In the contemporary society and the fast-paced business culture, hosting, planning and managing events bereft of the support of event networking tools and software becomes an ineffective and arduous set of tasks for both the organizer as well as the prospective delegates. Customers have an ever augmenting desire for more personalized and interactive tools that comprehensively guide them through events. This task of meeting the expectations becomes the central doctrine for any event manager or organizer.
Managing the attendees
It becomes the single handed responsibility of the event organizer to ensconce all the potential attendees, create a good rapport and maintain an everlasting connection so as to boost the attendance of a meeting. A diligent organizer would give a structured look to the event, beginning with the registration process, ticketing, creating the agenda, providing information on speakers and more, till the valediction. Beyond the fundamentals, a smart organizer would opt for the technology that would enhance his reach to a larger customer base in a simpler method.
Inculcating personalization in the online marketing campaigns can give a kick start to the initial ticket sales and fulfill the registration goals. Categorizing the content based on the type of the attendee, i.e. are they new or past attendees or speakers etc., using the attendees name in the subject line (in an email or social network) and phrases like ‘welcome back’ (in the case of past attendees) so as to grab their attention and create an amicable feeling, and other similar online marketing strategies, amplifies the chances of potential customers to register.
Accumulation of enormous amount of data that includes multitudes of spreadsheets of attendee information, speaker details, registration details etc, is part of an organizer’s life. Handling such vital but large information single-handedly is conspicuously chaotic. Utilizing event management software tools, like smart lists, can help categorizing customers, ease the updating process, puts the information in a nut shell, gives it a structured format and becomes user friendly.
Stick to Trending Technologies – Beacons
Beacons are one of the latest and trending communication tools that leverage mobile technology and proximity. The uniqueness of beacons is that they allow messages to be targeted to specific people at the correct time and location. The strategic combination of beacons combined with mobile apps that cater to event management goals, helps the customers receive instant notifications on their smart phones and be updated.
Events that happen on a large scale are usually tedious to manage and become logistically complex. Beacon-enabled path finding, allows organizers to align the logistics and transform the navigation process into GPS style guidance. Beacons also allow like-minded people to be connected if they are in a certain level of proximity, notifications pop up so as to enable a chance to meet, thus creating a bond between the attendees and increasing their chances to return. Moreover, if there are any updates or changes encountered either in the logistics or agenda etc, either before or during the event, immediate alerts are sent to the attendees and guidelines can be mentioned to mollify the issue. It is also important to note that quick feedback is required to get an understanding about the customer’s experience with beacons; it must not end up irritating the users with beacon-triggered notifications.
Contextual networking and position-based technologies like beacons, sensors and mobile applications possess the potential to generate great experience for the stakeholders of the event. Similar to Heisenberg’s Principle, it is the position and time which is tapped by these technologies that proves to be of utmost importance for any event organizer. The most successful organizer is the one who focuses on cutting technologies to provide the best experience rather than limiting to only event management.
This article touches upon Proximity Marketing using “Beacon Technology”
India ‘s retail market ,currently pegged at $600 billion is expected to almost double by 2020 .Key drivers for this growth are rapid urbanization , income expansion and increased consumerism .Organized retail is expected to triple to $180 billion and ecommerce quadruple to a $60 billion market. The statistics mentioned above have been listed to highlight the outlook for India’s retail market – the fact that it is poised for aggressive growth. Supermarkets , hypermarkets , ecommerce and unorganized retail are all set to compete against each other in this growth story .While marketers will look at the conventional 4Ps- “Product , Price , Promotion , Placement” , an additional P with “Proximity” could be a game changer for retailers.
Proximity of the product with respect to the customer is used as a base for a greenfield concept called “Location Based Marketing”. Retailers with the help of “Beacons” can push pertinent content to customer’s smartphone based on his/her location in the store.The scope of how beacons can beused is quiet a handful .Before we jump into the details here is a lowdown on what beacon devices are and how they interact with applications built in smartphones.
Beacons are devices that use blue tooth low energy (BLE) to transmit signals to smartphones and tablets in a short range (70 metres).The signals emitted by beacons are radio waves, hence there are not limited by physical barriers like walls and doors. The beacon signal awakens applications on beacon ready devices. The application references a CRM database /analytics platform looks at the customer profile and generates customized content.
The customized content is sent as a push notification to the client who has “opted –in” to receive such notifications in the retailer’s application .The content could range from promotional coupon code, product information, discounts and reward points.
Use Cases in Retail
Consider these scenarios mentioned below and discover how beacons can help increase “in-store”customer engagement and provide insights to drive sales.
- Customers are outside a store and gazing at the mannequins/billboards placed in the doorway. While they are contemplating entering the store, the beacon in the mannequin/billboard pushes notification about the product on display piquing interest in the customers. Promotional coupon code tothe customer is also sent. Customer is prodded to enter the store basis the “proximity” marketing efforts of the retailer.
- Inside the store, customers move across departments and product categories. Beacons installed department /category wise can help feed data for instore analytics. Data collation can be made towards the departments visited. Subsequent conclusions can be drawn to verify if sales in any category was up/down ,whether a new product display worked and if a particular department was too crowded leading to improvements in store layout.
- Based on the past buying behavior and after identifying a frequent customer, lucrative discounts can be pushed. This can help increase brand loyalty, increase sales andhelp customer retention in the face of tough competition.
- Post a purchase, customers loyalty program can be managed via the beacon. Customers can provide feedback via the app. Customers’ reward points and redemption offer can be sent as a notification.
- Thanking the customer for a purchase, coupon codes for future purchase or one they can share with friends can be sent. This will again be an attempt to drive sales.
While use cases have been discussed, there are a few questions that might crop up with when it comes to implementation.
- Arudimentary question couldbe, why should a customer “Opt In “to receive the messages Are there security concerns of allowing a retailer access movement in the store?
- The answer to this question is anaffirmative no. The very fact that customers visit the same retailer regularly is enough proof that there is brand loyalty.Further the retailer has access to customer spend and SKU wise buying behavior through the membership card in which reward points are accrued .Opting in to receive beacon messages via the app is only an extension of allowing the trusted retailer to send the customer customized promotional offers.
2) What would be the cost incurred?
- With stiff competition from the online e tailers, brick and mortar retailers are looking for ways to share offers /promotions with clients. Currently retailers incur cost of issuing a pamphlet to list their offers .Other option would be to advertise through hoardings /bill board .Investing in abeacon that can send promotional content as push notification seems like an effective alternative .It is low cost($5) and has a battery life of 2-3 years .It could help maximize advertising /marketing spends.
3)How would the experience be considering data speeds?
- The 2G mobile Internet usage in India grew by 41 per cent in 2014, as per Nokia Network’s MBit Index study.3G usage was also up by 114 per cent at end of 2014, compared to 2013,”An average 3G subscriber in India consumed three times more data than a 2G subscriber. This shows that with increase inspeed, usersbuoyed with the experience consumed more data. With 4G coming up and Reliance Jio in the offing, dataspeeds would increase exponentially. With increase in data speed, experience would be hassle free for the end user.
5)Have Beacons been installed in retaileralready? Are they seeing benefits?
Beacons have been implemented by a plethora of clients. Apple, Macy’s,P&G,Coca Cola .Kraft,Levi’s, House of Fraser are all clients wherein beacons have been successfully implemented and where retailers are reaping benefits. As per a study conducted by Swirl,73% of shoppers mentioned that beacon triggered messages would increase the likelihood of purchase 61% said the messages would prompt them to visit the store more often .According to a Business Insider Report, the total addressable sales using beacon triggered message is 6% in 2015.It is expected to rise to 20% in 2016.In store sales using beacon triggered messages is $4.1 billion in 2015.It is expected to rise to $44.4 by 2016.
Beacon Technology’s potential is untapped in India .Retailers should look at adopting this technology to get an early mover advantage and increase patronage before competition catches on. After all India is slated to become the second largest smartphone market in the world by 2017.With 4G services being offered on rates in par with 3G ,users are sure to lap up data services in smartphones as well. This makes smartphones an “omnipotent” tool to communicate with customers.Our recommendation would be-do not lose out in this race! Start today!