Forrester recently calculated that over 52% of the US retail sales are influenced by physical shop online use, either while shopping or during the upfront inspiration phase.
Beacon technology can play a major role here. Hence, several retailers are experimenting with this technology. But besides retail, there are other interesting applications with Beacons.
Retail: Regent Street in London
The Crown Estate, which owns the well-known shopping street in the heart of London, Regent Street, is in agreement with some 100 shops (including. Hamleys, Armani, Longchamp, Hackett, Burberry, Hugo Boss, …) to have beacons installed over a length of one mile. Customers are notified of the presence of beacons through indications in the street, as well as through flyers, social media campaigns. … The American company Autograph has developed an app for this initiative. With this app, consumers can choose in which brands they show interest. As a function thereof, as well as in function of the physical behavior, there can be provided, for example, discount coupons.
Fan Based: Major League Baseball
A good example of Fan Engagement and Customer Experience is have been rolled out in 28 sporting venues of the MLB in the USA. Based on the location where you are, you’ll get contextual information passed through the beacon detection in those stages. Besides indoor engagement this technique is also useful outdoors where actions are triggered when people are in close proximity to a venue. The Fan Experience finally begins before the event, in the parking lot or in the surrounding restaurants.
By sending relevant messages at an early stage, the convenience for the fans are enhanced. Available parking spaces can be pointed out and up front orders for catering can be placed. Also shortening of queues at the entrance of the event is possible.
Product inspiration: a speaking mannequin
Very simple. Suppose you are facing a window of a shop and you find the clothes on mannequins pretty. Just be using your smartphone using the beacon immediately trigger you can be inspired by the different clothes, their color variations, possible combinations, etc. And of course immediately order online or be escorted to the physical location in the store where the garment is. House of Fraser, Bentalls and Hawes & Curtis are already experimenting with it.
Heat mapping: step monitoring
Beacon technology can also be used to heat map to consumer paths in shops. So you can see where consumers are stepping fast or slow, or where consumers often stop. This technology can be used if desired, for example, for crowd control management in museums, at events or in public places such as airports, railway stations. For example, Japan Airlines traces their staff and their get-around-activity through Beacons.
Support for the visually impaired
In extension to the previous application, the San Francisco airport has developed an app based on Beacon Technology for the visually impaired (currently in beta) to help them find all kinds of physical points. The app automatically starts the Apple VoiceOver technology that reads the items as they appear on the screen. Hence physical displays become ‘visible’ for them. The app includes a guide with several interesting locations at airports, ranging from restaurants to check-in counters, gates and even electrical outlets.