COMMENTARY

The future of beacons and digital signage

Feb. 17, 2017

Photo source: istock.com

By Mike Sisco, CEO, Embed Digital

Beacon technology has not been adopted by merchants as quickly as expected, but changes to devices and strategy still have Business Insider Intelligence forecasting a total of 4.5 million active beacons in the U.S. by 2018.

Given that, in 2015, the estimate was less than 500,000 beacon deployments, that's an increase of 900 percent in just three years — a staggering change that comes with the added prediction of advancement in the original technology, features and usability, as well as more affordable implementations costs.

Many retailers will soon realize what they — or more importantly, what their customers — have to gain.

Empowering your customers

Integrating beacons with your in-store signage system is like giving your customers the remote control. They now decide what product information or details they want to see. Engaging "storytelling" content is still as important as ever but now your customers can objectively share their preference for what’s on the screen.

This allows them to play an active role, and gives them the feeling the content was tailored directly to them, their interests and needs. Today's consumers love dynamic multimedia content. DemandGen's 2015 survey suggests 91 percent of buyers agree they prefer more interactive/visual content that can be accessed on demand. Interactive storytelling objectively allows the audience to share their preference

So, what will drive this tremendous growth in the adoption and deployment of beacons?

Retailers, restauranteurs, as well as leaders in hospitality and entertainment have to adapt to the new buyer "mobile shop-and-compare strategy." Because of the wealth of information available at our fingertips, conscientious consumers will first, check product reviews, see if there are better deals nearby or search for discounts.

With a connected beacon and digital signage experience, retailers of all types can encourage mobile shopping and provide easy access to information — even sending additional product information from a personal device to the large digital display right in front of the customer.

On the other hand, the customers who are relying on their devices for entertainment as they shop can cue content from their phone to the in-store digital display. This also allows for collection of data, guided shopping andinteractive entertainment.  

How to streamline In-store beacon deployment and use

Even beacon enthusiasts have pointed to mandatory app-download as a potential drawback since consumers covet their mobile storage space more than the benefits they receive from retail apps.

As mobile device manufacturers explore beacon integration options that do not require app download, retailers can use the following strategies to streamline deployment and usage of their beacon/signage experience:

  • Chain locations can start with beacon deployment at their 'flag-ship' location.
     
  • Evaluate your mobile app. This is not based entirely on revenue, retail messaging or special offers, which consumers are bombarded with on a daily basis. Evaluate your current mobile app experience by its entertainment and informational value.
     
  • Determine your content strategy. Do you want to offer product information, product comparisons, engaging content and videos, information about the product manufacturing process, entertaining content? It's important to have a cohesive strategy before you begin to deliver mobile app and digital signage content.
     
  • Create an engaging video of a customer's in-store beacon/signage experience and encourage app download by pinpointing its benefits. Push and location-based messaging tactics are proving their ability to generate a substantial return on investment.

Embed Digital is currently beta testing beacon and signage integration with a large retail partner in Southern California. 

 


Topics: Digital Signage


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