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How Small Businesses Can Leverage Location Analytics

leverage location analytics
Daphne Blake

By Daphne Blake

When a customer walks by your storefront, do they know you want their business? Do they receive a welcoming SMS message with an offer tailored to their needs?

According to BeaconStac , not only do the majority of customers expect this kind of experience from the brands they trust – they look forward to it, too. 60% of consumers want a more personalized shopping experience, and more than 70% say a beacon-triggered notification will convince them to make a purchase.

If you've been uncertain about investing in location analytics, now's the time to make your move. Although only 11% of retailers plan to use beacon technology in 2017 and beyond, the drive for location analytics is increasing in other industries – and it's easy to see why. Capture real-time data about foot traffic and demographics. Make more informed decisions about inventory and store layout.

The good news? Location analytics are more affordable than ever, which means even small businesses can leverage insights to communicate directly and efficiently with their customers.

That's right – this tech isn't just for major retailers like Wal-Mart or McDonald's. It's for you, too. In this post, we'll show you just how to leverage location insights to improve sales, boost customer loyalty, and make your store more customer-friendly than ever – even if you don't have a background in big data.

Increase Engagement

increase engagement

According to mobile advertising firm Beintoo, customers are much more likely to open a beacon-triggered notification than a standard push notification. While 14% of customers will open a push notification, 54% will respond to a beacon-triggered notification – like an in-store coupon – because the offer is timely, relevant, and easy to redeem.

Capture the innate interest of your customers by personalizing your offers, asking for feedback about your products or services, and rewarding engagement, whether through a loyalty program or a referral program. And because you're tracking and analyzing both your location data and your sales data, you can make these personalized offers especially meaningful for your best – and most engaged – customers.

Don't forget to use your new insights to re-engage former customers, either. A well-timed offer based on insights about this customer's past visits and purchases could be just what they need to drop into your store again.

Take the Romanian retailer Carrefour, for example. When the popular shopping center installed iBeacons in all 28 of its locations, they increased customer engagement with their app by 400%. That's because the customers who used the app received helpful shopping suggestions, in-store navigation tips, and promotional offers – all of which made their trip through the store more efficient and valuable.

Drive Sales

drive sales

Data from beacons or location analytics software allows you to pinpoint where customers are browsing in your store. And a well-timed promotion sent to their smartphone could be enough to make the sale.

"Proximity marketing has the power to transform the customer experience, increase brand affinity, and drive sales uplift," Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Swirl, told Shopify.

"Early adopters are seeing remarkable results and generating highly valuable learnings that they are using to optimize future campaigns," Ozguc added. According to the data, Ozguc's observations are accurate. 73% of consumers are more likely to make an in-store purchase if they receive a relevant beacon notification while browsing.

Maybe you push a coupon or timed offer to a customer browsing down coats at your upscale retail establishment. It's an investment purchase, but your data says they've stayed in that area for quite a long time – which means they're on the fence. If you send a beacon notification with a coupon only good for today – for the exact product line they're considering – you might just transform your undecided customer into a satisfied one.

When Chow Tai Fook, a Chinese jewelry chain, started an e-coupon campaign using beacon technology, they drove $16 million in sales . Their hyper-targeted proximity marketing campaign engaged customers using a familiar app – WeChat – then rewarded them with a coupon to redeem in the store. More than 30% of their customers used the feature more than once, too.

Improve User Experience

improve user experience

When you accurately anticipate your customers' needs with location-based data, your offers become more relevant – and more likely to translate into sales. Go beyond personalized marketing offers and think about what kinds of problems you may need to help your customer solve.

For example, major retailers like Woolworth's have experimented with "click-and-collect" campaigns. This service allows customers to purchase an item online, then pick up the order at a nearby location. Fulfillment is triggered in the store through beacon technology, eliminating wait times for the customer.

Other retailers, like Carrefour, use location analytics to help customers identify where they want to go in the store – then help them navigate to that spot.

Retailers can enhance their store layout and learn about customers' preferences, explains Sarada Symonds at the Yeti blog. "By tracking where the user spends the most time in the store, retailers can develop specialized deals and recommend products for the customer."

While customer feedback can help you initiate services like these, it's really the data you track through beacon technology that will help you fine-tune your offer – and make you more valuable to your customers. Each data-fueled adjustment makes your storefront easier to navigate and highly personalized – which may be the make-or-break difference between you and your competitors.

Reward & Retain Loyal Customers

retain loyal customers

Customers aren't just looking for personalized offers – they want reminders that you appreciate their business. After all, they have plenty of choices – and you have plenty of competition.

Put another way, the customer conception of loyalty has completely shifted over the last decade. According to a study from Wunderman, 79% of customers want brands to show how much they care about the customer before the customer makes their purchase. This expectation can be tricky to navigate – but data can help.

Location analytics can – and should – fuel your customer loyalty efforts . Contests, rewards, points, and specialized offers all help increase engagement and drive repeat sales – and these are a snap to set up and track with beacons.

Want to reward customers based on frequency of visit? Your beacon can help you track how many times an individual customer visits you – even across multiple locations. What about enticing a regular customer back to your storefront? A well-timed message – triggered by your beacon – can make that happen.

The Fragrance Outlet, an upscale perfume chain, used Shopkick beacon technology to launch a successful customer loyalty program. Although customers had to download a custom mobile app to participate, beacon technology did the rest, awarding points whenever customers visited any of the chain's 97 locations. 23 million customers downloaded the app – all of them eager to earn rewards – and explore new fragrances.

Spruce Up Your Space

spruce up your space

Designing a retail space is never simple. With location analytics, you can get real-time information about what's working in your storefront and where you have dead space that's eating into your bottom line.

Develop an accurate picture – or heat map – of the foot traffic in your space. Which displays help you move specific products? Where can you attract more attention? Use this data to improve your store displays and offers. Not sure where to put one of your top-selling items? Track your foot traffic to see how customers navigate your space.

"Knowing when, where, and how a customer goes through the shopping venue, with heat maps and individual motion tracking, is powerful knowledge for retailers," Florian Freitag, the CEO of location analytics firm, told StreetFight Magazine.

Retailers can measure the performance of single sales areas and eliminate inefficiencies. Some areas might attract less attention, but an adjustment of shelf positioning or staff distribution might increase conversion rates and time spent inside the shop, Freitag added.

You can also monitor visit frequency to optimize your operating hours and personalize customer offers – which feed into your existing marketing and outreach efforts.

Whether you want a more accurate picture of your foot traffic or a way to personalize offers for your customers, location analytics pinpoint what your customers want and need – while beacon technology helps you deliver the goods right to their smartphone.

Want to learn more about the technology you should be using to boost your sales and engagement? Check out our post on small business technology made easy here.

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