Macy's adds in-store functionality to app to improve the customer experience -
They are catching up with technology retailers can have now with iConnect.
The new tools are geared specifically toward in-store shoppers. The app updates automatically with store inventory, product reviews, and a price comparison calculator. These features appear by default on the app’s home screen when a shopper walks into the store.
The app leverages beacon technology. Macy’s uses beacons in its stores to drive location-based activity in its app. Beacons are small, wireless devices that transmit Bluetooth signals, which the app can receive. Those signals trigger an action, such as updating store inventory or offering a discount.
Over time, we expect Macy’s and other major retailers to make more use of beacons to push discounts to shoppers. 60% of US shoppers who've never tried in-store tracking before say that receiving discounts and coupons would drive them to opt in. A further 47% cite loyalty rewards as something that would push them to opt-in to location-based messages.
60% of US shoppers who've never tried in-store tracking before say that receiving discounts and coupons would drive them to opt in. A further 47% cite loyalty rewards as something that would push them to opt-in to location-based messages.
Kudos to Macy’s for adapting, but did you know that your retail establishment could have the same technology TODAY?
- Customer Tracking Technologies
- How the camera function works
- Bluetooth low energy beacons
- Tracking Smartphones with MAC addresses as they shop your store
- Heat seeking cameras & Heat mapping
Retail marketers have been slow on the uptake of in-store analytics, but with the advent of multiple technologies to track, locate, and engage customers inside the store marketers can now combine them to create a holistic marketing strategy for their customers.
It is obvious that customer concerns will shape the way these technologies will be used, but there can be no doubt that retail marketers are taking the bandwagon to in-store analytics.
Read More and download the white paper at the end of the article
Low Energy (BLE) BEACONS
By Amitesh Sinha
This requires implementation of a wide range of marketing technologies that can track and recognize customers using cameras, their smartphones, Bluetooth beacons, and by implementing various Shopper Intelligence Analytics (SIA) technologies. –
- The use of surveillance cameras
- Location based marketing through smartphones
- Use of Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for pin pointing customer location
The technology is already in place in various airports and shopping centers where it is being used to monitor the queuing time of the customers, their preferences, disabilities, as well as gauging how customers spend their time after going through security, and which shops they mostly visit at duty free. Shopping malls routinely use it to improve layout of stores and aisles and make it easier for customers to enjoy a good shopping experience.
This information can include information about personal disabilities, the products that they frequent, or found hard to find, etc.
When the customer visits the store again, the software matches the image with an existing database. If a match is identified, the program can alert the staff with information about customer preferences and last purchase orders.
Tracking complete footages of customers has its limitations. Marketers can use the data collected only in a certain number of ways without infringing on their customers’ privacy.
To overcome these limitations, retail marketers are employing different methods of tracking foot traffic and the time spent in store by their customers.
One of them includes using cameras that over-pixilate the image while counting the traffic in the store. Euclid and Shopper Trak were the earliest developers, whose ideas were used to further the rise of this technology.
A San Francisco startup, the Prism Labs are the pioneers who have developed a software technology that allows marketers to easily map the behavior of their in-store customers.
The technology uses surveillance footage for the store and uses it to track customer’s movements. The imaging software continuously overlays image after image to create an aggregate of all the customer whereabouts as well as the items they touched. The end result is shown as a heat map with the busiest regions in the store shown in brighter color coding.
Furthermore, the software also offers an option for timeline that allows marketers to know the activity levels in the store, the shopping hours that were the most lucrative, and how customers navigated through the space.
The best part about the technology is that the data collected is anonymous --
But unlike other technologies, LbM allows marketers to send out promotions and discounts tailored to the needs of their customer’s smartphones.
With the help of specialized tracking devices, marketers can triangulate the smartphone’s position and hence the customer.
What more can marketers want than knowing which area of the store their customer is in? Since MAC address tracking also allows them to add customer preferences into their database, they can easily match past transactions.
Marketers can use that to send targeted promotions through mails, or on the app that a customer has downloaded for using the WiFi service.
iBeacons, or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), allows marketers to locate customer to within inches of store shelves as well as track their foot traffic through the aisles. Originally, iBeacon was a brand name coined by Apple for its micro-location technology. Now a majority of new devices entering the market, are all BLE compatible. This includes, among others, Nokia Lumias, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, etc.
These BLE signals can be transmitted between compatible devices through the use of compatible as well as third-party hardware commonly known as beacons. This requires the customer to opt in to this option, as it not only allows the marketers to pin point the exact location of the customer inside their store, but also to directly push relevant content to their devices.
iBeacons and BLE are providing marketers with a completely new marketing channel with which to pinpoint the location of their customers and send out targeted and relevant content to their devices.
Examples, can range from experimenting with the placement of a product based on the traffic that an area is receiving to changing the layout of an aisle and shelves to make it roomier and hence increase customer stay, etc. The ideas can easily be expanded throughout the store.
Did a messier environment draw more customers to a specific area or a cleaner one? What about the number of items that were on display: do customers prefer a minimalist layout or an ambient one? The tracking technologies offer a diverse range of metrics that can be computed to give a holistic analysis of customer behavior.
It often happens that customers simply leave the store because there weren’t enough staff members to serve them. As a result, retailers can aggregate the number of people that normally come to their store and hence employ more staff members to serve these customers and prevent them from leaving the store out of frustration for the lack of staffing.
iConnect is a leading technology service provider as well as a consultant in technological innovation, management, and IT. Our services span the length of the software development spectrum including integration, infrastructure services, mobile apps, staffing, and web design solutions for our clients.
Committed to technological innovation and progress, we have been serving retail, homebuilders, public sector, transportation, RFID, and more.
Mr. Sinha’s professional synergies make him a significant choice for commercial and government agencies where he has been successful delivering cutting edge solutions and services according to the company demands and contemporary business requirements. He is in the list of top most furniture consultants, retail consultant and retail home furnishing specialist, facilitating Ashley home-stores providing centralized, unified and easily replicated database system to perform their query operations on a single click.
Sinha earned MBA from JBIMS, Mumbai India and started his professional career from Stock Holding Corporation India Limited and served for 07 years. In 2000, he moved to USA, and established iConnect group, a professional consultancy business with a focus on technology management and delivering services. The iConnect group currently works with top notch companies to steer short-term and long-term technology strategies, and providing flexible solutions by anticipating their needs and requirements.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Work: 703-471-3964 * 241 | Cell: 703-899-9630