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Marketing Beacons – Proximity Marketing Without An App

Maybe this situation sounds familiar. You’re in your favorite store looking at a pair of shoes when suddenly a notification pops up on your mobile device letting you know that it’s your lucky day, those exact shoes happen to be on sale! This, in a nutshell, is proximity marketing.

woman using proximity marketing beacon
Retail beacon --> smartphone --> direct customer interaction!

What are Proximity Marketing Beacons?

A marketing beacon by its most simple definition is a transmitter that broadcasts a signal to other nearby devices using Near Field Communication technology (NFC), like say, the Bluetooth in your mobile phone! The use of marketing beacons to track customer movements while in your place of business is commonly referred to as proximity marketing.

What this means is that through the use of various tools, such as NFC tags and stickers or QR codes, you can find out what your customers are truly interested in as they browse your products. Essentially, proximity marketing beacons provide you direct insight to exactly what it is that your customers want the most.

Why Not Require Users To Download An App?

wonderland research department

Big box retailers, such as Starbucks, Target, and Lowes all have apps that allow customers to enhance their experience in store by finding special deals. Most people use their smartphone to search for items they are interested in buying. When you download an app, such as the Target app, it tracks the items you search for. Then, while you are in the store it will display ads for those items and other relevant products.

This is a great solution for marketers, as it directly targets customers while they’re inside brick and mortar locations. However, many people do not feel that downloading an app is always worth it, so there is a significant barrier to entry for smaller businesses that do not have the same budget or brand recognition as larger chains.

This is where proximity marketing beacons that don’t require users to download an app are useful in leveling the playing field.

How Proximity Marketing Without An App Works

Most modern smart devices have the ability to read NFC tags and QR codes without the need to download an external app. By leveraging these tools to your advantage, you can not only offer your clients special deals and savings, but you can track their movements and see what items they are looking at. This is valuable market research because you can learn which products consumers like to buy in sets, allowing you to maximize revenue by displaying products commonly purchased together in the same location.

marketing beacons in mall

Most Google devices running on Android software have the ability to read both NFC tags and QR codes without requiring a bulky third party app. Apple’s newer iOS based devices also have this capability. By placing QR codes and NFC tags on clothing and other items in your store you have direct insight into what your customer base wants most. When a client scans either of these items with their phone, a beacon is activated displaying relative information to them about the product.

Proximity Marketing Streamlines Your Workflow

Proximity marketing is one of the most effective methods of researching client desires and streamlining your business to attract those clients. By activating a beacon based marketing program you can turn every customer in your store into a virtual database of information.

Your NFC tags and QR codes will provide the customer with an experience that informs them and simplifies their shopping, while also providing you with statistics and demographics to help plan your next advertising campaign.

While having an app developed specifically for your product line can be costly and time consuming, you can begin to use proximity marketing without an app right away.

Final Thoughts on Proximity Marketing Beacons

Initially beacons didn’t take off like the marketing world believed they would, but this second wave looks promising. With the incorporation of more standardized NFC beacons such as Eddystone, this round appears that it will have the staying power the technology lacked at inception.

As a retailer, beacon marketing could be the most valuable tool in your toolbox.

Author: Marq Mosier

Marq Mosier is the Founder of Wonderland Marketing in Houston, TX. He specializes in helping small business owners find their voice in local markets through digital marketing, content development and community building.



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