Beacons are not the Only Way of Doing Proximity Marketing


Proximity marketing, also called hyperlocal marketing, is the subtle art of sending the right communication to the right person at the right time. This data driven marketing strategy sends targeted content to customers instantly on their smartphones, based on their real-time location, therefore creating a more personalized and enjoyable in-store experience.

In the recent years, proximity or location-based marketing has taken a significant place in the retail business and in several other industries: airports, hospitals, hotels, trade shows, etc. Location-based marketing takes your campaigns further and advertises to your potential clients when they are in your establishment, through promotions, exclusive discounts, one-time deals, etc.

Traditionally, location-based marketing is achieved using Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) transmitters that have to be installed indoors in different sections of the area you wish to cover. Although very precise, due to their short range you will need to install quite a few of these beacons to cover larger areas such as shopping malls or department stores. As you can imagine, the price for their installation can quickly add up.

With beacons,in order to be able to send targeted content to visitors, they will have to download your company’s app beforehand. This additional step can reduce the effectiveness of your location based strategy, as not everyone wants or has enough storage on their phones to download another app.

To avoid this added layer in the process and cut on additional costs, you can leverage a tool you probably already have in place. Most businesses offer guest WiFi as a commodity and this is an excellent way to make use of it.

WiFi Based Proximity Marketing: How it Works?

Smartphones are constantly trying to connect to wireless networks everywhere we go. By creating these signals, the smartphone’s unique MAC address and SSID can easily be tracked by the routers in the area. This gives out key information about when the visitor entered the location, how long he/she spent at the location, which areas he/ she stayed the longest and essentially helps map out the customer journey.

When visitors finally connect and consent to using your WiFi, you now have a new communication channel that will allow you to send them location-specific content directly. You therefore eliminate the additional step of downloading an app.

Proximity marketing solutions use your pre-existing WiFi network and only require the implementation of a software. This will help you save on extra equipments and installation fees.

The Benefits of Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing gives your marketing campaigns context compared to other initiatives. Your ads create less frustration for your customers who don’t always want to be solicited. A study conducted by Hubspot in 2016 revealed that 77% of consumers actually agree that they would prefer to ad filter than completely ad block (prevent ads from displaying while browsing the internet). With location-based marketing, you automatically filter the content to only send what is most relevant to what they are doing when they receive them (in real-time).

These targeted offers can have a huge impact on the client’s total sales per visit: they are receiving targeted offers about products they are probably already looking at, while they are well engaged in the buying process. A 2014 study conducted  by Swirl stated that 60% of respondents said they would do more holiday shopping at brick and mortar stores that delivered mobile content and offers while they shopped.

Because WiFi based proximity marketing uses unique MAC addresses, you will be able to clearly differentiate your unique visitors from your returning ones. This can be useful to prove the efficiency (or lack thereof) of your other marketing incentives. For example, knowing the number of MAC addresses which passed and stopped in front of your digital display can be a good representation of its reach. It can be an indicator that you need to implement new efficient strategies in order to increase engagement and deepen relationships with customers.

The Link Between Web and Physical Traffic

With proximity marketing, use mobile connections as the bridge between physical and digital experiences.  With the growing success of online businesses, it’s becoming mandatory to merge the online and offline worlds.

More than simply pushing offers to visitors, WiFi and proximity marketing can give you valuable insights on your foot traffic and your visitors’ behaviours. Create accurate heat maps by collecting data on the busiest areas of your establishment, knowing the peak hours for each day, the customer’s average dwell time and how visitors navigate through the establishment.

Data collected through proximity marketing can be used to retarget the same physical visitors when they are online. Ultimately, the customer profiles built based on foot traffic can be segmented and used for efficient online advertising campaigns.

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