Bloomberg and GigaOm, think retailers should be interested in micro location marketing with iBeacons. What problems do they solve for retailers and shoppers?
What are the use cases for iBeacons in retail stores?
Many retailers do weekly circulars that have 24 pages and four colors. Not all shoppers want to spend the effort and time to search through the circulars before coming to the store. So giving shoppers visibility to circular deals at the shelf when the customer is in the act of making a buying decision could help sales.
Often deals for customers in a retailer’s loyalty program are different than deals in the retailer’s circulars. So those deals can be fed into beacons and served up to customers as well. It’s but one example of personalization.
Many retailers have departments that are seasonal and they want to mark down the inventory and re-invest the cash into other categories. Examples are Halloween candy and ski parkas. This has been going in retail forever, but tools that optimize gross margins could be improved.
Stores accept returns on items bought for as long as 30 days. They cannot advertise these items as new, and the amount of inventory declines in value every week it ages. Today, store manager specials are the way this inventory is liquidated. Big electronics retailers see a better way by enabling a customer to bump a beacon for a deal, and optimize the pricing as the item ages.
Many categories have obvious missed cross selling opportunities because the retail customer simply forgot to get the related item and put it in their shopping cart or basket. This is a common imperative in almost all retail-namely to increase basket size by cross selling a related item.
Each of these use cases addresses a distinct and different objective. Therefore they have different business justifications and different benefits and costs.
You spend marketing funds for circulars and coupons to drive traffic to the store...but shoppers are spending more and more time with their smart phones comparing ratings and reviews, features and pricing from sources other than you. This new approach converts the shopper to a buyer.