As customers are gradually carrying out more shopping-related activities online, information is being gathered in the cloud more than ever before. While it’s mostly online retailers that are exploiting this, the brick-and-mortar stores are not far behind. Owners of brick-and-mortar stores are also becoming skilled in modern technology so as to win back the sales they have been losing to e-commerce.
Aside from using old-fashioned marketing tactics both online and offline, the offline retailers are also exploiting GPS-enabled technologies such as geotargeting, geofencing and beacons, which give customers what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.
Targeting customers based on timing and location
Advanced location-based marketing technologies allow offline retailers to go deeper into customers’ psychology and allow them to earn customer loyalty by influencing that sweet spot in them. So far, the rate of adoption among retailers has been slow, but with the emergence of m-commerce, a big surge is projected in their acceptance.
Geotargeting permits businesses to send personalized message to customers in a particular geographic area. It is vital to consider that individuals from different locations can have very different needs and interests. For instance, a sportswear shop in Manchester, England, can tailor its daily offering and online promotions better if they find out where the majority of the United and City fans reside. Online retailers and huge offline retailers with outlets in several places are already considering this technology for customer targeting.
Using this technology, offline retailers can fix a virtual perimeter around their physical stores, so when opt-in customers (or those who have set up the store’s app on their mobile device) enter the area, a message is triggered to their device about the shop’s offers and other relevant data. For example, before you walk into your favourite coffee shop, you would receive a message greeting you and informing you of the special offers of the day.
Beacons are low-energy Bluetooth devices that retailers can install in their shops to target customers with very high accuracy. It targets micro-locations, such as the store entrance and exit, and can even target aisle-by-aisle locations.
Beacons, which work with apps installed on the shopper’s tablet, smartphone or smart watch, trigger particular messages or actions when the shopper walks by a specific micro-location in the store. For example, walking by a specific product would activate a push notification about the offers available for that product. Also, as a shopper strolls out of the store, payment can be automatically made, using a pre-selected payment channel.
These advanced technologies are undoubtedly taking mobile marketing to a new level. By getting rid of friction from customer interaction, they allow store owners to provide customers with a significantly personalized shopping experience.
Although these technologies pose potential challenges – such as battery drainage, lack of data, annoyance, and specific app requirements – despite these difficulties, the prospects appear hopeful.
After all, there isn’t anything more desirable for customers than knowing about all interesting offers without having to search for them in the store. In fact, one study found that approximately 70% of users find these location-based push notifications useful. The technologies also double application usage, giving retailers extra time to engage their customers.
By: Arturo Bustillos