Having mentioned numerous times in the past blogs about proximity, its expanse, components, advantages, success predictability in India, its use cases in and outside of retail, we realize the importance and the need to actually know what is it all about and what is so engaging in it? For relatively new users and for those who are still wondering, proximity in very simple words is location awareness or location technology, where macro or micro. It means knowing where the consumer with reference to time and place and then approaching them with a very specific communication. This specific communication can be in the form of text or multi-media shown through push notification attached with a URL. The three main components of proximity marketing are: hyperlocal marketing (location sensitive), trigger based (need-sensitive) and time-sensitive.
PinCarts Modus Operandi
Let’s arrive at the very primary discussion about proximity marketing. It works on three main platforms, of which PinCarts is currently leveraging only the first two. Bluetooth Beacons, Geofencing and Geotargeting. Here’s our modus operandi: To implement proximity marketing in the physical outlets of our retail partners, we shall first geofence the area where the store or mall is situated and thereafter employ Bluetooth beacon devices inside the store building. Beacons devices are small hardware devices that need software support and a dashboard to monitor them. These devices need a physical support where they can be stuck – a prominent place in the store – where from they can smoothly send signals to nearby Bluetooth devices (smartphones) without any interference.
Geofencing the store area will allow retail marketers to communicate with the smartphones of customers who are present in the vicinity of the store outlet via simple push notifications, that make no memory or do not consume space into users’ phones. Proximity is safe, specific, targeted, non-intrusive and most effective.
Getting The Facts Right
There are certain facts that we need to get right about proximity marketing. Below are its pre-requisites before it can be completely operational.
- The Bluetooth and location features must be on, on users’ smartphones while they are outside
- The supporting shopping application must be ready and available on the respective app stores of all operating systems on the smartphones
- The App must show three key information to users: store inventory, current offers, and indoor navigation map
- Beacons must have been installed and be active and be configured on the dashboard
- The location needs to be geofenced after a thorough recce to determine the area and distances to be covered
Proximity marketing requires a one-time permission to be sought from users, to use their location and to receive push notifications from the app; without which, no communication is quite possible. Here a few other factors that contribute to a smooth and effective functioning of proximity marketing technology.
- Marketers must predetermine before launching proximity marketing, the right balance of content in the form of text, images, videos, and even voice to be able to deliver a seamless experience
- The three key factors that users of proximity technology must realize and then address is: setting up their business goals very clearly, understand the technology (before even implementing it) and designing an effective user experience
- Since it is a relatively newer concept and is evolving, the implementation seems to be more complex; marketers who seek to implement have to be completely dependent on (external) technology assistance to have a smooth experience
- More than half of big retailers in USA are embracing this new technology or are doing pilots and about another 40% are expected to follow suit
- The three key functional areas of proximity marketing that give it an edge over other location aware technologies are mainly: Relevance (Context), Immediate Consumption and Retail Analytics