Here's how Kiwi retailers can shine bright like a beacon...

“Where beacons are used effectively, retailers are seeing a reaction of surprise and delight from consumers, rather than any negative back-lash.”

Kiwi mobile marketing company VMob aims to capitalise on the potential around beacons for retailers here and abroad as the much-hyped mobile marketing trend takes hold.

Retailers rushing to deploy beacon technology are at risk of not maximising its potential by launching without a robust strategic engagement plan, strong business case or sufficient usage controls – effectively reversing the engagement by turning shoppers off due to quick-fire beacon activation.

According to CEO Scott Bradley, the real value in using beacons lies in giving retailers the ability to be very targeted with their advertising, in many cases serving less advertising, but ads served are more effective.

Speaking from New York, Bradley says VMob’s in-store beacon functionality provides direct integration into the VMob platform built in-house, rather than by a third-party, to combine with other live data points such as location history, in-app browsing data, local weather and social media profile data to personalise campaigns.

VMob’s beacon offering is cemented in the approach that shoppers should only receive beacon related content when it’s relevant, not every time they walk past a particular item.

Extensive internal testing was undertaken before making the beacon platform available to customers, including establishing dummy virtual store layouts to test various location based and targeting functions.

VMob CEO Scott Bradley says retailers have a right to be cautious about rolling out beacon technology.

“It’s a very personal step to start communicating with a shopper based on exactly where they are in the store and when you get personal there’s even greater risk if you get it wrong," he says.

“Where beacons are used effectively, retailers are seeing a reaction of surprise and delight from consumers, rather than any negative back-lash.”

Beyond simply using beacons to trigger a push message based on proximity to a beacon, Bradley believes that generally the most basic use, customisation of an app based on shopper location within a store amplifies engagement and relevance.

For example, an app changing as customers approach ordering in a QSR, interactive advertising campaigns and loyalty programmes based on search terms or even to identify VIP customers.

In-store traffic analysis is another distinct beacon functionality provided by VMob, where a beacon may not actually serve to a shopper’s smartphone but instead can report data back to a secure server.

Intelligence is collected on shopper volumes in particular store areas, interaction with the app and dwell times – giving retailers valuable information to optimise store layouts and improve foot traffic flow.

VMob is currently working with customers in the initial stages of beacon rollouts in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

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