June 2017

Geofencing, beacon and mobile: How to bring visitors inside your store


What are the technologies available to bring potential customers inside the store? What are their most interesting features? What’s their future?

Here some numbers:

  • Time spent on mobile apps is 20 times more than the time spent on the same website but through web browser (comScore US).
  • In Italy 64% of the total time spent on digital devices is on mobile, and 90% is dedicated to mobile applications (comScore)
  • Just 25% of mobile device users download a new application in a month

Luca Locatelli, CEO and founder of Near answers these questions and talks about the NearIT platform during an interview with InStoreMag.it. Here the script of the video interview available at this link.

What’s the difference between Geofence and Beacon?

Geofences allow us to involve and communicate with all those who have the required mobile apps. It works outdoor even far from the place where you want to drive and engage users. Starting from 200 meters from this place, with geofences you can engage and bring people in a store, or where you like, knowing where they are and how far they are from the shop.

Beacons work differently, they have a more precise transmission range up to 70 meters and could be placed for example close to a shop entrance or even inside the store to mark the position of your clients in a promotional corner.

Beacons can be very useful if you really know their real potential.
Most of the time people talk about beacon as of an unreliable technology, just because the expectation is too high compared to what they can really do.
But the truth is that they can really be helpful.

Our platform uses them among the triggers that depend on the user position. Beacons actually are the most important tool that we use, apart from geofence and Wi-Fi.

Is mobile technology getting more and more important in retail?

I can answer to this question using an example. Suppose there is a 20 years old girl walking on the street when she receives a push notification with a 30% discount coupon to buy a purple nail polish. Suppose that purple is her favourite color and that the shop sending this notification is just around the corner. She walks in the shop to buy the nail polish and then she stops looking at a purple eye shadow, but it is too expensive and she doesn’t buy it. Once she leaves the shop she receives a notification asking for a review of her purchase experience. After her feedback, she receives a new 40% discount coupon to buy the eye shadow she was looking at. But this is only one of the possible examples.
I want to underline that these techniques are very engaging but can be very invasive at the same time.
For users sharing their information can be very a great advantage, because they can be “disturbed” and engaged just when is helpful for them, avoiding spam.

What kind of contents, apart from discounts for the customer, could be shared?

Coupons, fidelity cards, surveys, feedback requests and videos to suggest you a product. For instance when you are buying a product you can receive a video to compare that product with other competitors. You can also cross all these: we are planning a sort of treasure hunt for teenagers using their smartphone in a shopping mall, crossing push technology, wallet and coupons.
You can create many projects, complex but really appreciated by your clients.

Is the mobile for anyone?

There are no differences anymore between millennials and other categories. Millennials are just paying more attention to turn geolocalization on or off, they have more awareness of the potential of the technologic tools, they know when is ok to pass the privacy.

Is it good that a supermarket give customers the opportunity to charge their devices?

Of course it is, but remember that most of these strategies are based on bluetooth BLE technology, and as the name itself Bluetooth Low Energy suggests, it doesn’t consume much energy. GPS is much more consuming when is not in background, so recharge services could definitely be helpful.


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