The retail industry is excited about the potential of BLE technology and what it can offer to a business model. What is the value of BLE to retailers? The short answer: great. The long answer:
Personalized customer experience
BLE gives retailers the option to improve the customer experience by engaging customers with dynamic and personalized information. Many studies have concluded that customers respond well to personalized coupons, offers, and suggestions.
BLE enables retailers to use apps to push this kind of material to customers based on their location within the store, including what aisles or racks they are currently inspecting or what department they’re in.
Improved customer loyalty
Part of the personalized experience is having a high-visibility loyalty program that rewards consumers for repeat business. Research shows that engaging customers, especially through mobile, drives incremental spend. Loyalty programs offer a way to encourage incremental spend by offering the consumers something they want.
BLE factors into the loyalty equation because it allows retailers to further personalize the loyalty program based on specific items or departments for which the customer has a long loiter time, items in preferred sections, or items on wishlists or recently-viewed lists. Pushing a reminder at the right time can mean an extra item in the shopping cart.
Apps can also be used to draw shoppers into the store. BLE beacons can be positioned to send signals to people as they approach the retail location. If these potential customers have Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and relevant shopping apps, you can push them notifications about special offers or promotions running at that moment.
For more advanced apps with integrated online shopping carts or shopping lists, you can trigger a reminder to purchase certain items. Some companies have visualized apps that direct the consumer into the store and to the exact shelf that contains the item they bookmarked online.
Additionally, BLE can be used to generate business data about how customers shop, including travel patterns within the store, loiter time in certain areas, and responsiveness to offers.
Managers can use this information to modify floor plans, develop more effective marketing campaigns, and improve the flow of the customer’s shopping experience.
Improved customer service
Based on data from analytics, managers can reallocate sales associates or customer service representatives to areas with high foot traffic to help alleviate problems and address concerns. Customers are likelier to have a positive opinion of their shopping experience if they can easily find an associate to help resolve an issue or answer a question.
Some stores are also equipping their BLE-paired apps with options to request help. The help request is sent to the nearest departmental service desk based on signals from nearby BLE beacons, and an associate is dispatched to assist.