At a time when e-commerce seems to monopolize innovation, Jacub Krzych, co-founder of Estimote, likes to remind that “more than 90 percent of transactions worldwide are still made in physical venues” and that over “half of consumers who visit stores have smartphones”.
Estimote, a start-up created in Poland, is the spearhead of the impending revolution in retail. Thanks to their “Beacons” and to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), they aspire to reinvent shopping. Retailers will not only be able to track their consumers’ in-store wanderings accurately and instantly, but to provide them with an interactive environment, capable of giving them contextualized information via their smartphone (promotions, product details etc). And this is merely a glimpse of the endless possibilities which will soon be available to retailers for improving customer experience, by inventing frictionless and enjoyable interactive mechanisms.
Yet, the prospects of future innovations should not prompt marketers to neglect what could be done today to foster in-store sales growth. The democratization of smartphones and social media represents an exciting source of opportunities still under-exploited by retailers. Facebook in particular provides them with very interesting levers to offer customers an ecosystem integrating social, local and mobility.
1. Localize the social experience
- Create Location Pages for each of your venues and a Store Locator
This feature available on Facebook enables companies which have brick-and-mortar stores to create alternative channels of communication for their brand. Users can discover it through the page dedicated to the location closest to them, like it and even check in the venue – the total number of check-ins is then aggregated on the main brand page.
These Location Pages are bound to become ever more important, as the number of users adopting the Places Nearby feature on the mobile version of Facebook keeps growing. Moreover, the total number of check-in stories made in brands’ venues is already one of the key metrics required to be well ranked in Graph Seach, Facebook’s new search engine.
Deploying your presence into Location Pages involves the adoption of best practices and in particular the implementation of editorial guidelines aimed at protecting brand consistency.
- Adopt Facebook-to-Store strategies
Facebook enables brands to create Chek-in Deals to attract users in stores using a promotion and to condition their claiming to an actual check-in the venue.
Tigerlily strives to help brands leverage such Facebook-to-Store dynamics. Last year Cacharel teamed up with El Corte Inglés to introduce the perfume “Amor Amor” to its Spanish fans. Through Tigerlily’s couponing application, users could access an exclusive offer and receive a QR code after providing personal information. This campaign generated in-store traffic and Cacharel could track the conversion rate using the individualized QR codes. Roughly a thousand people actually went to stores to claim their offer, out of 9,728 app users.
2.Socialize the local experience
- Capitalize on the traffic in your brick-and-mortar venues
The integration of social mechanisms such as Check-ins yields two main benefits: not only can it generate in-store traffic but it can also strengthen brand awareness. Every time someone checks in, a story will be created on their own timeline and displayed on their friends’ newsfeed.
You can also push things even further, by combining loyalty programs and social mechanisms thanks to a dedicated app on Facebook. Why not offering your fans to be rewarded within your loyalty program whenever they check in one of your venues? You can encourage them to synchronize their loyalty card with a Facebook app to earn additional loyalty points for each check-in. This way, rewarding one customer’s loyalty also fosters a favorable word-of-mouth: the client becomes an actual brand advocate.
- Offer fun and innovative customer experiences
Kiabi, a French major retailer, launched a very innovative operation last winter, which built on integrating social and local. The “Kiabi Fan Selection” campaign relied on a dedicated Facebook app displaying some articles of the new collection, which fans were invited to give their opinion on by liking or not. Inside the stores, customers could actually see how many fans liked any given article by looking at a screen.
Such a campaign represents a very interesting answer to a couple of retailers’ major concerns: generating in-store traffic and offering their customer unheard-of and enjoyable experiences. “This initiative enabled our clients to know which trends aroused the most interest. The number of likes collected by each item could help them make their choice”, says Audrey Deleplanque, Social Media Manager at Kiabi.
On the whole, Estimote’s enterprise reflects the ongoing mutation of the retail industry. Consumers want to get contextualized information and opportunities through their smartphone, while browsing social media as well as while wandering around stores and shopping malls.
Integrating local, mobile and social – through Location Pages, check-ins and apps – could yield remarkable sales growth for retailers.