Rise of the iBeacons
Digital marketing is fast becoming marketers ‘go to’ in bridging the gap in omnichannel retailing. With that being said, creating a strategy that incorporates mobile devices with the in-store experience has proven quite a challenge. The competitiveness of the retail environment necessitates not only an in depth understanding of shoppers, but also a frictionless integration of digital interfaces and conversation between consumers and brands. This is critical not just before the point of consumption or after it, but at all points throughout the shopper journey.
These days, the majority of shoppers carry a smartphone of some sorts, be it to check prices, health and nutrition advice or just to communicate with friends while on the move. Whatever the reason, the fact that they are using these devices in store presents retailers with an unrivalled opportunity for communication and engagement. All in all, an enhanced in-store experience leads to greater customer loyalty and, ultimately, a bigger basket at the point of checkout.
It is becoming clear that by combining customer data gathered both online and in store, retailers can deliver an experience for customers based on an exchange of information and enabled by new technologies and applications, including the iBeacon.
These in-store beacons utilise proven Bluetooth Low Energy technology to send any number of messages to mobile devices as they come into range. This technology allows shoppers to be presented with simple calls to action or branded content. As such, communication is facilitated between consumers and brands and companies are able to offer unique discounts and promotions to users.
Furthermore, beacons allow brands to measure the effectiveness of specific parts of their marketing strategy, facilitating a direct link to be drawn between a shopper viewing a promotion and making a subsequent purchase.
iBeacons offer a seamless and integrated omnichannel experience, solving problems people having been trying to resolve for years. Traditionally these problems were dealt with using near field technologies such as QR codes, however the friction in transactions of this type is often highlighted.
With the coming of the new era of “proximity vs location”, it has become clear that brands are increasingly aware of the importance of staying in the ‘mindset of customers’. Part of the answer is thought to be mobile apps, and iBeacons in particular, but the real challenge is figuring out the optimal timing and frequency of promotional messages and advertisements. Consumers do not want to be bombarded with information, and it is entirely possible that overexposure in the future may lead to the formation of new ad avoidance strategies by customers.
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