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From dmexco 2016: Transforming Retail with Bluetooth Beacons and Digital Advice

beacons and Guided Selling

At this year's dmexco, the world's leading exhibition and conference for the digital industry, SMARTASSISTANT along with indoors, a specialist in real-time indoor positioning and  navigation, showcased how retail outlets can improve their in-store value proposition by combining beacon sensory technology and digital advice.

After downloading an app, dmexco visitors had the chance to experience the value of offering digital advice and guidance in an imaginary shoe store.


Beacons to Improve the In-Store Shopping Experience

It is well known that shoppers increasingly use their mobile phones to comparison shop while in the store. By creating a valuable in-store experience, retailers have a fighting chance to drive the shopper's attention away from competitors.

Beacons play a huge role in the retailer's ability to interact with customers. Beacons are small, Bluetooth-enabled low-energy devices that detect and communicate with mobile devices. They can be attached to a wall or countertop in the store. Whenever a customer's Bluetooth-enabled smartphone  is within 50-100 feet of the device, the beacon will automatically send personalized offers to the customer's phone. Retailers can engage with shoppers on a personal level and increase the likelihood they'll make a purchase in the store.

Research conducted by Swirl shows that 60% of shoppers open beacon-triggered content, 30% redeem beacon-triggered offers, and 60% say they would buy more as a result of receiving beacon-triggered messages.

Additionally, according to a report by BI Intelligence, beacons are expected to directly influence more than $44 billion worth of US retail sales at top retailers. The low-cost and low-effort nature of the beacon technology also makes it affordable for small businesses. That's because one beacon can cost as little as $5.

Beacons x Digital Advice In Store

The successful integration of proximity marketing and beacons in the in-store experience relies heavily on a strong content strategy that delivers relevant and rewarding information to shoppers. The technology on its own cannot do this. The goal must be to create appropriate messaging and offers that create dialogue, foster a relationship, and deliver a tailored experience.

Markus Linder, CEO of SMARTASSISTANT says, "Faced with competition from online retailers, competing or larger brick-and-mortar stores, many retailers are becoming more interested in beacons and some have already adopted or are experimenting with the technology. With SMARTASSISTANT's interactive product guides, we make it cost-effective for retailers that see potential in proximity marketing to quickly offer a compelling value proposition that goes beyond coupons and discounts. They are now able to easily inspire shoppers and create a more customized and personal in-store experience."

By combining location-based marketing with digital advice, retailers are able to better understand and anticipate the needs of customers and provide a smoother experience at the physical store. The technology guides shoppers during the decision-making process, gives them a voice, and allows them to shape their individual journey. Additionally, it reduces the risk that shoppers will experience frustration when they are unable to identify suitable products causing them to comparison shop on their mobile phones or leave the store entirely.

How it works:

As soon as a customer walks into a store, a beacon sensor is triggered by the customer's Bluetooth-enabled mobile device as well as a compatible app that is installed on the phone. The sensors track a consumer's movements and determine how long they linger in certain aisles of the store.

beacons sensors

To assist shoppers who seem unsure which product to select (detected by frequent position changes), the beacons push the digital product advisor to the customer's mobile device.

The advisor takes the customer through a quick interactive dialogue, asks them a few questions to understand their needs, explains and educates them, and suggests suitable products. Ultimately, customers can receive directions to the shelf where they can find the recommended product.

beacons mobile app

By integrating beacons and digital product advisors at a physical store, retailers can solve common customer pain points such as:

  • Deciding on and locating the right product
  • Receiving immediate support and advice without having to ask anyone (approx. 60% of all shoppers who enter a store don't want to talk to anyone)
  • Reducing waiting times and getting answers to questions even when a sales associate is not available

At dmexco, visitors had the opportunity to experience the demo first-hand and were able to win their perfect pair of running shoes.

What you should consider

During the AMA session at the SMARTASSISTANT booth, visitors had the chance to talk with experts from SMARTASSISTANT,, and OSRAM Einstone.

Here are the 5 top tips that emerged from those conversations regarding installing beacons in retail stores:

  1. Define a Beacon Strategy - Create goals, objectives and KPIs to measure the success of your initiative.
  2. Create a Useful App That Offers an Added Value - There are many apps out there. Make your app stand from the crowd by promoting how it adds value to shoppers. Encourage app downloads, opt-in, and participation by highlighting the benefits for consumers.
  3. Focus on Understanding Your Shopper's Needs - With SMARTASSISTANT, you can create need-based digital advisors that only ask questions relevant to the shopper by integrating existing profile information.
    Read more: What is Guided Selling and How Does it Work?
  4. Educate In-Store Personnel - Educate your staff about the program and its objectives so they can answer questions and address concerns.
  5. Test and Learn - Be a fast mover and use incremental, iterative low-risk approaches. Don't be afraid to test different approaches and optimize as you learn.

Contact us for more information about how you can get started today.