How Connecting Beacons to POS Technology Will Light Up the Entire Path to Purchase
By Catherine Tabor, CEO, Sparkfly
Beacons provide retailers with an opportunity to increase engagement and help direct the in-store experience, and they indicate a shift in many brands’ digital and in-store marketing and merchandising strategies. However, they need to be connected to other consumer touchpoints to deliver their full potential value to retailers.
Merging the Physical and Digital
Led by innovative companies like Sephora, retailers are beginning to focus on developing omni-channel strategies and merging the physical and digital worlds. The omni-channel approach is largely a response to consumers’ practical use of digital for finding deals, researching products and participating in loyalty programs.
The benefits of an omni-channel marketing approach are two-fold. First, it provides consumers with digital tools and incentives that are both intuitive and incredibly complementary with the physical retail experience. Secondly, omni-channel marketing offers retailers increased insight into consumer behavior and the path to purchase (i.e., what causes a consumer to buy or not).
Beacons Shed Some, Not All, Light
By using tools like beacons, retailers hope to further encourage digital-driven consumer behavior within the physical shopping experience. However, while beacons can supply insightful data about consumer engagement and consideration, the path to purchase is not completely illuminated. Despite all the advantages of beacon technology, retailers are still finding it a challenge to connect this new wealth of consumer engagement data to the critical end point, and true determination of marketing success, purchases made at point-of-sale systems.
The path to purchase has many different elements, and beacons only provide insight into one. For example, a consumer may see a mobile ad that has a promotion for a new TV, and this could drive them into Best Buy. Once inside Best Buy, a beacon may direct them to another deal on Blu-Ray players, and in the end, the consumer may buy the TV, a Blu-Ray player, and some new Playstation 3 games. In this scenario, data from the beacon will only shed light on one step. Best Buy also cares about data points like how many people their mobile ads got in the store, and what the average basket size was from the consumers cashing in on the TV deal.
The Way Forward
This is an exciting time for retailers. The adoption of beacons is another important step toward merging the digital and physical shopping experiences, and marketers are being presented with new consumer touchpoints and a more complete view into consumer behavior and preferences.
By taking the next step and merging this new data with other touchpoints, such as the transactional data generated by POS technology, retailers will gain the ability to track and measure results of their marketing efforts through the entire path-to-purchase, and they can use that knowledge to increase customer engagement, loyalty and overall sales.
Bi-Lo, Delhaize get green light on acquisition
Bi-Lo Holdings and Delhaize Group have received approval from the Federal Trade Commission to proceed with the transaction in which Bi-Lo Holdings will acquire substantially all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize.
Bi-Lo Holdings agreed to divest 12 Delhaize America stores in the states of Fla., Ga., and S.C., and Delhaize Group has agreed to retain two additional stores and convert them to the Food Lion banner, pursuant to a consent order accepted by the FTC for public comment on Feb. 25. The order is subject to final approval by the FTC after the close of a 30-day comment period.
“We have been preparing for the integration of the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s banners and store associates for many months and are delighted to now move forward and welcome them to the Bi-Lo Holdings family,” said Randall Onstead, president and CEO of Bi-Lo Holdings.
Bi-Lo Holdings initially acquired the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s chains from Delhaize for $265 million in May of 2013. The deal at the time included 72 Sweetbay stores, leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid’s stores, for a total of 165 stores throughout the Southeast.
Following news of approved acquisition, Bi-Lo said it plans to close eight of the acquired Delhaize America and five Bi-Lo Holdings stores because of close geographic proximity.
“Given the number of stores we are acquiring, we anticipated that we may be asked by the FTC to divest some stores to close the deal. In addition, with the close proximity of some of the Bi-Lo Holdings and Delhaize stores, we also knew that we would have to close a few stores as part of the acquisition,” said Onstead. “We appreciate the many contributions our associates in these stores have made, and we will ensure they are treated respectfully and have the opportunity to pursue other open positions in nearby stores.”
The stores planned for closure are as follows:
Kellogg makes board changes
Kellogg has elected Stephanie Burns, Ph.D., retired chairperson and CEO of Dow Corning Corporation, and La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to the company’s board of directors.
"Stephanie and La June bring a wealth of experience and leadership from both the business and the philanthropic sectors," said chairman Jim Jenness. "We are proud to welcome these forward-thinking innovators to our board."
Dr. Burns is credited with spearheading Dow Corning’s investments in emerging markets, including China, India, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam. Dr. Burns served as Dow Corning’s first director of women’s health and is the former chairman of the American Chemical Council. She also served on President Obama’s President’s Export Council.
Montgomery Tabron oversees the foundation’s work ensuring optimal child development. During her 26-year career with the foundation, Montgomery Tabron has been involved in all aspects of its operations, most recently as EVP for operations and CFO. She is also a leading civic advocate, serving as president of the board of the Western Michigan University Foundation, and as a board member of many community organizations, including Southwest Michigan First, Battle Creek Community Health Partners, Bronson Methodist Hospital and the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.
Sterling Speirn, the former president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is stepping down from his role on board.
"Kellogg Company has benefited greatly from Sterling’s global insight and experience throughout his six years as a member of our Board. We wish him all the best as he continues his work on behalf of vulnerable children and families in the philanthropic and nonprofit arenas," said Jenness.