For many locations collecting real offline data about which customers are visiting their store can be an extremely powerful tool. Starting a sales funnel online, that drives customers to a retail location has been part of marketing strategies for years now, but having the ability to track analytics offline is amazing.
Beacons For Businesses 101
What Is A Beacon Bluetooth Device?
Beacons are Bluetooth transmitters that are used to deliver messages to mobile devices within a range of access. Think of it as a broadcasting device that transmits a signal to other mobile devices that enter into its airspace. Commonly beacons are used by businesses to determine a customer’s location within a store or venue, so it can provide the customer with the most relevant info to enhance their shopping/visiting experience. Beacons vary in size and power of transmission. Most businesses start with a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon for intermittent data transfers, because they require low energy and are much more cost effective. For larger locations like stadiums, airports and museums, they may opt for more complex beacon Bluetooth devices.
Popular Beacon Formats
As with most tech gadgets both Apple and Google have stakes in the beacon space. Apple offers their iBeacon Bluetooth technology and Google has their Eddystone Bluetooth technology. They both provide developers of Bluetooth devices a platform to create custom beacons and work with previously developed beacons. For developers and those interested in the technology, you can read more about the iBeacon here and Eddystone here.
How Businesses Are Using Beacons For Local Marketing
How do businesses use beacons?
Most businesses will place a beacon in a location of their store that receives the most foot traffic from their customers. As customers enter within the proximity of the beacon, it will transmit a signal to users who have Bluetooth engaged (on their device) and will offer additional customer service and marketing opportunities for a business. Beacon technology like the iBeacon (from Apple) works in tandem with certain apps in the app store that take advantage of the iBeacon technology.
Here are a few examples of how beacons can benefit a business:
1) A restaurant or café might use a beacon to send a special welcome message to their customers. Owners could also use it to provide the WIFI code for free Internet access. This personalizes the experience a bit more, as well as eliminating the hassle of finding an employee to help you with the WIFI user and password.
2) A grocery store might have multiple beacons throughout different aisles of the store to send special deals on products that are on sale. It could also be used to help people find specific products that can be hard to find.
3) A clothing store might use a beacon to collect data about the customers in their store, to use for future online sales or to help a customer unlock a dressing room door.
Imagine that you’ve captured an email online through an incentivized offer on your website. Then you follow up with that customer via a segmented email marketing campaign. Finally, they visit your location to take advantage of a sale and your beacon captures that information. Does that sound like something you would be interested in? Of course!
Blending the Online and Offline World
Facebook Beacons allow your customers to see more info about your business while they visit your location and are accessing Facebook. This creates an amazing blend of online an offline engagement via Facebook.
Encourage your users to check in, like or share your company Facebook page, offer unique sales specific to Facebook users or send out other promotional messages. On Facebook these are referred to as Place Tips.
Each business Facebook page has a tab for Place Tips. This is an awesome way to provide your customers with tips about your location.
Check out this Facebook video for more about Place Tips:
Recently Paypal released a Beacon for businesses to use in their stores as another way to conveniently pay for products and services.
If a customer walks into a retail location with a Paypal beacon and they have the Paypal app on their phone, they can simply pay via the app when it’s time to check out.
Increase engagement with this beacon, by offering specific discounts for those who pay using Paypal.
Start winning offline with your customers, by implementing this local SEO tool and increase revenue at your location with the right Internet marketing strategy.