Beacon Retail Technology Set to Enhance Customer Experience

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – To provide the best customer experience, it is critical for a retailer to know the customer’s tastes, preferences, needs and aspirations. At present, only about three percent of the retailers are able to identify customers walking in store, but according to Boston Retail Partners, 72 percent plan to do so within five years. The cutting-edge beacon retail technology can help them achieve this goal.

A beacon is an inexpensive piece of hardware that makes use of Bluetooth signals to trigger location-based action in apps. Retailers can use beacons to attract potential users to their apps, retain those users, and increase their engagement on those apps. This can help the retailers gain valuable insights and data, and identify the customers as they walk into their stores.

U.S. retailers are currently racing to adopt beacon technology, which according to a new report from Business Insider, is the most important retail technology since mobile credit-card readers. The report estimates the beacon installed base to witness a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of a whopping 287 percent over the next five years. About 4.5 million active beacons will be in use by 2018, out of which 3.5 million will be used by retailers.

Half of the top 100 American retailers are already testing beacons in 2014, and they will have this new technology installed in about one-third of their stores by the end of 2015. Large retailers are likely to be the earliest adopters of beacons because of stiff competition to win traffic and sales. Beacons are compatible almost all iPhones and about one-third of active smartphones globally.

The scope of the beacon technology will expand once the retailers allow third-party apps to hook into their in-store beacon system. Customers may not download apps for the retailer they plan to visit, so it makes sense for the retailers to open up their beacons to outside apps in order to send alerts and notifications to their users. Beacon-powered features include in-store coupons and offers, indoor maps, targeted product recommendations, enhanced loyalty programs, and payments.

According a study by inMarket, adoption of beacon retail technology led to 16.5 times more app usage in-store and 6.4 times increase in retention of the app users. The indoor location data collected via beacons can be much more precise than a GPS coordinate, and provide a way to connect offline and online data. When well executed, a beacon system can allow the retailers to enhance customer experience significantly, and achieve greater business efficiencies and economy over time.

Source: Business Insider

Image Credit: Flickr via Mark Sebastian