on December 18, 2019 Retail Insights

Beacon Technology - A valuable tool in Retail Marketing

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Bluetooth Beacons have been around for a number of years now. However, their potential is only recently being recognized as a valuable tool in Retail Marketing.

A couple of decades ago a few industry organizations set out to quantify the effectiveness of point-of-sale and promotional fixtures. The primary hurdle was executional compliance. Did the display or fixture get to its intended destination? Once there, how effective was it driving incremental sales? Also, how long did it remain deployed? The effort to measure these factors included clunky equipment that needed to be installed in-store with power sources required on the fixtures themselves as well as elsewhere in the store. Data collection was retrievable but not in ‘real time’ and none of this was realistically scalable. The eventual result was sample sizes were relatively small and generalizations were required to arrive at any plausible conclusions.

Fast forward to present day technology and lifestyles and what seemed daunting at the turn of the millennium is easily achieved now. We now have small battery powered Bluetooth enabled beacons that can be attached to the display or fixture long before it arrives at the store, can last as long as five years and does not require any additional equipment in store or a power source.


How it works?Beacon Image2

A beacon is attached and activated prior to the display being deployed. These can be as small as a silver dollar (for 12- 18 months of activity) or possibly somewhat larger for extended battery life (3 to 5 years). Each beacon is unique and can be identified by its serial number. They send out a Bluetooth signal that can be detected on a cellular device through embedded proprietary software on common apps. Research suggests that over 70% of all mobile devices have Bluetooth switched on at all times. So, there is no limit to the number of active beacons in the field or the number of detections with all of the relevant data collected on a cloud based, customizable dashboard.

The applicUntitled-222able possibilities beacons offer is wide ranging.

Asset Tracking: This is the simplest application of beacons. Retail compliance and execution are key to understanding the effectiveness of a display or fixture. In most cases, less than 70% of the equipment actually makes it to the intended retail location. Meaning the capital investment is severely undermined and the effectiveness of a campaign or promotion is diminished.

From the moment the beacon is attached to the display or fixture and activated, the exact location of that equipment is available. When it is in a warehouse, on a truck or on the back dock at a retail location, the beacon will only be detected sporadically at best. Once it is deployed to the retail floor, the number of detections should increase significantly = Proof of Placement. If over the course of time the detections should decrease or stop all together, one can conclude that the equipment has been moved or discarded. Alerts can be set up on the dashboard to look for this. This geo-tracking also allows a brand marketer and/or retailer to determine the optimal location for placement. Front of store, back of store, or strategically in a specific aisle, the number of activations and in store sales data can lead to future considerations.
Dwell-Time: How long is a potential consumer spending near your display or fixture? Again, this data can be recorded in real time and collected on the dashboard. Does extended dwell-time indicate heightened interest or product offering. Or on the flip-side is your promotional message lacking
resonance?

Push Notifications: A customer is near the display and they get a notification on their cellular device alerting them to a special offering. Or an idea that may drive the purchase of that product and another in the same aisle or store - looking at a corn chip display one may get a recipe for chili or nachos. This can also drive loyalty programs, event marketing, and contests. 

Spectas creates and executes branded experiences, retail activations and fixture programs for global brands.

Brands and retailers must continue to evolve in providing consumers with an engaging, value-oriented shopping experience. Clients tell us we deliver unparalleled agility in meeting their diverse needs while consistently providing innovative solutions that unlock possibilities to emerging retail challenges.

Our tagline is ‘Made to be Seen’. What we make for our customers, brands and retailers, is made to be noticed by the consumer. Their intended purpose can vary. They may offer incremental placement of productor they may educate the consumer about the product or brand. In some cases, they may be interactive encouraging product trial and comparison, but none of these can achieve their potential if they are not properly placed at retail. With Beacon Technology, that problem can be eliminated and make a given display or fixture infinitely more effective.

Chris Bull

Chris Bull is currently a Principal and the President at Spectas. As a Business Development Professional, Executive Leader and Owner in Retail Marketing, Chris has had the privilege of working with and for some of the most iconic brands and retailers in the world.