As Customer Expectations Change, Beacons Move Brick And Mortar Retailers Forward

With the growth of online retail and the evolution of mobile technology, customer expectations have evolved drastically when it comes to shopping experience. Whether it’s in-store or online, shoppers in 2017 care largely about two things: convenience and a great shopping experience.

The growth of e-commerce over the years comes as a result of its convenience. Customers can purchase an item with the click of a button and have it arrive on their doorstep in as little as a day. This only becomes easier in the mobile age, where consumers are tethered to their mobile devices and now purchasing via those devices. Each year mobile purchases take up a larger percentage of overall e-commerce sales, and the number is expected to continue growing throughout 2017.

Brick and mortar retail offers a different, yet equally important, element of convenience. The ability to see and touch a product in the store is something that most shoppers highly value. The option to purchase an item and immediately take it home also offers convenience. And since people have always been loyal to great stores, it is important for brick and mortar retailers to keep providing a great in-store experience.

Regardless of the inherent differences between offline and online shopping experience, shoppers now expect a certain level of personalized engagement from retailers, no matter which category they fall into. When a customer shops online, their information is saved to provide them with relevant product information, recommendations and deals at a later date. All of these factors involved with online shopping create a great, seamless experience for customers. They expect just as much of a great experience when they walk into a store.

In order to meet these expectations, brick and mortar retailers need to make shoppers feel valued when they enter a store. Customers like to feel remembered and appreciated, whether that be by an actual salesperson or by receiving in-store mobile messages. By implementing Bluetooth beacons and beacon-triggered messaging in their stores, brick and mortar retailers can bridge the personalization gap that exists between online and offline retail. Remembering that shoppers today are tethered to their mobile devices, beacon messaging sends shoppers relevant information where they already are—their phones. Large numbers of customers report using their smartphone as an in-store shopping assistant, and beacon messages can enhance that experience by providing them with welcome information and deals.

By implementing beacons, retailers are able to gather information about their customers and continue to optimize their content for those customers. Top retailers that have incorporated beacons into their marketing campaigns have seen significant results in their brick and mortar locations, such as a 41% increase in average basket size and a 36% increase in mall to store traffic during the holiday shopping season.

When it comes down to it, there really isn’t an “either/or” situation when it comes to online and in-store shopping. Most people shop using some combination of both, because there are benefits to each method. Implementing beacon technology can create a seamless omnichannel experience in-store that shoppers are expecting in the mobile age. The ability to meet those customer expectations will be what sets retailers apart in 2017.

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