Retail

How Beacons And Mobile Are Fueling Commerce Innovation

How Beacons And Mobile Fuel Retail Innovation

As more retailers try to get more shoppers into their stores – not everything is about eCommerce, after all – new technologies are playing a big role. That includes beacons.

That technology promises to play a bigger role this holiday shopping season, according to an analysis. “Many retailers use beacons now, but they’re almost always hidden,” that report said. “There’s really no reason for beacons to be hidden. By being more transparent with in-store technology, brands can help dispel some of the negative connotations around ‘push marketing.’ Shoppers know they’re there and should have the option of communicating with the beacon for relevant content that helps them shop and gives those who want it a more streamlined experience.”

New Beacon Growth

Experts expect more use of the technology during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

“Beacons are small, battery-operated wireless devices that transmit Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones,” explains another recent report. “In the context of retail, beacons can reach customers who have Bluetooth enabled and the right retail apps transferred onto their phones. In a retail manufacturing, the main focus is to attract the attention of consumers at that moment and in that place which can most affect their decision to buy. As customers are becoming more and more mobile, they faster make a decision which product to purchase.”

The market is growing and will reach some $10.2 billion by 2024, according to one new estimate, which represents a CAGR of 45.5 percent since 2018. “Regionally, the market for beacon technology is gaining traction and expanding to various regions including Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe and CIS, South America and Middle East and Africa,” that report said. “Owing to the early adoption of technology and presence of major players in the region, North America is expected to acquire the majority share during the forecast period. Moreover, major U.S. retailers such as Target and Walmart have started implementing beacons in retail stores.”

Related Innovation

Beacons are hardly the only innovation physical retailers are turning to as the holidays and a new decade approach. Other newer technology also can help breathe new life into brick-and-mortar retail.

One idea, as explained in a recent PYMNTS interview with Adam Levene, founder of a retail technology company called Hero, is to plug the physical store, so to speak, into the larger digital and mobile worlds where consumers are increasingly operating. That means, among other tasks, helping to enable in-store retail associates to use the latest mobile technology – and that includes emerging 5G mobile network technology – to better serve consumers and offer a deeper customer experience.

“It’s a great time to be transforming retail,” Levene said. “And retailers are making bigger bets on [omnichannel] technology.”

Indeed, such technology is being used by retailers to better meet consumers on their own terms and platforms. In general, omnichannel consists of consumers researching an item online, then going into a store and talking to salespeople, or just using their smartphones in the store to research the item there. They check the prices of what they want (also known as showrooming), then buy the item online where it’s cheaper.

The Hero proposition basically comes down to deploying its mobile app so store employees can interact with consumers online. For instance, via its work with Nike, Hero has deployed its app to certain Nike stores, and that means consumers can communicate with associates working at the nearest store and can use video, chat and live streaming to get advice about size, colors and other product choices.

Expect more work on beacons and these other areas of innovation in the coming year.

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