The Bluetooth Beacon market came into picture in the year 2013, when Apple introduced its iBeacon technology. Since its launch it is helping in transforming the shopping experience of masses. It was predicted that sales would increase by almost 9% and the return of investment would grow by 175%.
Though retailers are still finding ways to implement the same for promised results and growth. Let’s understand what Bluetooth beacons is all about and its impact on the retail sector.
What is a Bluetooth beacon?
A beacon is a kind of lighthouse that transmits signals which are received by compatible devices. Here the signal is in the form of a string of characters that form a message. Smart phones or any similar Bluetooth device receives this signal.
A beacon is an extremely hi-tech small and wireless device that is placed at multiple locations across the retail stores. A beacon work well even in low connectivity parts of the store as it is completely independent of the mobile network provider. Owing to its ability to work on low Bluetooth signals it is often termed as Bluetooth low energy (BLE) devices.
The Bluetooth beacon transmits signal which is detected by a nearby smart phone or any other similar Bluetooth device. The Bluetooth device signals with an id number to the smart device. The smart device then transmits the ID to a cloud server, which is verified for the action that is registered. Once verified by the cloud the message is received by the smart device. To explain it in similar terms let’s look at an example (ref. example 1), consider you are out shopping and cross a bag store, which currently is giving discounts on its products. Now this store uses Bluetooth beacons and owing to it when you are near the shop, your device will get an alert/notification of the offer/discount. This in-turn leads to a better customer experience for you and increases your customer engagement.
The Bluetooth beacon is a smart device which is very small and consists of sensor, transmitter and accelerometers, CPU, batteries. For the receiver to receive the signal, it should have an integrated app installed and should have the Bluetooth switched on. Bluetooth beacons work in accordance with proximity marketing media channels.
How Bluetooth Beacon and proximity marketing help retails grow?
Proximity marketing is an innovative solution that works on connectivity, and Internet of Things and Big data. Proximity marketing is a location based advertisement setup that delivers advertising content to smart devices with the help of Bluetooth beacons. Along with Bluetooth beacons the system works with inputs of proximity campaign management, and analytics.
The proximity campaign management is location based and helps in identifying target audience for the ad campaign to create personalized experience for shoppers. The campaign administrator gets information from the proximity campaign analytics which studies the customer data from the existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The difference here is that instead of random promotional messages, the system works on providing targeted messages to the target users with the help of Attribution.
Attribution is the link that tell the app to whom and what data is to be send and when it is to be send. It helps the program manager to understand the success of the campaign and re-plan accordingly. Here the applications or apps also play an important part. The team building the app ensure that the information captured is used effectively. It helps the system understand which part of the store you are currently in. Notification are received only if you have installed the app and have activated the location and push notifications. In continuation to the example 1 mentioned above, Last time you might had purchased a certain product, and today when you are in the store you would get notification on available offers that product or similar product.
In the current competitive market scenario, customer experience is keeping the brands ahead and compelling growth. Personalized promotional messages gives the edge to brands along with the fact that users are happy to share their personal information in exchange to get promotional messages. A recent study had indicated that almost 41% personalized promotional messages are opened and responded to.
Beacons are devices that empower store owners to provide better customer experience. Since, the launch of beacons the markets have been high with speculations about how it is going to impact the various industries. It is being used in Retail, Events, Education, Offices, Culture, Airports and hospitals to help people have better experiences. Owing to these factors the Bluetooth beacon market is growing tremendously. In the year of 2015, almost 43% of the retailers used beacon programs and this figure is expected to grow to in the coming years. A general feedback from the users was that almost 65% felt there was more of customers, 59% stores mentioned about more engaged buyers. In the coming years the Bluetooth beacon market is expected to grow more significantly.