With the rise of mobile and e-commerce, the challenge facing retailers today is how to drive consumers to their brick & mortar stores. In the past couple of years, retail giants have reduced physical store locations due to decline in sales. Asif Khan, President of Location Based Marketing Association, puts it well when he said, “‘Retail is struggling and I think the way you fix retail is by creating experiences in a physical store environment that you can’t replicate without being in the store”
The challenge today is how to reach the target customer with a relevant message at the right time and place. Fortunately, technology provides us with solutions that may give retailers the power to do so.
Enter the Beacon
The Beacon was first introduced in 2013, but it is only in 2015 when retailers began to integrate this technology to their stores. Beacons are sensors that allow customized notifications to be sent in a small, concentrated area of detection to devices that support Bluetooth Low Energy. It’s already widely used in America, Australia and New Zealand. Large chains such as Macy’s, Carrefour, Woolworths, Target, Urban Outfitters, Neiman Marcus, among many others have installed beacons in their stores in order to engage their customers throughout their shopping journey.
More than hyper proximity engagement and customized notifications, beacons have the capacity to collect data of in-store browsing & purchase, make personalized offers through coupons and discounts and hasten checkout processes. In the long run, Beacons serve as a tool to deepen the brands’ relationship with their customers and show them that shopping in an actual store can still be quite an experience.
Exciting times are ahead for retailers here in the Philippines with the introduction of Beacons locally. With majority of the population glued to their devices (72% of which use applications) and how Filipinos look for good deals and appreciate value for money, the success of beacons become even more feasible.
Moreover, Ayala Malls is the first developer to install the sensors in their premises and only time will tell how the technology enhances their marketing efforts.
These days, brands going digital have gone beyond creating websites, social media accounts, and providing free WiFi to their customers. With the Beacon technology, a seamless and relevant customer experience is created unique to a person’s location and preference. When brands tie this technology to their promotions and advertisements, there are endless possibilities in reviving the interest to go back to in-store shopping.