Beacon Technology

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Notify Nearby
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A new study released by Planet Retail and Wipro affirms that retailers must provide meaningful customer experiences in order to achieve results.

‘The Era of the Individual: Unleashing the Power of ME’ contains some key takeaways – as noted in our CES 2016 report, pressure is mounting on bricks-and-mortar retailers to deliver high-quality customer experiences. So how can stores use tech to revolutionise their businesses, and avoid getting caught in the trap of using tech for tech’s sake?

Approaching Beacon Technology the Right Way

Although it’s been on the scene for a while, the ability of beacon technology to connect with consumers shouldn’t be underestimated. One start-up, Notify Nearby, uses the technology in conjunction with its iOS app to deliver targeted information to customers about the stores that they shop in.

With participants like DKNY, Reiss, Uniqlo, Saks and Nike on board, Notify Nearby is fashion-specific and claims it doesn’t bombard users with ads or promotional content, unlike other apps. A push notification is sent whenever they pass a beacon from one of the participating stores, using targeted information to alert the user of the retailer’s latest updates – be they coupons, flash sales or product launches.

Seamless Online-Offline Transition

With all the industry’s talk of omni-channel retail, one point is abundantly clear: the customer’s transition between a brand’s online and offline worlds should be seamless.

Creating a strong in-store presence has the potential to reduce the numbers of ‘showrooming’ customers (who come in-store solely to browse, before heading home to purchase online). Retailers can tackle this in various ways, such as matching online prices, allowing a speedy click-and-collect service, or incorporating tech in-store with impressive concepts like magic mirrors and interactive fitting rooms.

Making a Strong Workforce Stronger

It’s no secret that taking the time to recruit high-calibre salespeople pays off in the form of happier, more satisfied customers. Self-service checkouts and other ‘people-free’ technology may work well in supermarkets, but in fashion, a more personable approach is what really drives sales.

The answer, then, is to use technology to make fashion retail’s workforce stronger, rather than replace it altogether. The use of tablets (enabling staff to view a customer’s purchase history in order to make tailored product recommendations, for example) and mobile POS systems can be used in stores to wow people on both sides of the cash desk.

Continue the discussion on Revolutionary Tech Vs. Tech for Tech’s Sake at our London Summit on May 17-18. Book your super early-bird ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

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“Facebook Bluetooth beacons will push offers and updating events to customers’ smartphones as soon as consumers enter a business’s door. Through a Bluetooth connection upon entering a business, participants will be welcomed by a series of updates and local events happening through Facebook at the top of their feed. Facebook has dubbed this program is known “Place Tips.””

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Facebook x Beacon technology
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“I never thougth I’d say it, but buses just got interesting. Exterion Media, Europe’s largest privately held Out-of-Home advertising business, has announced that it has equipped 500 London buses with beacon technology – to send targeted ads to commuters.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Mobile Shopping x Beacon Technology
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“You won’t truly be happy until a company knows everything about you. Where you live, how much you make, whom you married, what you buy on your phone and what you buy at a store, favorite sports team, everything. Don’t like hearing this? Take a ball-peen hammer to your phone and smash it repeatedly.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Beacon
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“The pinnacle of in-store mobile retailing is personal contextual engagement that leads to a sale and this takes a step closer to reality with the roll out of Message Cloud from SmartFocus [IRDX VSFO] – and it is set to revolutionise beacon technology by using virtual beacons instead of physical ones.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  SmartFocus x Beacon
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“While much recent retail technology buzz has focused on the promise and peril of Apple’s iBeacons, another identity tech has matured: facial recognition. It’s now powerful enough to let stores use cameras to link customers’ faces to information stored in databases—but it’s also finding use in industrial and transportation settings, where it can be used to keep people away from sensitive areas.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Facial Recognition
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“Beacons offer indoor positioning through Wi-Fi, a technology which allows your smartphone to determine its approximate location, and it seems like these little beacons are spreading like wildfire. In 2014, we saw these low-cost transmitters being experimented with across an array of industries, used to provide companies with consumer context, leveraging user location in real-time to provide a more personalized experience.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Marriott
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“Here are the six biggest ways that beacons will be misused.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily

“Excite the mind, and the hand will reach for the pocket.” So said Harry Gordon Selfridge, the famous founder of the eponymous London department store – the best in the world by popular vote. His own dedication to creating the best in-store experience for his customers demonstrated the kinds of innovative thinking that has been adopted by modern department stores ever since. Were he alive today, then, the originator of so many of our retail rules of thumb would certainly be making the most of new technologies – technologies which, in 2014, can enhance the retail experience beyond mere bricks & mortar. But with two weeks to go until the dedicated panel discussion on the subject at our NY summit, what exactly are the technologies that top retailers are embracing in a physical context today?

Recent months have seen a host of high and low-end brands placing hot-off-the-press technologies into the physical retail mix. Beacon technology is the one-to-get to know now – otherwise, the first you hear of it might be as a text alert on your next shopping trip. The technology implements imperceptible pieces of hardware around stores that can pinpoint the location of a consumer’s smartphone. This will allow the retailer to send offers and info to your mobile, with localised know-how. For example, if you pause (longingly) in front of some shoes, the store can send you a link to the latest reviews or info on stock levels. Remember Bluetooth? Us neither – but iBeacon works using a low-energy version of it, and shopping-savvy consumers can keep theirs on using their iPhones and Android phones for very little energy. One of the biggest proponents of this in-store technology, is, paradoxically, the oldest luxury, speciality-retail department store chain in the US: Lord & Taylor, whose investment in digital has seen a partnership rolled out with Beacon technology provider Swirl. Their SVP, Ryan Craver, will be sure to explain the company’s getting behind Beacons as he takes part in our panel discussion on November 18th.

What’s more, a truly successful in-store/on-line strategy might mean more than giving customers a truly personalised experience; as start-ups in the field are increasingly realising, the brands need more personalisation, too. That is, as start-ups target store retailers with their solutions for bespoke customer experience, the brands themselves continue to desire complete control and customisation over the shopping experience proposed by an app. Spring, launched in August of this year, is the much-hyped shopping app with a difference: going further than other tried-and-failed apps of the same genre, Spring integrates with retailer’s existing e-commerce systems to allow products to be purchased by users with a single swipe. Everything on Spring is shoppable, and it seamlessly integrates brand’s existing in-store environment into its Pinterest-style lifestyle shots. Co-founder Alan Tisch will be on hand to discuss the case for apps helping old-fashioned bricks & mortar thrive in years to come.

When it comes to implementing retail technologies today – in-store or at-home – the key is to accompany the customer every step of the way. With iBeacons, innovative apps, digitised SKUs (stock keeping units) and more secure payment methods, there have never been so many reasons to innovate.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

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“The rise of technologies like the beacon, heat mapping and information kiosks have painted a high-tech picture for the future for retail. Major brands such as Lord and Taylor are already taking advantage of these technologies to create a unique in-store experience, send personalized marketing messages to customers, and design floor displays that maximize sales. These cool technologies are very Jetsons, and will certainly change how people experience retail. […] But is this a reality for ALL retail, or just the megastores?”

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