Battling eCommerce Goliaths for Sales? Put Some Beacons in Your Sling
Encroachment by Amazon and other eCommerce giants has thrust brick-and-mortar retailers into a fight for their lives. The smart ones are battling back by upping the quality of their service and support. Others are taking steps to personalize or improve the in-store experience, including the installation of wireless Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons.
A Form of Location-Based Marketing
Beacons are battery-powered, hockey-puck-sized devices that attach to a wall or countertop to detect a shopper’s proximity and send out targeted messages such as promotional offers or wayfinding instructions. Beacons have a limited range, don’t contain any data or connect to the internet, and users can choose to engage with—or ignore—the information.
With e-competition increasing and the cost of entry dropping, small businesses may want to use beacons in the following ways:
• Greetings. Position the devices near the front door to welcome shoppers and present them with a special offer immediately upon arrival.
• Online links. Beacon messaging with links could encourage shoppers to “tap-to-like” on Facebook, post photos to Instagram or connect with a company or manufacturer microsite.
• Customer service. Tap-to-text functionality can also be built into beacons, enabling customers to instantly share questions or concerns with a manager or customer support rep.
• Loyalty rewards. Based on purchase behavior, merchants can use beacons to gift regular customers by increasing their loyalty-program points.
Adding beacons isn’t a slam dunk. They require a strategy, management and routine maintenance. Still, for the determined Davids of retail, finding new ways to improve the customer experience is one way to hold your ground and punch back at the big guys.