New rules of engagement: Location tech and customer loyalty

  • With the right info and experience, shoppers can be turned from browsers to buyers
  • ‘Locationing’ definitely the next big thing in retail, puts more power behind loyalty apps

New rules of engagement: Location tech and customer loyaltyTODAY’S customers have endless opportunities and choices with the introduction of Internet and mobile alternatives for retail therapy.
 
Retailers increasingly recognise that to stay competitive and provide a new, more personalised shopping experience for customers, they need technology.
 
One interesting technology solution that is set to make waves in the retail sector is the use of location-based technology.
 
According to MicroMarket Monitor’s report on location-based services (LBS) in Asia Pacific, the region is expected to experience a large amount of growth in geo-location technology use, with revenue figures expanding more than six times from 2014 to 2019.
 
Through geo-location technologies, everyone’s shopping experience can be markedly different.
 
For instance, shoppers can use retailer’s smartphone apps to create detailed shopping lists. Once near the vicinity of the mall, with the proper in-store WiFi solution in place, shoppers will be prompted to connect, and be provided with access to store directions and offers specific to their needs.
 
Contrary to the ‘showrooming’ effect that many retailers fear, consumers who use mobile devices in stores often spend more money while there, too.
 
According to Google’s How Mobile is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores report, frequent mobile shoppers spend 25% more in stores than those who only occasionally use a mobile phone to help with shopping.
 
The increased spending is across a variety of retail sectors, including appliances, groceries, baby care, electronics, health and beauty, and apparel.
 
Geo-location technologies can ensure the right set of information are shared with shoppers in the aisle when buying decisions are being made, turning them from browsers to buyers.
 
Personalised shopping experiences are becoming a reality and are set to aid retailers’ bid to extend customer loyalty.
 
Making personal customer engagement a reality

New rules of engagement: Location tech and customer loyalty

‘Locationing’ platforms are the new shiny carrots that enable retailers to capture more insight into shopping behaviours. More than that, they can unlock the door to a new level of business success.
 
The latest generation of solutions can reveal which aisles and products customers prefer, which products they purchased in the past, and what influences their buying decisions.
 
This level of visibility makes new, deeper transactions possible and empowers loyalty applications to evolve to deliver even more value to customers, such as:

  • Greet customers as they arrive and provide repeat customers with discounts based on their previous purchases;
  • Reward customers with location-based coupons that are sent directly to the customers’ mobile phones;
  • Offer shoppers way-finding assistance via digital store maps to quickly find the products they want;
  • Prompt associates to tend to customers who linger in certain areas;
  • Communicate promotions based on shopper proximity and relevancy; and
  • Marry retail and e-tail for a seamless, personalised shopping experience.

To make locationing a reality and reap all of its considerable business rewards, retailers need several important things: A loyalty app with a strong base of users, and a compelling value proposition to continue to drive engagement and downloads.
 
From there, a new level of mobile marketing can take flight.
 
How it works

New rules of engagement: Location tech and customer loyalty

Next-generation locationing engines use the WiFi or Bluetooth Smart features of mobile phones to determine where customers are in the store and define the action that should take place based on that location.
 
Easy and cost-effective to deploy, these solutions deliver three powerful levels of identification capabilities, allowing you to consistently provide every customer with ‘personal shopper/ concierge’ style services right from the app in the palm of their hands.
 
Retailers are then empowered to communicate the right offer at the right location at the right time – creating an impact on customers and business.

  • Presence: Presence provides some critical pieces of customer information. It detects when a customer walks in the door via WiFi or Bluetooth Smart, or if network coverage extends outside, when they pull into the parking lot. This allows for the opportunity for a personalised welcome message, promotional coupon or the location of items on their shopping list.
  • Zone: Zone allows WiFi or Bluetooth Smart to identify when customers are in specific areas of the store, like the lobby or electronics department. This allows you to dispatch an associate to the area for assistance or again, push product information or personalised coupons to their mobile devices.
  • Position: Position-level details allow retailers to pinpoint a customer’s exact location. This type of visibility can identify individual aisles and product interaction, leading to any number of potential and real-time interactions.

The more real-time information retailers have, the better service customers can expect, and the more revenue generated per customer.
 
Locationing is definitely the next big thing in retail. It puts more power behind retailers’ loyalty app, giving retailers an opportunity to add value to customer relationships in new, dynamic ways via a device that is always within reach.
 
The latest platforms deliver instant visibility to what’s happening in the store – how many customers there are and where they are in relation to staff.
 
Such real-time flow analytics help contribute to a reduction in wait times, speed up checkout processes, and present an invaluable opportunity to provide relevant, contextual offers and attentive service that can elevate the shopper experience.
 
When evaluating options, retailers should look for solutions that provide multiple levels of presence, capture and store data and allow access to the system from anywhere on virtually any device.
 
Advanced analytics will help identify buying trends, traffic patterns and customer behaviours so that all elements of the store experience can be optimised in real-time to drive efficiencies and greater profitability.
 
Investing in the right locationing solution will give retailers an opportunity to engage with customers in exciting new ways, and win their business – and loyalty – every time they shop.
 
Ryan Goh is vice president and general manager, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific
 
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