With the evolution of modern marketing, there are a few considerable things associated with it, that also evolve parallelly: consumer behaviour and newer strategies that marketers and (retail) companies adapt to become flexible with rising consumer demands and to survive the market. Amongst several rapidly changing consumer trends, is the need for personalization and customization – in other words, relevance. To create relevance is now become a priority for most fashion retailers who have a brick-and-mortar presence; since relevancy is with regards to both time and requirement. The conversion of physical stores into smart shopping zones, is proof enough that this transition is happening rapidly and is being accepted widely by shoppers.
Proximity marketing intends to bridge the gap between the convenience of online (browsing) and experience of offline shopping. Well, consumers only want the best of both the worlds and proximity is one such concept that aims to achieve this objective. Because proximity marketing concept revolves around the online-to-offline ideology or in other words, ‘provide an omnichannel shopping experience’. Even though proximity marketing is relatively newer, it has been proven time and again that to deliver a personalized experience to shoppers and shopaholics, this is the only answer – since it comes with a package of benefits. That’s precisely how the idea of PinCarts was conceived – to leverage BLE beacons and geofencing in retail stores; beacons to engage with shoppers inside the stores, within a close range and geofencing – to engage with shoppers who are outside the stores, and within a certain proximity. We purposely use the word “engage” and not “target”, because that’s precisely what’s amiss in their shopping journey – engaging with the store management.
More than half of retailers worldwide have been known to either have already implemented proximity marketing or are in the pilot phase for their large format retail outlets. Proximity technology is being tried and tested in India too, through PinCarts’ pilot launch with select retail brands who are eager to taste success in their retail businesses and enhance the customers’ buying journey. Well, with proximity marketing, retail companies can expect to have better (average) footfall in their stores, provide a convenient inside store navigation to shoppers, deliver relevant and valuable communication to shoppers both nearby and even inside the stores, thereby make their journey comfortable and enjoyable. At the same time, retailers will be able to gather valuable insights about shoppers, profile them, understand shopping and navigation patterns, analyze buying behaviour, be able to do shopping cart analytics and consequently, make changes suitable to shoppers’ needs or concerns. The fact that proximity technology has empowered retail companies to be alert and active and closely monitor instore activities, has appealed to most of the modern retail marketers that in turn has given proximity the success it deserves. This, in fact, is a very big advantage over traditional marketing methods, that were totally time dependent to make decisions and implement them on the customer end.
Now, coming to the main point about proximity technology and its primary objective – that to empower shoppers through delivering personalized, relevant and timely marketing messages about their choices, custom-made offers (based usually on their interests), pampering them with great deals, showing exact product details, assisting with purchase decisions and so on. Consider this: a shopper – with or without their cellphone or with or without opting “in” is in a locality that has malls and high street fashion stores. It is sale season, but the shopper is unaware that buying their favourite products could earn them a good amount of savings, cashback rewards and also loyalty. In this scenario, not only is the shopper loosing out on good deal/s, but perhaps, when they would actually shop, they may end up spending a lot more. Also, they may end up ‘wasting’ valuable time discovering proper stores, aisles, finding out offers and then making decisions, sorting out products on their cart, figure out total savings, feeling annoyed and lost amongst chaos and long checkout queues. Whereas, a smart, empowered shopper, leveraging the presence of their smartphone and its smart features like bluetooth connectivity and location – can discover, shop, browse, avail offers, checkout and also earn loyalty with the brand – with just a few swipes on their mobile screen/s.
Beacons are known to have been assisting shoppers down to the aisle level and also display accurate product descriptions, and also time sensitive offers, crafted only for them.
What is the meaning of personalization?
In modern marketing language, millennials, who are constantly hooked to their digital devices and are ‘connected’ 24*7 – getting attention from their favourite brands, or from stores they frequent is like the icing on the cake. They are used to being addressed with a ‘personal touch’ – meaning, they appreciate if the person behind the sales counter knows already what they want to buy and how. In this case, the personalization, through push messages and notifications, will be delivered to users’ smartphones – which they are anyway staring at while they are shopping or even otherwise.
Though futuristic, but entirely possible, that things like digital signages, multi-media displays, digital signboards and things like these will achieve personalization at the micro level for retailers. Which in turn translates to higher conversion rates for retail businesses like – fashion & apparel, accessories, and jewellery, hotels, restaurants and cafes, hospitals, airport terminals, museums, etc. in the near future.
About 53% retail businesses have revealed that beacons help them create relevant and compelling offers instores
How will proximity help deliver personalization?
By displaying information that shoppers (individual shoppers) want to see at the right time and right place, right on their handheld screens – proximity will deliver a personalized experience. Along with that, a feature called indoor navigation will also have dual benefits – will assist shoppers precisely and transfer this information to the retailers’ console. Statistics have proved repeatedly, that due to receiving personalized communication, more and more customers are drawn toward opting in to receive them – either via Bluetooth or via geofencing. Which in turn brings better business to the stores. Instead of receiving annoying, untimely, general marketing messages that are disruptive and mostly non-meaningful, proximity will enable specific and location-sensitive messages only. Which shoppers will not ignore and instead open and use them.
60% shoppers open and engage with proximity notifications and about 30% use the offers shown
PinCarts will schedule proximity marketing campaigns for their retailers during sale seasons and non-seasonal sales too, helping them deliver personalization to their customers (buyers) in turn, via beacon push notifications and geofence also. PinCarts beacons can gradually help in identification of individual shoppers in the stores as they make frequent shopping trips and connect their smartphone to the Bluetooth devices. The PinCarts App will not only show shoppers the entire store inventory, but also specific product-oriented offers that will appeal to customers (before reaching the store physically).