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Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!
Powered by BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology, Beacons are devices that can transmit messages to other Bluetooth-enabled gizmos, such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. More important, beacons have the capabilities to “recognize” devices based on their location or previous interactions. This enables retailers to send tailored notifications to shoppers depending on where they are in the store or what type of customer they are.
So, if say, a returning customer walks in, the store’s beacon can send her a “welcome back!” message, and when that shopper passes by the footwear section and the merchant happens to have a sale on shoes, the store can give her a heads up via a smartphone alert.
Beacons can also be used for in-store analytics purposes. Most solutions come with tools for measuring foot traffic, dwell time, and more, enabling retailers to gather data and further get to know their customers and their store.
Bluetooth beacons are a powerful new technology used to increase customer interaction and provide timely information on sales. Beacons are small transmitters which send a low energy signal easily picked up by a nearby device, typically a smart phone. If a customer has your company’s app installed, a beacon can send them notifications or a social media messages based on their proximity to the product itself. For example, if a customer approaches a jeans display, the beacon could update the customer on special buys, promotions, or coupons related to jeans –pinpoint advertising at the time of purchase, at the place of purchase.
The beauty of beacons is in their simplicity. A Bluetooth beacon is like a lighthouse; it sends a signal to all devices in range. It cannot recognize devices, receive information via Bluetooth, or send personalized information. However, all of these things can be done by your franchise’s app. The signal the beacon sends does not actually carry information; it simply prompts your store’s app to perform a certain action. Some beacons do occasionally send diagnostic data to the franchise’s owner, but typically the beacon prompts the app which does the heavy lifting. Because of this, beacons use very little power. Depending on how frequently the beacon sends its signal, it can run for seven months or even several years off a single charge.
Bluetooth beacons can also track customer activity. While the beacon itself cannot detect customer proximity, your store’s app can track how long a customer was in the store, looking at a specific aisle, lingering in a particular department. This can provide you, the retailer, with valuable information regarding customer activity. Tracking how often a customer is in your store can help you keep track of your regulars and reward them for spending time in the store, regardless of how many transactions they make. Additionally, knowing which displays and items draw a customer’s attention is valuable data! If a customer spends a lot of time in front of a display without purchasing anything, the app could offer a sale on items he or she is interested in but previously passed up. You can also use this information to plan sales, improve your store’s layout, and fine-tune your inventory.
Bluetooth beacons offer several clear advantages over conventional displays. Consider cost and clutter. Bluetooth beacons are superior because they take up none of your valuable retail real estate and offer advertising at minimal cost. Bluetooth beacons use very little power and require no maintenance. Once a message is created, there is no cost to display it. While a conventional display – an endcap or even a simple sign — must be manufactured and placed in the store where they can be damaged, a beacon sends a signal which prompts your company’s app to send a customer a timely notification. Signs and displays, which take up marketable space, can be replaced with more merchandise.
The leaders in the Bluetooth beacon industry are currently Apple, with the iBeacon, and Google, with Eddystone. Either of these brands can be used to send information to any platform (Apple or Android). There are a few important differences between these models. While all iBeacons are battery powered, Eddystone can be charged via a Micro USB port. In addition, Eddystone sends diagnostic information periodically which can be useful to identify faulty beacons.