This piece was originally published in the February 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Vinod Kashyap, Director of Product Management, IoT, and Indoor Positioning Solutions, Acuity Brands
As retailers continue to embrace the convergence of online and offline channels, they are faced with the enormous challenge of creating a single shopping experience for their customers, regardless of the channel they use.
Retailers are looking for innovations that build on the instant gratification of an in-store purchase by attaching it to an online shopping experience. An example of this hybrid channel innovation is buy online / pick up in store (BOPIS), in which retailers use their brick and mortar (B&M) stores—sometimes with self-serve kiosks—as pickup locations for online orders.
B&M retailers seeking to merge online and offline customer experiences are increasingly turning to Internet of Things technologies, such as using the store’s existing light-emitting diode (LED) lighting infrastructure outfitted with advanced sensing beacons to enable precise indoor positioning—down to a specific aisle and shelf. With indoor positioning technology deployed throughout a physical store, a retailer can create merchandising action zones, which are precise geofences generated around a product location.
Action zones function like a merchandising box. As a shopper stops to investigate a product, a coupon or other relevant message can be instantly delivered to her mobile device via the store app or connected shopping cart, similar to the chat feature used by many e-commerce channels. Action zones help eliminate friction in the buying process, increasing the potential for an in-the-moment sale. They can also boost upsells by pushing the same “frequently bought together” and “customers who bought this item also bought…” recommendations shoppers are accustomed to online.
In addition to BOPIS, retailers can take advantage of action zones to drive pure in-store interactions that closely mirror the online experience. It introduces a virtual “Buy It Now” button that is the Holy Grail for most retailers today. And because this seamless connection between online and in-store is based on existing lighting infrastructure, it’s easier than many retailers realize.
Indoor positioning technology is helping retailers create a single shopping experiencewhether that’s online, on mobile, in-store, or some combination of all three—serving customers however and wherever they choose to shop. With all of its channels working harmoniously, a retailer can shift focus and resources toward making its brand the loyalty driver and revenue producer.