I hope one day I will live through such a moment in a pro shop when I get personalized service and offer without wasting too much time there (instead of playing golf). Early this year, I recommended wearable technology to facilitate personalized offers.
Now, at the end of this year, I would like to recommend you another contextual technology system the beacons that can help in golf retailing / pro shop environment to avoid losing the moment with the customer. Beacons can provide quick access to relevant product and pricing information, and special offers, with minimal friction. It also replaces mass-market messages with more personal, less intrusive approach.
What is beacon technology?
Beacons are low-cost, low-powered transmitters equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE (also called Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart; globally cca. 570 million Android and Apple smartphones are compatible with BLE) that can be used to deliver proximity-based, context-aware messages.
Probably, you might have had some experience with them at Universal Music, Best Buy, Target, Apple Stores, Lyle & Scott (in London, 1 Carnaby-street; Iconeme beacon technology solution), Dick’s Sporting Goods or Macy’s (Macy’s partnered with shopkick, a mobile app platform designed to serve as a shopping companion).
2015 was the year when retailers outside the golf industry started to take seriously beacons. If we continue at this pace, beacons direct influence on US retail sales will be much bigger next year than in 2015. This year will be over $4 billion worth (source: Business Insider) and in 2016 tenfold bigger.
Beacon technology usage in 2016
I expect that in 2016, beacon technology will be implemented across nearly all retail, CPG and entertainment segments in the US. Actually anywhere where loyalty can be rewarded and local experience is essential (e.g. pro shops) and can be augmented via mobile engagement. So the usage of beacon technology is not just about products and offers, but also to improve customer service and loyalty.
Beaconstac claims that currently in the market, we can find:
- Approximately 30,000 active beacons;
- 60 million iBeacon units will be shipped by 2019;
- Half of TOP 100 US retailers will test beacons in 2016;
- In-store app usage is 16.5x greater for users who have received beacon message.
Probably, your biggest gain from utilizing beacon technology will be the valuable data on your consumers’ in-store activity. You will understand them better. So it’s time for golf clubs’ pro shops to maximize technology to be able to improve their sales performance and provide seamless shopping experience.
Do I need to further explain the benefits of beacon technology?
What will customers have to learn?
Needless to say, to be able to exploit beacon technology our customers must have a certain level of ‘beacon literacy’. I think people will learn it as they did with QR code usage. To be able to deliver content or marketing messages to in-store/indoor shoppers successfully:
- The Consumers need to have the relevant mobile retail app installed on their mobile;
- Bluetooth function should be turned on;
- The consumer must allow notifications.