Have you ever been to an event that pinged your phone each time you got to a new location? While it seems futuristic, the tech behind it is actually a lot more attainable for brands than you may realize! Beacons use bluetooth low-energy, or BLE, to help companies track consumer whereabouts using the user’s smartphone, (after they give you permission to send notifications and use GPS tracking, of course). With a cost of just one-fifth of the competing technologies, the physical beacons are relatively cheap and allow for the delivery of hyper-localized communication to consumers. Beacons can be placed in various locations around your store, venue, or event, and they can be programmed to trigger targeted notifications, promoted offers, and reminders (“Bathroom to your left!”) to passers-by via push notifications on their smartphones. This can improve customer experience and create those super-important, moment-specific brand touchpoints. Here are some brilliant beacon use cases that brands are implementing today:
Yes, everyone (literally everyone) loves Target. Another reason to love the big red retailer? Target’s using beacon technology to enable their Cartwheel couponing mobile app to foster relationships with loyal couponers. Once notification updates are approved, customers walking through the store can see various sales and offers on different products, pinged by the customer’s location in proximity to the nearest beacon. Target’s CIO Mike McNamara says “You’ll never miss an opportunity to save.” And with the staggering amount of coffee I buy, I’ll definitely be allowing the beacons to show me the best deal in the coffee aisle.
ELLE magazine rolled out a a beacon-based promotion with retailers like Barnes and Noble and Guess that sent more than 12,000 alerts and saw a nearly 5 percent open rate. They used the mobile app, ShopAdvisor, to target consumers with ELLE advertisements to draw them into the magazine’s new monthly publication and promote the featured products of the issue. The mobile app showed off 360-camera views of products and location prompts, triggered by beacons, to promote ELLE-exclusive sales and show the shopper the closest location in which they could buy the product. The campaign produced more than 8 percent of users actually visiting a store (for reference, that’s about 10,000 percent better than a regular mobile marketing campaign!).
Annual music festival Bonnaroo used beacons for location-based experiences to notify festival-goers during the event. The users were reminded to download Bonnaroo’s event app before the festival started and opt in for location-based notifications. The app collected user data, too, which helped the organizers deploy more security to crowded areas, as well as monitor how long the merchandise, bathroom and refreshment lines were. Bonnaroo was able to cater to music fans by customizing a brand experience and providing a mobile touchpoint. They sent more than 90,000 messages to fans and saw a 20 percent increase in overall festival experience from those who downloaded the app.
Beacon tech is a tactic that isn’t going away anytime soon…75 percent of retailers included beacon tech in their marketing mix in 2017. When it comes to providing the personalized experiences that today’s customers crave, beacon technology should be considered a frontrunner as your technology of choice. And the sweetest part of the deal is that it’s far more cost-effective than other promotional technologies, like GPS. Case (for beacon tech) closed.