Bringing Home the Beacon for a More Personalized Customer Experience

In today’s technology-driven society, retailers are facing increasing pressure to create a compelling and interactive shopping experience. The need to encourage customers to return to the store rather than shop online is one of the key factors behind the growing use of beacon technology.
Beacons are small devices that use Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless and geo-fencing technology to transmit signals directly to consumers’ smartphones. Usually unseen, the beacon employs wireless technology to pinpoint when a customer is nearby, then captures the customer’s location data in the moment. In order to work, the customer must have downloaded a specific app onto his or her smartphone – something customers are increasingly prepared to do if it will enable them to receive exclusive offers or discounts. The app can link location data with other pertinent customer information, increasing the ability to deliver a highly personalized shopping experience. Retailers can then compile and track key information and communicate directly with customers through push notifications, all while the customer is in a specified aisle or near a certain display.

As some brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to foster a personalized connection with their customers in the past, many are now turning to beacon technology for one important reason: to get a real-time view of the customer experience (CX). In order to better understand the customer journey (literally, in the case of some stores) and leverage key customer behavior, retailers look to location technology as a vital part of CX and market research programs. However, it’s important for retailers to understand that utilizing this mobile technology is not all it takes to implement a successful customer experience program.
Retailers must also be able to translate the gathered data into usable information that will encourage customers to return. Combining location data with multiple sources of key customer data, such as purchase history and demographics, allows brands to anticipate customers’ future needs and ask the right questions at the right time to better meet those needs. Retailers will achieve little if location data becomes just another silo of information which is never integrated with additional business and customer insights.
While beacon technology is invaluable to retailers looking to enhance the shopping experience, customers don’t want to be bombarded with surveys every time they enter a store. This is why retailers must take data integration seriously. Correlating location-based data with other sources of customer information is beneficial to retailers as they will be able to identify and selectively trigger a direct next step with individual customers, potentially at the very moment when they are making the decision to purchase.
Beacon technology also brings the added ability to perform “live” A/B testing. For example, if two customers of a certain brand of coffee are within a specified proximity in a store, they could each be presented with two different promotional offers, such as 20 percent off for one and a free gift for the other. The offer that is extended to each customer is decided by previously gathered data, and a short survey could then help the retailer understand which offer had the biggest impact on subsequent behavior.
Retailers looking to gain deeper insight into customer behavior will benefit from combining the growing preference to communicate via smartphones with beacon technology. As retailers strive to create relevant content, fine-tune processes and increase sales, it’s important to tap into the direct, emotion-led feedback of beacon technology. 

-Miguel Ramos, Mobile Specialist, Confirmit