The bottom line for BLE is that retailers are looking to use it as a way to improve their own bottom lines. The trick to driving incremental spend is customer engagement. By demonstrating that they understand customers’ needs, by adding incentives for use, and by empowering the customer, BLE apps can encourage repeat business and increase ticket sizes.

Value added applications

One of the main incentives for consumers to download an app is the value added by the app’s features. There’s a great deal of discussion in the industry about using apps to integrate BLE functionality, online shopping carts, wish lists, shopping lists, store locators, and support features into a single program that empowers the customer and facilitates an omnichannel retail strategy.

Apps that don’t represent value add for the customer experience are unlikely to become successful because they don’t give the customer a reason to download and use the app. Consumers should feel that apps (1) allow them to do things they previously couldn’t do and (2) allow them to do more easily and conveniently things they already could do.

Personalized experiences

Consumers want a personalized experience. They want to feel like businesses earn their money by understanding what the shopper wants and needs. Research indicates that consumers are much more receptive to advertising and marketing that they perceive to be directly relevant to them. Notifications, discounts, and other related messages need to be targeted at and useful to the consumer.

BLE promises to improve personalization by allowing retailers to push notifications and offers to app users based on their location, loiter time, and items of interest. By focusing on what customers are doing, apps can accurately gauge customer interests and provide personalized experiences.

Incentivized usage

The retailer needs to demonstrate to customers that their app is a simple, yet powerful way to transform the shopping experience and make the customers’ lives easier. The added value and personalized experience provided by BLE apps should be significant incentives for customer usage, but retailers need to stay on top of their material in order to maintain their customers’ interest.

Customers need to perceive that the benefits offered by a shopping app are dynamic; they should see offers update from visit to visit, and recommendations should explore more than the same few items.

For example, a grocery store might offer one recipe recommendation per visit, and the recommendation for each shopper may reflect dishes that can be made with items from the specific shelves or bins they’ve visited on their current trip. Notifications might alert the shopper to specials on items they’ve purchased within the last week or two or to current deals in their most-frequented departments.