Top Retailers That Are Enhancing CX Through Location-Based Services

2nd May 2017

In order to be a great retailer, you need to understand only one thing: the customer.

Retail Customer Experience through Location Based Services

Customers, especially millennials, can be a complex bunch. While most businesses can’t figure out how they make their purchasing decisions, some forward-thinking retailers have been using innovative LBS technologies to mine their digitally driven lives.

Location-based technologies such as Beacons, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC are among the most sought after technologies because of their potential to analyze real-time customer data and provide a deeper understanding of customer behaviours and their shopping patterns.  LBS leverages contextual data to generate store analytics such as in-store traffic patterns for both buyers and non-buyers, revealing deeper insights into customer behavior, shopping trends, and dwell time. Retailers equipped with this information can engage customers with relevant and personalized offers, efficient store check-in models, store navigation, and overall operations management.

While most retailers claim ‘customer experience’ to be a top priority for them, let’s look at the ones which are actually delivering it.

Sephora’s Innovative Tech Makeover:

Sephora, the beauty brand has always attached a lot of importance to in-store shopping experience and personal interactions. To prove that, they took the beauty products concealed behind the counters to the forefront where the customers could touch, feel, and explore the product before making a purchase. Continuing with the endeavor to keep its brick and mortar stores appealing to customers, the brand recently created a high-styled Innovative Lab to develop and test a wide range of digital experiments to enhance the shopping experience.

The lab’s first digital initiative included rolling out of Beacons across its two San Francisco stores.. If customers had the brand’s mobile app installed on their smartphones, the beacons could notify them about in-store activities such as makeovers and makeup tutorials. They also received useful alerts about promotions and personalized offers.

The other offering of the lab is an augmented reality front-window display, which features interesting stories on female founders of leading cosmetics brands; the immersive experience took the store engagement a notch higher.  Product Contour, a customized mobile app based makeup tutorial product was yet another innovative stride by the brand to enhance its customer’s experience, making Sephora an experience destination!

Nordstrom Creating Fulfilling Store Experiences:

As part of their omnichannel strategy and to make shopping more convenient for its customers, Nordstrom launched a new service called ‘click and collect.’ Customers could now purchase products online and pick them up from the nearest brick and mortar store or even return a product that was purchased online. The fun doesn’t end here. Nordstrom elevates the customer experience by having in store beacons scan a customer’s mobile app to check if the item in their online shopping bag is available at the store. If it is, then the customer is notified about its availability. This way Nordstrom successfully  integrated its physical and digital stores and gave customers what they value most – convenience and speed.

Lord&Taylor

While there are a lot of retailers using LBS technologies to enhance in store experience, what’s particularly fascinating about Lord and Taylor is that the beacons deployed at their stores work perfectly across third-party apps. This means that customers can access all their exclusive promotions and without the hassle of installing an extra app.  As the customer walks down the store aisle, beacon triggers hyper-local offers onto their mobile devices. There are beacons who function on the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, perfect for devices which do not support Bluetooth.

Macy’s keeps it Engaging

Macy’s is loved  for its expansive and personalized product offerings. Remember its Manhattan flagship store, where customers could print their own jewelry and phone cases designs using a 3D printer? The brand is known for high level of customer engagement whether it is the nostalgic Thanksgiving Believe campaign outside the store or augmented reality in-store experience. It also leveraged LBS technologies to encourage  customers to participate in interesting digital activities and instantly win a gift voucher. Apart from personalized offers, Macy’s also used a beacon-triggered mobile app game at its stores to engage its shoppers on the occasion of Thanksgiving. Macy’s clearly knows how to foster a connection with its customers.

Alex and Ani

The Rhode Island-based jewelry brand pushed the bars for the location-based technology like Beacon beyond the ambit of push notifications. Instead, all the beacons rolled out in 40 of its stores were used to optimize floor layout and product placement. It used the beacons to educate the customers about its product and to create more compelling, personalized customer experiences with an aim to provide value and offer at the time of need when customers are in the store. The retailer saw a significant lift in app open rates and offer redemption rates after leveraging Beacon technology.

Neiman Marcus

The retailer successfully deployed beacons to drive more visibility to its in-store events during the  highly competitive holiday season. It also engages the customers by pushing multiple offers related to their purchasing journey. The Beacon program helped store associates provide a differentiated brand experience to the customers at the store by engaging them with relevant messages throughout different areas of the store. The messages inform shoppers about the event and directions to the event.

According to Bret Cunningham, President, BestFit Mobile, the iBeacon solution provider, “The approach helped us take a shopper-first mentality so that the experience is fun and drives people to the events; all while aligning the marketing messaging and the sales associates’ understanding of the program.”

Woolworths’

Supermarket giant Woolworths is another retailer that successfully used LBS technologies to provide convenient pick up options to its customers. Once the customer is within a certain distance from the store, a notification is triggered to the Woolworths picking system, and the staff gets the order ready before the customer arrives, thus minimizing wait time. They also send notifications at different stages of order fulfillment to keep them posted. Their ‘click and collect’ model works perfectly for their time-sensitive customers.  

Carrefour enhances CX by 400 percent

Committed to delivering a great shopping experience, Carrefour allows its customer to use its mobile app to find any product inside the store. They know that customers don’t like to spend unnecessary time shopping in stores so their mobile app which includes geo location, also optimizes the customer’s shopping route through indoor navigation. No wonder, they managed to catapult their mobile app engagement by a staggering 400%. After all, everybody is thankful for such a streamlined and an efficient shopping experience.

Meadowhall earns Purple Apple Merit Award for its Engagement

Meadowhall, an indoor shopping center in UK, won the Purple Apple Merit Award for successfully leveraging LBS technology to provide an engaging gaming experience at one of their premier events. The event had big retailers as Hotel Chocolate, House of Fraser, Krispy Kreme, and Cath Kidston participating and attracting shoppers with personalized offers, discounts, and freebies. Shoppers downloaded a record 500 apps in the first three minutes of the event with 120 hotspot offers getting redeemed in the first 52 minutes, making the event a runaway success.

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer introduced free Wi-Fi at its stores in the UK. It allows customers the freedom to compare product prices online and access product ratings and reviews while they continue to browse in the store. By having customers log on to their store WiFi, they also gathered information about their  past purchases and current sale, which was then used to design on the spot personalized coupons and vouchers. They also equip their customer service assistants with Ipads to provide detailed product description and check the availability of desired products in store.

Retailers playing LBS to their advantage

Location-based technologies are all set to play a significant role in infrastructure based industries as evidenced by a recent research. Out of 4.5 million beacons expected to be active by 2018, 3.5 million of them are to be rolled out in brick-and-mortar alone. And if these facts don’t sound compelling enough then the forecast of location-based service market all set to explode from a $15 billion economy in 2016 to phenomenal $77 billion by 2021 must give retailers enough reasons to trust LBS to give their CX the most engaging makeover!

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