Driving On-Site Sales with Beacon Technology
December 4, 2019
French poet, Jean Cocteau, once began a speech by saying, “I have said this many times before, but nobody listened, so I will say it again.”
Traditional advertising is also speaking, but few if any, are listening. Traditional signage and marketing are becoming less effective as consumer habits change. Business reach is only as good as the people who see your ads.
So, where are today’s consumers spending their time? On the phone! Millennials and Generation-Z don’t read traditional marketing materials and so the question becomes, what new tools are available for customer engagement that meets their expectations? The reality is that most new business is generated by mobile ad spend and more customer contact.
Businesses today, especially in the retail industry are seeing reduced foot traffic and customers who are pressed for time. So, the best strategy should not only be more customers, but ones who keep buying for longer and spend more when they do. Obviously, the best time to reach your customer is onsite or near your business.
So, what combination of technology is designed to leverage consumer smartphones with accuracy and speed? Having the ability to engage and influence consumers precisely during the moment of heightened activity or “in the moment” provides a marketing opportunity for business to drive on-site sales, incentivize promotions and understand online-to-offline behaviour. Customers expect speed, real-time and accuracy when receiving promotions. Beacon technology can now provide that opportunity on a proven commercial scale.
We are all now familiar with GPS (Global Positioning System). The system works great for outdoor highway and street navigation, and on waterways.
However, GPS is like horseshoes or hand grenades, if getting close is what matters than it is great. As the signals come from space, the service can be considerably degraded near large structures or buildings. Inside buildings, it will not work well and definitely does not have vertical capability, so it cannot distinguish if you are on the 1st or 2nd floor, etc. In a city, often it cannot distinguish what side of the street you are on.
To try and overcome these limitations for a person’s mobile device, geo-fencing was developed. This is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area, like a radius around a point location. The driving force behind this has been location-based marketing. Unfortunately, it has not been very successful for several reasons: accuracy is still a problem, CPS is a big drain on your battery, is very expensive, and is invasive of personal privacy.
Fortunately, there is a new technology that has been refined to be pinpoint accurate, has little drain on mobile batteries, is very inexpensive
and can be set to a user permission level. I am referring to beacon technology and it has come of age in the past year with the release of Bluetooth/Beacon 5.0. Beacon technology has been around since 2013 but only in the past year has it been developed to the point of version 5.0 where it is now very robust. Put simply, they connect and transmit information to smart devices making location-based searching and interaction easier and more accurate.
HOW DOES BEACON TECHNOLOGY WORK?
Beacons are not much bigger than a golf ball and are like a small Bluetooth radio transmitter. They can be used indoors and outdoors. They run off low energy Bluetooth so when they communicate there is little battery drain on your phone. It uses much less power than you would use for a Bluetooth headset. The beacon itself can run several years on its own battery and the purchase cost is inexpensive.
Beacon technology is a perfect partner for today’s advanced mobile devices. Rich content/graphics can now be delivered in less than a second to mobile devices in proximity of beacons. Think of the beacon as a triggering device. A beacon will identify a mobile device within range and trigger a message to be sent to that device from an Internet portal or website.
The golfer’s mobile device will need to have Bluetooth activated and will require a mobile app downloaded to the device. Developing your own mobile app and web portal is an expensive endeavour. Fortunately, there are 3rd party apps and web platforms that you can use.
Beacon technology also addresses the invasion of privacy issue, as it uses a mobile app so messaging becomes permission based. Geo-fence, on the other hand, tracks a user’s mobile device movements without them being aware, so the system can send a push notification message when the perimeter of the geo-fence is breached. This is an invasion of privacy and also infringes on anti-spam laws.
Beacon 5.0 made considerable strides and improvements over the previous versions. It now has a range of over 100 meters outside (the range is adjustable from 1 to 100) and it is faster and uses even less power. Beacon 5.0 has much more message capacity and an important improvement is multi channel operation, so one beacon can handle numerous messages simultaneously. It is now also compatible with Internet-of-Things (IoT). The downfall for previous Beacon users is that 5.0 is not downward compatible, so they will need the new 5.0 hardware.
THE BENEFITS FOR YOUR FACILITY
Beacons can provide precise location-based messaging. advertising and information. With a good back end system or portal, uses are up to the imagination.
Accurate proximity marketing from beacons can provide messages at the ideal time, so you can send “in the moment” messages to your golfers. For example, a series of messages can be triggered at different distances as the golfer approaches the pro shop, or specials at the clubhouse can be triggered when they leave the 18th green.
Beacon technology also presents the opportunity to partner with 3rd party advertisers for targeted marketing. For example, you could run a contest on the tee off at hole 8 that any golfer who birdies hole 8 wins a dinner for two at Swiss Chalet and a hat. This would be an ideal 3rd party
advertisement, because every golfer will see it regardless of if they hit a birdie.
To round out their golfing experience, a thank you message and reminders of upcoming events can be sent to golfers when they are leaving your facility. There is no other inexpensive technology that can pinpoint such an accurate location.
Another important usage is employee management and communications. Ever one has a mobile device now and with a proper back end system that manages the beacons, different content can be sent to employees versus customers. Employees could get an updated schedule ever day or special instruction or information that pertains to a certain, day or event.
Employees would have to be on site and within range of a beacon, but with a good back end portal, a push message could be sent simultaneously to an employee’s mobile device anywhere. This message could also be tailored, by time, location and by employee. For example, sending different messages to our grounds crew versus your clubhouse staff.
It is just as important to have a very good back end system that sets up the beacons and manages your promotions and content. With this in place you can manage what ads, promotions or messages go to each beacon. Promotions can be updated in real time and take effect instantly. You can distinguish if the message goes to employees or customers or even a certain group of customers. You can set up time periods, where promotions can be sent by time, day or vary on different days.
While some of this can be accomplished with geo-fence, beacons are more accurate and can achieve better results at a fraction of the cost. A message can be triggered at very dose proximity, such as one meter, and include a very detailed message such as the promotion of a specific driver in the pro shop. Cost is the big difference, as beacon technology is more affordable than geo-fence technology.
LOW COST TO ADVERTISE
Another significant advantage to a golf course is the very low cost to advertise with beacon and mobile devices. It is fractions of the cost to
traditional advertising and is highly targeted, It is “in the moment” when a consumer is most likely to take advantage of promotions and
deals. Traditional advertising and internet advertising use the blanket or shotgun approach. With paper media it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness. On the internet, millions of ad impressions will be placed, and they will measure click-throughs. Even so, how many times have you clicked on an ad by mistake or because you were forced to, just to proceed to a website?
With a good beacon platform, you can accurately measure how many ads were triggered and how many were acted on. The conversion rate with proximity marketing is higher than anything else in the advertising world. Paper coupons still dominate, representing 93.7% of coupons. Their redemption rate is very poor, about 0.06%.
With the advent of digital coupons, the total redemption rate of both combined has moved up to about 2%. Juniperresearch.com predicts that by 2022 nearly 80% of coupon redemption will come from mobile.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Beacon technology has come of age and can be one of the greatest and latest things to improve tile golfing experience. Combined with the proper back end support, such as Heelo’s ping system, it can provide real time marketing and promotions, loyalty rewards and track statistics for your operation. It can also help grow your bottom line with paid 3rd party advertising and easier registration for events. So, are you listening? Because beacon technology definitely has.
Read original article here: http://online.flipbuilder.com/gbcmagazine/pomb/mobile/index.html
Ron works as a tech consultant, after a 30-year career at IBM where he worked as a systems, business and inventory analyst. He was project manager for devices on the 1st digital cellular network in Canada that was later dealt to Research In Motion (Blackberry).
Contact Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org