Beacons-Why-BIDs-Need-To-Pay-Attention-an-iGuider-Explanati…

Geo Fencing & Beacon Technology Why BID’s Really Need to Pay Attention

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Table of Contents Can Geo-Fence and Beacon Technology Enhance Customer Engagement within a BID? ............................................................................................................................................3 What do they do? ......................................................................................................................3 What exactly are beacons? ....................................................................................................4 How do they work?...................................................................................................................4 So how does Geo-Fencing Work?.........................................................................................4 Can Beacons and Geo-Fences track or contact without permission? .....................5 Where do Beacons and Geo-Fences overlap? .................................................................5 How far do Beacons reach? ...................................................................................................5 What can these mobile technologies be used for? ........................................................6 How can businesses put beacons to use? .........................................................................6 So where does the conflict arise? ........................................................................................7

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Can Geo-Fence and Beacon Technology Enhance Customer Engagement within a BID? This article looks at the key issues that arise for BID’s with Geo Fencing and Beacon Technology to highlight why these technologies are good or bad, and why, if you are truly passionate about value of the users experience, it is so important for you pay attention to this technology from the start. Firstly, we outline what Geo Fencing and Beacon technology are and how they work. Then we look at the players who will need to engage at a customer level and what are the conflicting dynamics that need to be managed for successful implementation of a better level of service and user experience and why collaboration is so important. What do they do? In it’s simplest terms these are technologies that allow you to deliver the right message, at the right time, at exactly the right location to enhance the specific experience of the person receiving the message. It can’t get any simpler than that. You can manage thousands of beacons or geo fences to deliver contextually relevant app engagement.

Other information and analytics like linger rates, movement patterns, tracking rates or the true extent of loyalty programme interactions gives the BID’s detailed analytics and a more thorough understanding of the customer needs within your areas.

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Beacons can communicate to an accuracy of inches or distances to of over 50 yards of a customer, whilst Geo Fencing reacts when an engaged customer comes within a radius of 100, 200 yards of an object or to whatever size radius you set. You decide and you set the parameters. What exactly are beacons? Beacons are low-cost, low-powered transmitters equipped with Bluetooth that your phone recognises and triggers delivery of a proximity-based, context-aware messages. They are ideal for detecting smartphones indoors, where GPS isn’t always effective, and are accurate up to 6 inches, sending alerts and data to apps on those devices.

They are small unobtrusive devices that can be put on any wall, till or behind a merchandising display, in an office.

How do they work? They are location specific to help provide a better customer experience of a shop or service by interacting with consumers through a shop or a company's app, customers already present in the store are made aware of, and can take advantage of advice, special offers and promotions available right there right now. So how does Geo-Fencing Work? Geo-Fencing is a virtual parameter that can be dynamically generated as a radius around a store or point location, or a geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries, like school zones, neighborhood boundaries or city boundaries. Allowing you to send messages or alerts as people enter, leave or linger within a predefined area.

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Can Beacons and Geo-Fences track or contact without permission? No. Beacons only work with apps and all apps need permission to initiate any level of contact. In any event the BID or stores want to enhance and encourage engagement not upset people. These mobile technologies are an opportunity to enhance the engagement experience of a new touch point, mobile. The technology is here to stay and will be part of a series of location technologies that will create a foundation for local and retail services for proximity-based analytics marketing, and authentication. Where do Beacons and Geo-Fences overlap? GPS operates at a macro range, beacons work at micro range, giving brands and services an opportunity to interact with customers not only at a local area level but also target narrowly in streets, corridors, shopping aisle or at a fixture level.

Beacons effective close up in store

Geo-fence effective on street or regional area

How far do Beacons reach? In terms of range, beacons function in the gap between NFC (Near Field Communication, too narrow) and GPS (too broad) ranges, and this is what makes them more effective than the other two. Beacons rely on the two-way communication between an app and a strategically placed beacon. They can also detect any mobile device that has Blue Tooth switched on but should not communicate with that device without the appropriate permission. However, this does create the opportunity to gather anonymous data on movement, lingering and directional flow. Therefore, BID’s can track the movement of all smartphones that have Blue Tooth switched on within the Geo-fence area. You will not know their personal details just that they were within the boundaries you set.

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This technology gives BID’s brands and businesses an opportunity to build innovative proximity-aware apps. It’s the first proximity technology that is supported by all major mobile platforms. They are inexpensive, have a battery life of approximately two years and being low-energy, they don’t drain a user’s phone battery.

What can these mobile technologies be used for?

Any number of services the following highlight a few.  Restaurant services. Menus, ordering, pay you bill  Shopping service & advice. Detailed descriptions, sizes, stock and order  Museums: Private Guides and Audio Trails  Bus Stop services. Assistance for visually impaired, ticking,

How can businesses put beacons to use?  Enhancing the shopping experience o Greeting o In store promotion

o Enhance Loyalty Programmes o Enable contactless payment o Upsell to customers

So at a high level Beacons and Geo-Fencing technologies can be used to develop a whole new level of customer experience and engagement.

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So where does the conflict arise?

The customer decision journey has changed. Today a larger percentage of a clients engagement within a BID location, brand or store takes place online before you are aware the client is interested. In the battle for the minds of the buyers brands will rightly see Geo-Fencing and Beacons as an opportunity to bring more personalised levels of engagement. An opportunity to guide the customer decision journey within the actual proximity of the desired product.

And here is where the conflict starts within a BID or a store. If all stores and all brand use this technology;

 Who decides the proximity distance of the message, the store or the brand?  Who decides the number of messages sent to each client?  Who decides how many brands send out messages of engagement? Unchecked the customer could be bombarded by a whole range of messages in store, on the street or within the region. In a store scenario this would adversely affect the brand essence of the store and erode the customers overall shopping experience. Unchecked in the BID district this could destroy the customer experience. So is collaboration is key for a successful experience? You bet it is. Ultimately Geo-Fencing and Beacons are going to be a communication channel for retailers. Retailers are not going to allow brands to have a separate dialogue with their shoppers in their stores and interfere with the shopping experience they seek to create. Retailers will have their own Geo-Fencing and Beacon networks and brands will be given an opportunity to participate for a price. BID’s will have to consider taking the same stance with the shopping streetscape. In a Shopping Mall context this can becomes even more confusing. The conflict or successful solution will come in the form of collaborations between stores, brands, concessionaires and landlords. If this mix works it will enhance to the shopping experience to a whole new personalised level. If not people will switch off their phones in your stores, delete the app or, worse still, leave the store. As already mentioned Geo-fence and Beacon messaging has to be opted into through an app, it is unrealistic to ask shoppers to access this messaging through multiple brands apps within a single store, rather than a single store app. And, it is just as unrealistic to think that retailers will join together on a single app which allows for intelligence of their shoppers in their stores being shared with other retailers.

Therefore, BIDs should be thinking about what they can do to create added value for

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retailers and enhance the streetscape shopping experience. This is not just about delivering coupons. This should be a great opportunity for BID’s, stores and brands to sit down with all retailers and offer new solutions to drive the retailer's business. Ultimately the differentiator will be the strategy and creativity of the messages and experiences delivered, not the technology itself.

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