Consumers increasingly expect to receive a personalised customer experience (CX). They expect companies they do business with to know who they are, what they’ve bought and to work hard to retain their brand loyalty. Fortunately for retailers, they have a unique opportunity to provide an enhanced and highly targeted shopping experience by making creative use of beacon and geolocation technology.

Beacon solutions can undoubtedly help retailers to trigger and track traffic to a store in response to online and offline ads and sending push notifications about special offers when customers are approaching a store or department, for example, can certainly contribute to increased footfall. However perhaps the best way to create a frictionless experience for the customer and to help to build brand loyalty is to look ahead at what they might do in the future.

In other words, the real potential for beacon technology lies in its ability to help brands seek real-life, ‘in the moment’ feedback in order to understand what customers are thinking, how their attitude in a given situation might affect their behaviour and the choices they make.

Smartphone users increasingly prefer to engage with brands when they are in situ. Seeking customer insight based on their location and activity could therefore not only help to identify any hiccups in the retail process that need to be fixed but could also highlight any negative issues with the brand that might hinder repeat purchases or recommendation.

This approach can help brands to segment customers more effectively and provide the tailored experience customers are now looking for based on preferences and activities. Beacon-triggered surveys are also more likely to improve the recall and accuracy of feedback provided because of their ability to capture fresh and immediate insights, on the spot. Add to the equation the ability to capture images or video and beacon-triggered surveys clearly have the potential to unlock contextually-rich feedback which can be added to historical and behavioural data to create a 360 degree view of the customer.

Key guidelines to implementing Beacon for feedback

1: Set your objectives

It’s imperative that the objective for using beacons to support CX initiatives is established from the outset. The scenario in which brands expect to survey customers and the precise triggering criteria must be agreed before survey scripting is even started. This will ensure that CX professionals request feedback only from those customers that are relevant to a particular survey, and that they are not

2: Plan deployment carefully

Key to the accuracy of location-based surveys is the number and exact location of beacons that are deployed. For example, the signal transmitted by beacons can be decreased if they are located near to objects that can cause interference, such as microwaves and wireless phones.

Similarly, if a survey needs to be triggered outdoors, it may be that a GPS solution, rather than a beacon, will be better suited. However if the ability to determine exact location is essential, and respondents need to be targeted at specific locations, or in front particular products, inside large buildings such as shopping centres, then beacons are the best option.

3: Consider the best technological approach

For many, a hybrid approach where contextual, in-the-moment surveys are triggered using both beacon and GPS technologies simultaneously will be most effective. Respondents might be prompted to take a survey when they enter a store using GPS technology but receive a survey when they leave an area within the building, such as the check-out, using a beacons located at this specific point within the stores.

Either way, it’s wise to conduct a pilot study in a controlled environment in order to ensure that the survey process is as streamlined and intuitive as possible and to remove any barriers to entry after deployment.

4: Ensure privacy compliance

At the same time, it’s vital that a privacy strategy is developed in order to address respondents’ concerns about being tracked by market researchers and CX professionals. Recruiting respondents into location tracking and location triggering studies must be handled carefully. The most sensible solution is to use a double opt-in where respondents opt-in for the location triggering study and also opt-in to the panel or wider survey programme. If the study is being conducted across multiple territories, it must be localised to meet the legal and regulatory framework of each country.

While these guidelines are a summary and careful planning and preparation is essential, following these basic rules will determine the ultimate success of a beacon-based feedback programme. And by adding beacon into an already rich mix of customer feedback, organisations have the greatest opportunity yet to deliver personalised, agile customer experiences that will make a positive long term impact on both retention and loyalty, and on the bottom line.


By Miguel Ramos, subject matter specialist at Confirmit

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