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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 29, 2014

Shoppers warming to in-store opt-in mobile marketing

Beacons - the 2014 buzzword for retailers - may make more of an impact on mobile users than first thought. Despite privacy concerns surrounding use of consumer data and mobile security, a third of smartphone users in the UK say personalized messages sent direct to their mobile device would likely influence their purchase decisions.

by Helen Leggatt

Beacons, such as the ones developed by PayPal and Apple, are devices that brick-and-mortar stores can implement in-store to bring together consumers' offline and online shopping experiences.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy, Beacons communicate directly with opted-in smartphones when a shopper enters a store. They enable the direct sending of personalized messages to individual shoppers based on their previous shopping and browsing behavior online and can be used to deliver coupons, product information, inventory and other store-related promotions.

beacon.jpgA survey by research firm eDigitalResearch in the UK found that, of the 1,300 smartphone user participants, almost half (45%) are 'very willing' or 'somewhat willing' to allow retailers to send personalized messages to their mobile device. Furthermore, 33% believe that receiving personalized messages on their smartphone while out shopping would 'very likely' or 'likely' have an influence on their purchases.

Of that 33%, over three-quarters (78%) said they would be 'extremely' or 'somewhat willing' for data collected by retailers to be used to personalize communications.

"As retailers and brands get to grips with what it is and how it works, consumer opinion demonstrates that it could potentially revolutionize the in-store and high street shopping experience," says Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch. "We found last year that half of smartphone owners regularly shop through retail apps and have them installed on their mobiles. It opens up the potential for retailers to digitally reach outside their stores and tempt smartphone owners in, increasing footfall and, as these results demonstrate, boost their revenue streams."


Of great importance to shoppers is that in-store mobile communications are opt-in. This is highlighted in a survey carried out by OpinionLab in the U.S. where 44% of respondents said they would be less likely to shop in a store they knew was tracking them without their permission.

The biggest turn-offs about in-store tracking are concerns about whether retailers will keep consumer data secure (68.5%), that it feels like spying (67%) and that retailers will use data collected purely for their own benefit (60.5%).

The upshot is, consumers want the choice of whether to be tracked, or not. Two-thirds of respondents believe opt-in was the way for retailers to operate a tracking program, with just 12% who said shoppers should be tracked automatically. However, even this approach does not guarantee wide-scale acceptance as 63% stated they would not opt-in - even in their favorite retail store.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Beacon, brick-and-mortar, in-store, mobile, retail, smartphone

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