5 Reasons Why Proximity Marketing Matters for Retailers in 2017

13th Jan 2017

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In 2006, Amazon’s market value was $17.5B, while Sears’ market value was $27.8B. In 2016, Amazon shot up to $355.9B, while Sears plummeted to $1.1B. With a statistic like this, how do we make sense of the fact that “brick and mortar sales accounted for 92.3 percent of retail sales in the first quarter of 2016?”

Retail isn’t dead, but it’s in trouble, and this year we will see it transform. Retailers who understand the changing environment know it’s critical to invest in creative strategies to connect the physical and digital worlds.

Last year we saw enterprises testing the waters for proximity marketing, while researchers were trying to understand the benefits of this contextual based technology. But now, in 2017, enterprises are integrating proximity marketing as a core piece of their marketing strategy, while researchers are heavily supporting the fact that this technology is crucial for retailers to survive in the physical world.

Here are five reasons that succinctly enumerate inevitable reasons for the retail industry to get on to the proximity bandwagon while there is still time to approach it meticulously.

Bridge the Glaring Difference Between Brick and Click Domain

E-commerce was able to take over the brick and mortar retail sector because of its foresightedness to capitalize on the ease of the medium to connect with customers anytime, anywhere and of course, at their preferable time. This medium included a goody bag of exclusive customized offerings, coupons, and other frills. E-commerce remained focused on its intent to understand different customer segments and their varied needs through a deep study of huge customer related data generated online. This data was used strategically in decision making to help design personalized experience for its customers.  It’s time; retail needs to shift focus from “selling goods” to realizing and investing in the potential of their brick and mortar stores through the use of in-store technologies like proximity and beacons in their premises. Retailers have to boost their unique selling point and rekindle the magic of buying products through touch and feel by enhancing the in-store ambiance and convenience. 

Enrich the Customer Engagement Network

Creating a customer engagement network is the next progressive level the proactive retailer will be taking on in 2017 to enrich their customer experiences. The engagement network will focus primarily on aligning the technology and digital framework of an enterprise to create an exceptional customer experience.  Some critical areas of emphasis in customer experience would be to engage the customer even before they enter the shop, keep the uninterested parties entertained, for example, the free Wi-Fi can help keep the customer’s children busy and occupied.

You can redefine personalized experiences by using RFID chips. Clothing tagged with a chip might trigger a song when the customer takes the clothes to a fitting room. Beyond that, an RFID touch screen can let you browse through different styles available in store without you leaving the fitting room. Furthermore, there are virtual associates to help you with a query and self-checkout lanes to decrease check out times. These are some of the trends to look forward to in 2017 that will help retailers redefine customer experience through proximity technology and marketing.

Capitalize on Big Data and IOT

Retail is generating an enormous amount of data and is a huge source for Big data. The IOT will considerably contribute to this pool in the future. How can you possibly plan to use and leverage this data? The data is all set to play a critical role in helping enterprises understand and bond with their customers in a very meaningful way. In order to design that personalized experience or create that unique offer that will have customers running to your store, you have to become an expert on your customer’s behavior, know them inside out, research their preferences, and understand their buying patterns. 2017 will see several retailers deploying customer acquisition platforms based on proximity, location-based technologies, and services that will use data stored in the CRM to foster a better understanding and stronger bond with the customers. The coming together of CIOs and CMOs in an enterprise is a clear projection of data trending in a big way on the marketing turf.

Invest in Mobile Marketing

Over half of an average adult’s daily internet usage time is spent on mobile devices. A report stated that the average time spent by an adult on the internet has increased from 0.4 hours in 2010 to 5.4 hours in 2016. Of this, 2.8 hours was spent on mobile devices. The unprecedented  increase in the number of mobile devices will have a significant increase in its reach as well. To be in the ambit of a customer’s reach, it will be important for retailers to bridge the physical and digital divide.

Re-Energize your Brick and Mortar Stores

During this last holiday season, the International Council of Shopping Centers found that “86% of millennials used a mobile device while shopping in-stores, and 96% made a purchase from those retailers.” This statistic alone tells us that the traditional age old in-store shopping is definitely here to stay. However, for retailers to get back into the race full throttle, it absolutely has to revamp and embrace new technology.  It cannot afford to remain complacent with the customer walking into the store anymore. An in-store shopper is a huge potential, and retailers must make all efforts to engage and involve the customer, put them at ease and comfort while they take a stroll across the floor, assisting them in a meaningful way. And, all this can happen only if you and your store are prepared and equipped to deliver an experience that gets customers coming back to your store again.

By investing in location-based technologies, deploying proximity marketing in their strategy, upgrading store infrastructure with free and seamless Wi-Fi, enterprises can use contextual intelligence to understand its customers and create brand equity for its stores. The retail sector’s infrastructure should align with the customers evolving needs. Learn how to transform your physical store with proximity marketing. Click below to request a demo.

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