Paul Brown, chief technology officer at The Grass Roots Group in his recent article Beacons: the future of promotion reward technologyhighlighted that in the past few years beacon technology has become increasingly very popular in the retail sector. Beacons are a cheap and simple way to identify a consumer in a location, at a point in time which allows promotions and incentives to be targeted not only on customer segment but on location, time and inventory.

Devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and consumers becoming more empowered so brands must consider how they are going to evolve their promotions and incentives schemes, and include the use of beacon technology to help ensure customer engagement. It is important that organisations reach out to the right consumers – at the right time – with personalised promotions. Beacons can be an important part of the right solution – being placed across the store in point-of-sale materials for example.

Below is how to best implement beacon technology according to Paul Brown:

Economically efficient engagement

Beacons are a cost-effective way to encourage active engagement. Beacons can be used to engage with online shoppers by encouraging online customers to visit stores where they can access proximity-based promotions through beacons.

For example, Odeon cinemas introduced beacons as part of its loyalty scheme to welcome customers, share offers and information. As well as to collect data with the consumer’s permission for a more targeted programme.

To guarantee the continued success of such business evolutions, organisations need to consider implementing an incentive or promotion scheme that can be accessed simply through a range of channels. Incorporating mobile devices and apps – through the use of beacons – as part of a loyalty scheme means that organisations can entice online customers to continue and develop their relationship with the brand in-store with a simple, cost-efficient and ethically compliant method of engagement.

Changeable for multi-purpose use

Beacons are very simple – they simply broadcast who they are. If you put one in a store then you know where it is. A consumer connects to the beacon via an app and you can push any message, promotion or communication to the location and time. It will allow you to change those promotions and messages allowing you to run many campaigns through the same app to achieve different business objectives.

Incentivise customer data sharing

Beacons can be used to encourage customers to provide data and to collect customer activity data. Data is vital for personalising rewards and promotions – to build trust and a sense of value and importance with the customer. When the data is used effectively, you can ensure that any promotions being distributed are targeted and relevant. This develops a feeling of reciprocity and helps create a long-standing relationship with each individual customer.

Gamification with augmented loyalty

The possibilities for gamification with beacon technology are endless. For instance, by introducing a more experiential relationship with the promotions and incentive scheme – such as a shopping centre treasure hunt – customers can be driven to behavioural change and are more likely to become long-term loyal customers.

Recently, Regent Street deployed a beacon scheme, to encourage shoppers along the high-street to visit partaking retailers. Customers were sent personalised offers, information and shopping suggestions depending on their location, allowing for an engaging multi-channel approach to the physical shopping experience.

Such experiential schemes can also be a solution to the dreaded ‘dead times’ in store. By offering an incentive for customers to come in-store on a particular day and time to win prizes, maximises the opportunity for profit whilst reinforcing the customer’s loyalty to the brand.