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Another "i" product revolutionises how we shop

Earlier this month, the Fair Work Commission announced that it would be lifting the minimum wage by 2.5 percent with many Australian businesses claiming that this rise could have a understandable effect on their budget. This news, coupled with the unpredictable nature of the retail sector as a whole, has led to many retailers seeking out new and effective ways to improve their traffic and increase their conversion rates. Most would understand that, when it comes to improving conversion and increasing revenue, knowledge is power. Understanding the latest technologies that can use this knowledge, however, is one step further towards facilitating business growth and overall business success.

Introducing iBeacon

Low energy beacons are a hot new trend that are already changing the way retailers around the world operate and engage with their consumers. Apple's iBeacon technology can be used through strategically placed "beacons" at retail locations, detecting bluetooth-enabled devices from a distance of roughly 100 metres. The beacon can use this accurate location detail to send relevant marketing and promotional materials to those in the area, helping to boost brand awareness and visibility and ultimately improving profitability. In Australia, major businesses and brands including the Werribee Plaza shopping centre in Melbourne and Tourism and Events Queensland are already making use of cutting edge iBeacon technology.

Simple Applications to Lift Revenue

Indoor Location
St George Bank have become one of the first examples of businesses in Australia utilising indoor location apps for iBeacon technology. Indoor location apps detect when customers are not only inside a specific venue, but determines which area of the building they are in. The result is simple - customers can be sent the most relevant information for their needs, with store-specific (and even product-specific) data being sent directly to their device.

Contactless Payments
Contactless payment apps are proving to be very popular amongst cafes, restaurants, and bars, allowing customers to settle their tab instantly via their phone. With bluetooth enabled, consumers can connect directly to the restaurant through their device, viewing their bill, choosing a preferred method, and paying without going through the more time-consuming traditional process and freeing up wait staff.

Proximity Marketing
Woolworths hit the headlines at the end of last year by announcing they would be trialling proximity marketing through iBeacon technology to target click-and-collect customers. The proximity marketing app detects when click-and-collect customers are within a specified range of the store, alerting staff and enabling them to begin packaging the goods. It’s reported that the store are now looking to roll out the technology across 254 locations.

Bridging the Gap

With online sales continuously on the rise, we are constantly finding ourselves asking whether traditional brick and mortar stores can survive in an environment that’s so digitally reliant. However, what we’re beginning to see is the introduction of newer technologies - such as iBeacon and relevant iBeacon apps - that bridge the gap between the in-store and online experience. While adoption and uptake of this technology may be slow, early research is suggesting that consumers are indicating a preference for the more personalised shopping experience that iBeacon can provide.

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