Location Intelligence, Spatial Data Analysis | Pitney Bowes

6 ways to make stores more social

Take advantage of consumers’ use of smartphones and other mobile devices

People are constantly connected — and that influences how they make shopping decisions. Use social media, apps and other technologies as part of a multi-channel approach to become more “social” — and land more customers. Here’s how:

Make the most of the data you have. Add location intelligence tools to your IT system to link critical data such as social media ‘check-ins’ and physical location data with customer records. Doing so can enable your firm to deliver customized offers to consumers through popular social media channels or smart phone apps when they’re near a store location. It pays to harvest and analyze that data: According to a study by Nucleus Research, every dollar spent on applications related to business intelligence returns $10.66.1

Reach consumers where they are—literally. Imagine being able to deliver half-off coupons to loyal customers every time they walk by your store. With location intelligence tools, you can also target passersby with a range of promotions, ads and branding campaigns. An international box store’s mobile app utilizes geofencing to deliver coupons to in-store customers, while a popular on-demand car service is using the technology at airports—encouraging customers to book their transportation before they even step off the plane.

Get an app for that. Consider contracting with an IT developer to build an app for your store. Customers can use your app on their tablets or smartphones to search for products, find specific store locations and even check inventory. (Of course, the more functionality you want, the more the app is likely to cost.)

Go wireless. Using small Bluetooth transmitters, beacon technology can track a customer’s location in a store. Connect that technology to your app and customers can get alerts on their phones about nearby items on sale. A well-known Midwestern grocery chain uses beacons to send customers notifications like grocery lists when they enter a location. In a recent study by one mobile marketing platform, 73 percent of shoppers said that beacon-triggered content and offers increased the probability that they would make a purchase.2 Bonus: This Bluetooth technology is also used by retailers to allow mobile payments from customers. This helps create a better shopping experience.

Embrace low-tech. Make sure you let your customers know which social media channels your store uses, and prompt them to follow, like and connect with your store’s profiles. What’s more, in-store signage can help direct shoppers to products that are heavily shared on social media.

Share and share alike. Promote your brand by developing in-store events and creating a unique hashtag for them. Encourage shoppers participating in the event to post photos of themselves with the hashtag on social media channels. Who’s using hashtags? In the fourth quarter of 2014, 97 percent of the 100 Best Global Brands—as identified by leading brand consultant Interbrand—posted tweets that included a hashtag.3

1ironsidegroup.com.  2 swirl.com  3 forbes.com