iBeacons for Brands: Moving Beyond Loyalty

Estimote beacons for retail
Going Beyond Coupons and Loyalty with Estimote iBeacons

Consumers value the mobile experience over loyalty programs, according to a new report by the Acquity Group.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,500 smartphone owners, discovered that loyalty programs were ranked as the lowest priority for in-store shoppers.

The report points to content as king when it comes to in-store experiences, amongst other highlights:

  • 78 percent of smartphone owners have looked up a retailer’s inventory online prior to visiting the physical store.
  • 59 percent have been influenced to make an in-store purchase decision after browsing product images and information on a smartphone.
  • 73 percent would be more likely to purchase from a brand that provides editorial content (social updates, news, or email) that is relevant and interesting to them.
  • 32 percent have not yet purchased products posted on social media, but would be open to trying it. Another 16 percent have already purchased items after being influenced by social media posts.

Acquity, a Brand eCommerce agency that commissioned the report, concludes that in-store WiFi is probably a better solution than trying to combat showrooming through loyalty or reward points.

“Retailers are looking for ways to increase in-store sales, while also pushing online spend in an age of showrooming, but several are eliminating some of the best opportunities to drive a greater amount of in-store revenue,” said Chip Knicker, vice president of eCommerce at Acquity Group. “In-store Wi-Fi not only allows retailers to keep consumers in store longer, making them more likely to purchase, but also helps tie in the consistent user experience across channels that today’s consumers expect.” 

But Doesn’t WiFi Feel Old in an Age of Beacons?

But in an age of iBeacons, I can’t help wondering whether sending content TO the consumer rather than giving them the tools to go out and GET it might make more sense.

With iBeacons, you can use proximity detection to deliver content to a consumer based on exactly where they are in the store, delivering content that’s appropriate for the TV aisle or the DVD section of the store.

While not the same as giving your customers free WiFi so they can price compare on the Web, iBeacons can help to create a rich in-store experience that goes well beyond loyalty programs and showrooming and turns choosing a product into an emotional and digitally connected experience.

Pop a few beacons from Estimote up in your store and you’ve saved yourself a whack of costs for WiFi while unlocking the rich potential of proximity and precision-location marketing.

But what IS clear from the Acquity report might not be the tactics it implies, but the larger strategy of creating experiences over programs. Adds Knicker:

“Loyalty programs, once regarded as important to gaining and retaining customers, have been shown to be the least important when up against the time-honored factors of price, convenience, product availability and customer service, all of which can be delivered through a seamless omnichannel experience. It is clear brands that don’t align their experiences with evolving consumer expectations will miss out on revenue opportunities.”

So while coupon programs and reward cards might keep some of your customers coming back, it’s how you think about the broader experience that matters most.

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One Response to “iBeacons for Brands: Moving Beyond Loyalty”

  1. Great post Doug. These days, a consumer’s decision to interact and buy from a brand is often based on the ability of the brand to reward them for the time and money spent. This is one of the main reasons why customers loyalty programs work best when they are intertwined with everyday preferences and needs of your customers. This is where beacons come handy.

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