluetooth-based beacons were used within the exhibition halls. This included 80 battery-operated beacons as well as the first-time use of the new Osram EINSTONE technology. The beacons are directly integrated into the light sources in this case. Forty of these installations were embedded in the entrances, in Halls 9 and 10 (Dimension Lighting) and at the booths of those exhibitors who had booked this service through various extensive packages with Messe Düsseldorf prior to the event.

“The participating exhibitors were given instructions on how many messages they were allowed to play. They were able to prepare texts, videos, images and web links, which we subsequently set up in our system and scheduled to send“, explains Dr. Behrend Freese, Managing Director of bitplaces, who was in charge of dispatching and assessing the messages.

What makes the beacons so appealing is not only the real-time communication factor but also the chance to evaluate the collected data after the trade fair is over. This was an included feature in the three different beacon packages for exhibiting companies. The Premium Package also included the option of sending a broadcast, that being a message to all app users.

Freese explains, “The use of beacons at a major trade fair like the EuroShop requires great coordination to ensure that the signals don’t overlap. Together with Osram, we strategically planned this based on the floor plan. We needed four weeks to prepare the installations“.

The D:vis information points of Messe Düsseldorf have been equipped with...
The D:vis information points of Messe Düsseldorf have been equipped with beacons during EuroShop
Source: Messe Düsseldorf

Amazed exhibitors

The persons in charge are very pleased with the success of the project. “We received very positive feedback from participating exhibitors“, says Dr. Christoph Peitz, Director Smart Positioning Solutions at Osram. He explains, “The fact that visitors were attracted by a beacon message and actually came to the booths using their smartphones and even smartwatches made exhibitors confident about the benefits of this campaign. Twenty companies utilized the service. That is a big number for a pilot project“, he adds. 

Oliver Leheis, Senior Marketing Manager of Messe Düsseldorf and primarily responsible for the LBS installations agrees and adds, “The exhibitors have recognized the possibilities of this service and used it to benefit their booth performance. EuroShop provided the perfect platform for this. We sent out 170,000 messages, of which 66 percent were received by app users. That is a great result! During a major event like the EuroShop, there is always the chance of a network bottleneck in areas where a large number of people come together. But that’s a normal occurrence in a real-time system“. To further optimize the service in the future, Leheis wants to make the messages of LBS even more offline compatible.

Dr. Freese adds, “I believe Messe Düsseldorf is on the right track. After all, trade fairs are becoming increasingly digitized and the mobile share is gaining significance. So far, LBS services were simply used for communication and marketing purposes to draw visitors to a booth. However, they can also be utilized to accomplish so much more in the future – to automatically scan visitor contacts, for example. After all, a significant amount of time and effort is spent on capturing leads, which was previously done using business cards. This provides huge potential. The more modern mobile devices become, the more reliable beacon services will be in the future“. 

There were also visitors who were using smart watches during the fair and got...
There were also visitors who were using smart watches during the fair and got attracted to the exhibitors stands by beacon messages
Source: panthermedia.net/Leung Cho Pan

Einstone: Proven benefits for brick-and-mortar retailers

Oliver Leheis describes the objective of location-based services. “We want to interactively deliver relevant information to visitors. For the first time ever, this year users were able to use the app to manage the topics by selecting interesting areas from Seven Dimensions. Visitors subsequently received relevant messages near exhibitors who covered this Dimension“. The use of beacon technologies and the Einstone technology, in particular, was intended to fulfill another very practical aspect that goes beyond the benefit of communication during the EuroShop trade fair: it was meant to show how location-based services can be utilized in the brick-and-mortar retail sector.

In retail industry beacon solutions can bring additional services for customers...
In retail industry beacon solutions can bring additional services for customers and retailers
Source: Osram

During the EuroShop, Osram and the Bollag-Guggenheim AG were joint winners of the retail technology awards europe (reta) by the EHI Retail Institute and were distinguished for the “Best In-Store Solution“. The Swiss retailer was able to achieve higher revenues on its sales floors thanks to the use of retail analytics and Einstone.

Dr. Peitz describes how Einstone works. “When customers enter the brick-and-mortar stores, they are rewarded with customized welcome messages and sales offers via a digital loyalty card, the smartphone app. This process is supported by Einstone. Bollag-Guggenheim benefits from the low-maintenance beacon infrastructure and comprehensive information on the buying patterns of its customers“.

In addition to the mobile application, Osram’s software partner beaconsmind also supplied web-based data management and a marketing suite solution. By linking the existing POS/CRM systems, Bollag-Guggenheim is able to clearly and transparently manage the data from all sales channels.

The bridge has been built

Using the EuroShop trade fair to utilize the latest technologies not just for trade fair events but to also include the world of retailing seems to be a great step towards the future. After all, trade fair participants, retailers, and customers obviously really like the new services.

Author: Natascha Mörs; First published at EuroShop.de

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