Proximity Marketing: A Metered Approach

Getting Started with Proximity 

As proximity marketing sheds its reputation as an emerging technology and crosses into the mainstream, marketing professionals face the challenge of imagining new and compelling ways to implement it. Most people we’ve talked to have expressed an interest in proximity, but they’ve struggled to make a case for actually using it because of the risk of losing mobile users. As one person put it, “every message we send is another opportunity for the user to uninstall our app.” InMarket conducted a study last year of 100,000 mobile shoppers which revealed that beacon-triggered messages might be well-received on the first attempt, but a second message caused a 313% drop. Many of those resulted in the app being deleted altogether.

Current Implementations

Outside of retail, museums and venues have had a much easier time implementing the technology without having to worry about overwhelming their customers with unwanted messaging. One Smartwhere partner, iTap, a proximity solution provider based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is currently using the proximity engagement to help museums transition their self-guided tours from expensive and outdated hardware to the more flexible software solutions that leverage the mobile devices of their visitors. Pre-recorded digitized audio files are triggered using beacons when users move into specific areas so that visitors now have access to rich content that magically appears on their mobile device whenever they’re in range of the corresponding exhibit. The museum not only avoids the issues of ongoing hardware maintenance costs, but they can also offer relevant content based on location-based triggers. Proximity technologies are allowing them to build a relationship with a willing, curious audience, and adding value by providing timely details of an exhibit and pointing out other areas of interest, such as the gift shop. So what happens in another vertical market when it’s less clear what the customer is opting in to? This new power to reach customers brings with it the inherent danger of sudden disengagement.

Location-based Engagement in Retail

As the cost of proximity technologies, specifically beacons, continues to drop, the barrier to entry is getting easier and easier to overcome. Deployment issues are being resolved, and if you visit a major retailer the likelihood of finding yourself in the presence of beacons within the store is pretty high. These same retailers are already enabling geofences within their mobile app experience. During the app load and launch process you’ve likely received something similar to this request: “Allow ‘XYZ App’ to access your location even when you are not using the app?”. If the user perceives value, the agreement conversion is high. If not, then they’ll probably take a pass. At Smartwhere we have ongoing discussions about when to display this particular message (see image) and the current thinking is that load and launch is not necessarily the best time. It may make a lot more sense to ask the user for permission when you have something of value to offer right then, where they are.

App NotificationMore Data, Better Decisions

So, if sending mobile shoppers anything more than one message results in possible app deletion, what approach can retailers take to minimize that risk? For starters, marketers might consider collecting anonymized traffic data to create rich user profiles, without collecting any personally identifiable information (PII) to associate any of the traffic data to a specific individual. As the anonymized user profiles become more mature, the segmentation of these profiles becomes easier to achieve. One message does not fit all. If User A has a different traffic profile than User B, overlaying that data on their existing shopping profiles might yield different conclusions about the customer behavior and thus warrant a completely different message. User A visits hiking trails, so we’ll send that user a coupon for outdoor gear. User B often visits a particular venue for sporting events, so we’ll send that user a coupon for team apparel.

Get to the The Point-of-Interest 

With Smartwhere’s platform, our point-of-interest (POI) database allows you to quickly activate geofences around places you’d like to see traffic statistics of your mobile users. By enabling the checkbox for quick service restaurants (QSR) in a particular area, by city, state, or even zip code, you’re able see traffic data for those restaurants in that area for a given date range. For example, 2,532 users visited BurgerTown in July. By combining this data with other POI data you begin to see a profiles emerge: 2,532 users went to Burger Town, 1,142 of these users also visited ShopCo, and 802 of these users also visited the City Park. Combined with demographic information you have segments you can use based on location data you didn’t necessarily have access to before. And this is not third-party data purchased from another source, this is real customer data from your install base. Now messaging becomes less challenging because you have a clearer picture of what your users might respond to, mitigating the risk of irrelevant messaging and the possibility of the uninstall. You can even see a real-time snapshot of what types of users might be at a location at a particular time.

Smartwhere Proximity Platform

We understand that messaging is difficult. And our full-stack proximity platform allows you to create and send those messages to your mobile users however you see fit, whether the triggers are beacon events, geofences, wi-fi, or even NFC and QR. We also allow you to send those messages based on user profiles and market segments gathered from location-based data. If you’re interested in learning how proximity data can integrate with your existing marketing platform, click below to see the ways in which we can help you better engage with your customers.




About Smartwhere

Smartwhere is a powerful proximity platform that allows you to quickly and easily integrate proximity solutions into your existing environment. Whether it’s mobile retail, interactive marketing, or location-based advertising, Smartwhere is an all-in-one proximity platform that delivers and manages relevant content to consumers and other end users when and where they need it.

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