Beacons will tell us a lot about customer behaviour

Heatmap of shopping centre using analysing their customers journey

As recently shown by EasyJet, Virgin and now Japan Airlines, making customer journeys easier and more enjoyable through a location is going to be a big deployment for beacons, and not just in the airline industry.

In fact, the subject of customer journeys is a rich one for beacons as they can be used by venue owners to get insight into how visitors travel around the location.

Retailers want to understand customer journeys

Heatmap of retail store analysing their customer journeysAlready, retailers with larger stores have asked us about mapping their locations with beacons so that they can learn more about customer journeys, specifically how visitors interact with the store. Hot spots, cold spots, which locations visitors dwell the longest in and so on.

This is data that can’t be provided by sales figures and in the past, only expensive video monitoring or studies involvingĀ researchers in store could make these insights available. Normally, these studies would be conducted only for short or specific periods. With beacons deployed in store and connected to a platform like Airspace Control Room, our Context Management System, this data can be seen in real time and conducted during all opening hours.

With a correctly-plotted venue, a sofa storeĀ operator could quickly see that some sofas were getting a lot of traffic (heat spot) and a lot of people trying it out (long dwell times) but this didn’t translate to sales. Would this tell the retailer that the sofa looked great but was simply too uncomfortable or too expensive?

A supermarket, using the same data to understand the customer journeys, could see that a particular aisle end was seeing a lot of traffic and longer-than-usual dwell times but again it wasn’t translating into the anticipated number of sales. It could mean the product was overpriced (not true if it was selling off-the-shelf elsewhere in the store). Or it could mean there was a trolley jam, with too many people unable to move cleanly through that space due to another cause (indicated by the long dwell times).

And as we’ve written about in the 10 Minute Guide to Marketing with Beacons already, leisure park owners could quickly tell when waiting times for a ride had reached an unacceptable level (long dwell times + sudden drop off).

Beacons aren’t just about promoting offers or engaging content, they can also be used to understand what works and what doesn’t in a venue. Ultimately this will lead to a better customer experience.