The more technological advancements have arisen, the more they are implemented into business and recently, the business world has gotten to proceed within more mobile and digital year by year. One of the reasons behind this drift is of course getting closer to the customer and, especially in the marketing field, the experts are working on the issue.
Proximity marketing, at this point, enables advertisers to deliver ads, sponsor services, and provide highly relevant offers to consumers using on-location access networks. Also called hyper-local marketing, this method implies distributing local advertising content to customers via wireless channels, such as wi-fi, Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. In this way, customers who sign up for the service in the related location, start to receive notifications about the advertising operation.
As the industry watchers preconized the year 2010 as “the year of mobile”, retailers started to turn their focal point more on the issue. As it did not exist before by that much, retailers used proximity marketing to make consumers involved and enjoyed more interactively within the offerings they have. So, you can “think of it as taking location-based marketing to an even greater level of "local," and being contextually relevant in absolute terms. Proximity marketing allows retailers to leverage their strengths and create an even more memorable interaction for consumers and, by extension, motivate return visits and increase ROI.”
To benefit from this service, only equipments required from consumers side, include gadgets such as NFC-enabled smartphones, tablets and Internet-enabled GPS tracking devices. Moreover, proximity marketing tools can be traditional as well as mobile networks, Bluetooth and wi-fi radios.
After activating his mobile device, Analog Deficit Disorder (ADD) afflicted consumer is welcomed by a simple wallpaper. Then the retailer starts to affect the consumer by making him involved via the touchpoints within a certain range of approximately 300 feet. In this way, marketing playground gets a full and strategic advantage to catch the customer’s attention as well as to send him bite-sized information he could use. Meanwhile, consumer starts to make more trips to the store having the latest promotion, product or any related info on his fingertips, and as a result the retailers revenues are increased.
Bluetooth is a short-range transmission and one of the most used medium for proximity marketing. In this way, retailer can send information contents to consumer about coupons, videos, movies and music within no cost to the recipient. However, it is also one of the most problematic tool. Due to the security fears, or a desire to save battery life, many users keep their Bluetooth devices in Off mode, or On but not set to be ‘discoverable’. That’s why, the retailer should support its Bluetooth marketing strategy via posters, screens or sales representatives to suggest people turn on their Bluetooth. On the other side, the marketing researches say that current mobile phones usually have Bluetooth switched on by default and many users keep their Bluetooth devices on for easy connection with car kits and headsets. However, some implementations may require to run Java applications in devices to be able to receive contents. Moreover, as the diversity of mobile phones is huge, the retailer system using this way of PM (proximity marketing) should be able to determine the phone model to deliver the proper content automatically.
Proximity marketing helps fashion retailers to engage with the pedestrian customers by diverting their plans while they are just walking near or inside the store. At this point, keeping pace with their quick moves can be supported by NFC based systems as well. Near Field Communication (NFC) tag are embedded in the smart poster or product. Any NFC-enabled consumer device can activate the RFID chip included tag in those smart units by just being placed in close proximity. In this way,consumer would be able to reach any information like product detail, special promotion deals etc. Widely used NFC systems are usually adopted by Japan as psh marketing (push-pull marketing) to allow the consumer to choose where and when to receive marketing messages. At this point, it is better to recall globally used NFC mobile wallets including Google Wallet and ISIS (mobile payment system).
Lastly, the GSM based systems, or more simply the Short Message Service (SMS) and Cell Broadcast (CB), can be used to allow advertising messages to be broadcasted within a specific geographical area. However, as the audience and industry matter, marketing admin have to be extremely careful to be short and not exaggerated. Its should not be forgotten that recent years have been full of spamming complaints about fashion brands and that’s why many consumer have got to cancel receiving such messages via their GSM operator deals.
In addition to digital advertising distribution ways, fashion retailers can use proximity marketing strategy as a analysis tool. They can record all devices identified and/or integrated while analyzing which ads or messages were accepted or not. In this way, prospective marketing strategies of the fashion retailer would be feed and become more effective. Because PM happens in real time, the marketing admin can rapidly interfere the offerings while being able to manage and measure its effects in an easier way, in this way, location based measurements are done more effectively.
Once more, it should not be forgotten that fashion retailers should consider what is that thing customer wants before their own expectations. Fascinating technology embedded marketing seems exciting in the first place but it can also be a danger for a fashion brand when it is used as a new spamming way. Thus, it is better to keep in mind that customer wants something distinctive, personal and valuable while developing the proximity strategy. Moreover, as digital communicaions expert Neil Jenkins emphasizes: “The use of phone location technology in smart phones is becoming more popular, and tracking customers through Mobile Applications, Social Networking sites and QR codes offer a far more sophisticated and targeted approach.” So, the optimal approach can be a mix of digital solutions composed of digital marketing and signage supported by social networking and mobile applications.