Tips and Tricks to get the best out of beacons
WHAT AFTER SETTING BEACONS IN STORES?
The beacon experiments in the retail in the past two years and the reports on its successful stories have made beacons one of the most promising marketing technologies, predicted to yield a steady growth rate in the coming years. However, with this hype around beacons, there are now an increasing chance for ignorance and carelessness in matters of proper implementation and thus failure in extracting the most out of this ‘wonder doing’ technology. Now, the beacons are deployed and it’s all set; but here are few things a retailer should never miss to acknowledge.
- Roll out beacons through adequate planning and testing: No magic works without rigorous planning and testing, and this goes well in the case of beacons too. Beacons have proved best when implemented in a studied manner. Rolling out beacons across one’s entire retail operation is one the biggest mistakes retailers make when implementing beacons. Doing a pilot test in a selected outlet trying to get out the most from the customer feedbacks can help to leverage beacons in the most effective ways and best use-cases. All of the U.S retail giants that implemented beacons in the last two years have adopted a studied beacon implementation still experimenting with diverse and new use-cases for yielding the best results from beacons.
- Provide your staffs wanted training: The success of beacons in-store relies not merely on gadgets, and beacons doesn’t simply rule out the importance of face-to-face engagements with the customers. Training staffs in handling the beacon software and technology and equally in dealing with a ‘beacon-powered’ customer is vital to drawing out best results from beacon implementation. The Retail Category Consultants (RCC) team sharing their experience about inadequate staff knowledge recommends retailers to train all sales associates, not merely on the technological aspects of beacons, but also on engaging with customer queries and concerns. Employees should be skilled in how to make most out of beacons and to interpret the beacon data and to act upon it. For instance, the in-store staffs being notified through beacons about the entry of a particular customer should be able to pull up the customer’s shopping history and draw a picture from it to approach the customer in the most appealing way.
- Integrate beacons with other marketing solutions: Beacons need not simply lay desolate other marketing systems or solutions that are already used in-store. Integrating beacons with already running systems can extract the best out of both. Most of the leading retailers are employing beacons along with other marketing solutions, using the data produced out of both in a complimentary manner.
- Provide a seamless beacon experience through Omni-channeling: The most looked upon feature of beacons is the possibilities it holds to provide the customers with a seamless Omni-channel shopping experience. However, some retailers still miss the point. Beacons integrated with other solutions can be implemented most effectively by leveraging it as a medium to connect the online and the offline and the entire retail operation. From a retailer point of view, this makes the retailer better informed about a customer’s shopping history, now, with more data that can be used to target the customer in-store.
- Experiment with diverse beacon use-cases: One of the gravest mistakes that retailers make is to be too conventional and less innovative about their beacon enabled stores. Hopefully 2016, is beaming with talks on diverse and different beacon use-cases in retail. Beacons can indeed go beyond personalized sales marketing to engage with the shoppers from all sides in interesting ways. The point is to shift the center of the beacon-enabled stores from the retailer to the customer.
How can beacons serve the customers and retailers better?
- Rather than merely notifying about offers and promotions, beacon can be leveraged as a customer service system. The U.K based retailer Tesco, when they piloted the technology for click-and collect service for shoppers notified the customers when their orders are ready thus helping them to make better use of their waiting time.
- Beacons can be used for store navigation through personalized messages in accordance with the current location of the customer. Customers can be directed with ease to the products that are sought for.
- Beacons can be made part of fun and entertainment as well. Neiman Marcus last year adopted the strategy of implementing beacons focusing on in-store events. This fashion retailer is notifying their customers about events in store where they can learn fashion tips, clothing care etc and garnering more customer participation and engagement in these events. Customer’s healthy participation in such events can positively affect his/her shopping practices.
- With skilled employees, beacons can also be used to study customer behavior in-store that can help to plan better store lay-out and associate management technique. Apple has disclosed that it is using the data from their in-store beacons to study customer behavior.
- Target, a retail outlet that came to beacon scene only in 2015, is using beacons to help customers to sort out their shopping list as they move around the store. Also, shoppers at Target can ask for assistance directly through their smart phones, with beacons relaying the location of the customer to an associate of the store. Sales assistance can now approach, studying the customer’s shopping history.
- Retailers can also target loyal customers with the help of beacons and provide special assistance and offers. Loyal customers of the store can now be easily dealt with distinguishing them from other customers.
Beacon implementation in not merely about having the beacons at your stores but is more about effectively leveraging it with relevant and innovative marketing strategies.