Friday April 18th, 2014

Overview of geolocation technologies in store

Three key technologies allow to consumers to geolocate in store: the beacon, the ultrasound and wifi. But which one is best to choose?

In recent years, brands and retailers realise the importance of the “mobile” phenomenon. They have been able to propose solutions which facilitate the shopping path of the consumer. Among them is in store geolocation. The advantage? Sending push messages, which include promotions, at the right time, to the right person and at the right place. All the messages are contextualized and can also be targeted.

Since Apple announced that iOS 7 will be equipped with the beacon technology, many companies are dashing to develop marketing solutions.

How does it work?
The beacon works thanks to the Bluetooth technology. Sensors distributed in various strategic places in store communicate directly with consumers Smartphone’s.

- The programming has been facilitated by Apple
- The installation is easy
- Sensors are quite cheap (approximately 15€)

Drawbacks for the consumer?
- The shopper must have activated the Bluetooth receiver of their telephone

How does it work?
A case which looks like speakers or the sound system of the store communicates with the shopper’s Smartphone by means of a sound which is inaudible to a human being.

- An advantage to be noted, but not in the least: thanks to the ultrasound, brands can locate consumers who stop in front of a shelf and seem reluctant. It is the ideal moment to offer a coupon related to the product which is on the shelf. In short, this solution is interesting thanks to its degree of targeting.

Drawbacks for the consumer?
The consumer has to accept to download a mobile application and to allow this application to open the microphone of the Smartphone.

How does it work?
The store identifies consumers who connect to its wifi.

- Better understanding of the consumer path to purchase
- To keep in touch with the consumer, even when they have left the store

Drawbacks for the consumer?

Which is the best solution?
As we have noted, each of these solutions present advantages and drawbacks, especially on a personal level, so it’s all the more difficult to make a choice.
The best solution seems to be mixing several technologies together to meet different marketing objectives. It is the decision made by Les Galeries Lafayette who combine wifi and bluetooth in their shopping centre located on Boulevard Haussmann (Paris, France).

We can imagine many different scenarios with this technology. For example, the ultrasound could improve their consumer target in store and the wifi could extend the relations with the consumer after its visit. The main part is to respect the consumer by avoiding the “spam” effect.

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