Beacons — the Future of Marketing? An Ethology POV
If you haven’t heard about beacon marketing, you soon will. Beacon marketing allows you to place a Bluetooth transmitter in your brick-and-mortar store, which sends push notifications to a user’s phone within a certain range. This way, you can send coupons directly to users to entice them to come into your store, let them know about a sale and much, much more.
Over the years, we have seen beacons become a viable strategy for many stores, and watched as the overall number of companies using beacons has skyrocketed.
Some Potential Strategies
Has the idea of beacons piqued your interest? Here are some simple ways you can apply the technology to your brand:
- Push incentives to users within close proximity of your store to increase in-store foot traffic and sales. An incentive could be something as simple as a promotion, a contest (first user to respond gets a free coffee, for example) or a news update (“Book signing by J.K. Rowling today!”).
- Automate store check-ins. You can create beacons that remind users to check in, and allow them to do it simply by clicking a button. This can improve in-store engagement and lead to more check-ins being seen by friends, adding up to additional reach.
- Adjust store layouts. Through beacons, some companies have found that users tend to gravitate toward certain parts of their store regardless of what merchandise is there. As a result, companies are able to readjust their store layouts to improve revenue.
- Some hotels are even using beacons to allow guests the option of using their phone in place of a traditional room key.
How to Get Started
Interested in testing but don’t know where to start? Developing a beacon campaign can be complicated, but once you understand the process, it’s actually fairly simple. You have two options: Buy a beacon yourself and set up the system using iBeacon by Apple or Eddystone by Google, or go with an agency that can set everything up for you.
If you’re interested in setting it up yourself, here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
- Purchase a beacon from one of the many manufacturers out there.
- Register the beacon with either Apple’s iBeacon or Google’s Eddystone.
- Develop and add the attachments to the beacon (there are many open source sites that you can use as development resources).
- Set up in your store and start testing away!
Use of beacons is on the rise and on track to become a major part of every company’s marketing strategy in the near future. We continue to hear about companies using beacons in clever ways to improve in-store performance or user experience. There are many other things you’ll need to take into consideration before running a beacon strategy, but if you’re interested, the team at Ethology can help.
Contributing Ethologists; Kacie Willis, Content Editor and Brandwyn Boyle, Director of Marketing