Location marketing services are expected to grow to 39.87 billion in 2019 at a CAGR of 37.5%.
While it has been one of the promising technology in the world of mobile, it was only until recently that location marketing services have been truly put to scale by retailers. Experts believe a confluence of these technologies like Geo-fencing, Beacons and Wi-fi has truly brought the technology back on the hype cycle.
Let’s take a look at some of these technologies for Location-based marketing:-
- Geofencing marketing
It involves the use of GPS to define a particular geographic region and take the mobile user’s location data via GPS. Whenever any mobile user enters the defined geographic region, it triggers some type of action, like a display message, an in-app action or specially tailored search results.
A geofencing region can be quite large, like an airport and its 10-mile radius to target potential last-minute hotel guests or it can be quite precise like a retail store within a block.
- Wifi proximity marketing
With smartphones always looking for Wifi networks, it provides a good opportunity
for stores and businesses to target their potential customers. By providing free Wifi services, the stores can broadcast its own advertising content like promotions, coupons, new product offerings, etc. It also enables the store owners to capture vital customer information like email, telephone numbers, etc. for future re-engagement with customers.
It also allows capturing of key customer metrics like footfall, frequency, average time in a venue, recency of visits, etc.
- Near Field Communication NFC
Near Field Communication or NFC technology can be leveraged for proximity marketing. NFC-enabled tags can be placed at specific venues or on products for customers to open the browser with a specific marketing message in their NFC-enabled smartphones.
Customers simply need to tap their NFC-enabled smartphone against the tag to receive the marketing message.
NFC tags can be placed inside stores, shopping malls, bus stops, railway stations, etc. among other places.
Beacons are small and low-cost, Bluetooth low-energy signal transmitters that can trigger certain action in a beacon-enabled app on a mobile device.
Beacons cannot pinpoint the exact location of the user. Instead, it focuses on detecting the proximity of the user using Bluetooth low-energy signals to estimate if the user is within the range of its signal and how close.
Marketers can configure their apps to trigger messages when certain conditions are met. For example, if the user is within the beacon range for 3 seconds or 3 seconds after the user has left the beacon range, a marketing message can be triggered.
Beacons are truly versatile and have found wide-scale implementation from airports to retail stores to restaurants to deliver marketing offers and product information.
Brands using beacons for marketing include Starbucks, Macy’s, Target, Coca Cola, etc.
How Beacons and Geofencing can compliment each other
One of the major challenges that marketers face with the use of beacons is to get the target mobile user with the app to turn on his Bluetooth.
A simple solution to this is in the form of geofencing. Using geofencing, the retailer or the marketer can define the geographical region for geofencing using latitudinal and longitudinal values. Once the geofence is set, the retailer or marketer will receive notifications whenever the geofenced region is breached and the user enters or exits the region. Acting on these notifications, he can send a message to the user prompting him to turn on the Bluetooth.
Wifi or Beacon or both: What to use?
Let’s try and answer this question.
If your intention is to only perform location-based analytics, then you could leverage on your location-enabled Wifi infrastructure. However, if you aim to be specific about the location of your customers or provide an indoor navigational experience you could consider the use of beacons.
However, both these technologies will work best when used together. You could use the
Wifi network to collect analytics data within the venue and could rely on beacons for proximity-based interactions with the user.
How to use a beacon for your business:-
Beacon applications are now becoming more sophisticated with an ability to improve business processes, reduce costs and even generate more revenue.
They have found widespread applications in various areas like retail venues, museums, airports, etc.
Let us look down at some of these areas:-
Using Beacons to enhance the customer experience at the museum:-
Beacons can truly revolutionize the experience that museums offer.
- Self-guided tours
Beacons can be used by museums to offer self-guided tours. By placing beacons around the museum, visitors can receive detailed information directly on their mobile screens through a location-enabled mobile app.
Using beacons for proximity-based interactions, visitors can receive detailed information about exhibits in the form of photos, description, information about the creator, videos, etc. every time a visitor comes close to a particular exhibit. This puts the visitor in the driver seat, allowing him to proceed at his own pace and spend more time at exhibits that are more appealing to him, eliminating the need to follow any strict guidelines.
Beacons can be used to measure dwell times, time spent by visitors at different locations of the museum, and which exhibits are more popular to improve the exhibit positioning and the museum layout to provide a better experience to visitors.
Some of the museums that have been using beacons to improve the overall visitor experience include the Neon Museum in Poland, Rubens art museum in Antwerp, etc.
- Using Beacons to nail the proximity marketing campaigns in retail:-
Retailers around the world are making a mark with their proximity marketing campaigns via Beacons.
Let’s get to know a few of these:-
In order to promote a new line of coffee flavored beverages, McDonald’s leveraged on the use of beacons at 15 of its cafes in Istanbul. They tied up with a popular Turkish loyalty app called Shopping Genie.
Whenever the customers were around the premises of any of these 15 local McDonald’s cafe, they would receive a mobile coupon via the app that prompted them to purchase coffee and get a beverage from the new drink line for free.
This proximity marketing campaign helped McDonald’s achieve a good conversion rate with the people receiving the promotion.
Popular convenience store group Nisa used beacons to collect data on customer behavior. They installed beacons to shopping trolleys and baskets. These beacons worked in conjunction with the sensors attached to the ceiling. The sensors picked up the signals emitted by the beacons and collected location data which was then fed to the cloud-based server for analysis.
The data collected provided valuable insights like the overall time spent by the customers in the store and the dwell time at different product aisles.