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The use of beacon technology in the US retail industry has been a growing trend over the last few years. With the likes of Hammerson, Tesco, W H Smith, Waitrose, John Lewis and House of Fraser all considering beacon-aided marketing solutions, it appears that beacons are finally starting to take off in the UK.

The success of beacons as a means of enhancing shopper journeys and loyalty in the US has been solidified by the triumph of beacon-assisted shopping apps, such as the hugely popular US app Shopkick. Shopkick enables users to gain rewards simply for walking into certain shops or scanning certain items, and also prompts shoppers with popular products and promotions when they open the app or come into the range of one of the beacons currently placed in store.

However, there some trepidation remains around the adoption of beacons in the UK due to questions concerning their actual ability to enhance shopper experience and add value.

This is of course a question of weighing up the pros and cons of using beacon-assisted apps (for example is this something that your customers are likely to use and is it a financially viable option?) and making sure that they add measurable value to your shopper journeys – so here are our top tips for ensuring that your beacon-assisted shopping app cuts through the clutter:

  1. Beacon-enabled apps must also be decent and functional apps in their own right – shoppers have to find them useful and rewarding to earn those MBs of phone space!
  2. Updating your existing app to be beacon compatible adds value whilst curbing the cost of creating one from scratch (this solution also comes with a ready-made user base!)
  3. Content served to shoppers must be relevant to the lifestyle and interests of the individuals using these apps so be smart with consumer segmentation and testing
  4. Ensure the full integration of the app into your retail outlets and marketing strategy so that it becomes a well used and useful tool and all can become advocates
  5. Don’t bombard shoppers with constant messages – this is just annoying and will ensure a high drop-off rate!
  6. Measure the performance of the app and its components to gain greater insights into your consumer’s behaviour – beacon-assisted apps can provide information on shopper dwell time, footfall and journey so its vital to recover those insights and use them to underpin strategic decisions

Although beacon technology is not for everyone and should not be used half-heartedly, it will yield benefits for those that use it wisely by taking the time to successfully integrate it into their apps and marketing and promotional strategies. The technology adds another dimension to the shopper experience, provides another means of communicating with shoppers at opportune moments and when used correctly can also induce greater customer loyalty – what’s not to love?

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