Car dealerships that are considering to incorporate iBeacon solution into their marketing strategy need to have a good understanding of the factors that will determine the outcome of their marketing efforts. Four keys that will ensure a successful implementation of iBeacon marketing tool in a car dealership are:
- deploying beacon devices to strategically picked locations;
- understanding how the communication between beacon devices and users’ smartphones takes place;
- designing iBeacon marketing campaigns that will effectively captivate customer interest;
- evaluating the outcomes of marketing campaigns to improve existing business strategies.
Deploying Beacon Devices
Strategical placement of beacon devices throughout the dealership is of crucial importance. Whether initiating a new beacon deployment or expanding an existing one, it should always be planned ahead with the assistance and expert advice from a deployment specialist. Three most important criteria to pay attention to are: signal range, unobstructed signal emission and the type of content to be delivered.
The range of beacon signal can extend up to 230 feet from the device. Within that range, signal can trigger actions on visitors’ smartphone devices. However, when it comes to tracking user movement across the dealership, a closer range guarantees higher precision in locating customers.
Different environments can significantly alter beacon signal. For example, metal can distort it, while people, walls and furniture can act as signal blockers. The best broadcasting results are usually achieved by placing beacons above doorways, on ceilings, or at the underside of high display shelves.
Depending on the type of content to be delivered, beacons can be placed:
- at the dealership entrance: to invite customers to enter or to greet entering customers;
- in showrooms: to deliver specific and personalized content and offers;
- on/ in individual vehicles: to furnish vehicle information and price, or schedule a test drive;
- throughout the sales lot: to execute any of the above actions.
Designing iBeacon Marketing Campaigns
iBeacon marketing campaigns are easily designed and managed through a management platform. They can take forms of on-screen notifications, videos, images or text. To control the delivery of content to particular customer segments, management platform allows setting up triggers or rules for content delivery. Vehicle shopping prospects can be targeted by any desired variable – their real-time location in the store, demographic and social attributes, time spent in the dealership etc.
An important point to have in mind throughout the process of designing your iBeacon marketing campaigns is to restrict the number of actions users are prompted with. This will ensure they receive only relevant and desirable notifications and interactions they will be likely to respond to.
Beacons and Users’ Smartphones
Beacon signal consists simply of an ID number that is broadcasted at regular intervals, usually multiple times within a second. When users download and install the dealership’s app on their smartphone devices, the app pulls beacons assigned to the store from the secure Internet site. Store can change beacon assignment or promotion anytime, which will be reflected on shoppers’ smartphones in real-time.
When Bluetooth is manually switched on, the app starts to search for instances of the pulled beacon IDs. When there is a match between an ID broadcasted by a beacon and an ID stored in the app, the dealership’s app is triggered to display content that is relevant for the user. For example:
- special deals and promotions,
- vehicle performance stats,
- videos of vehicles in action,
- reviews from leading automotive blogs,
- forms for scheduling test drives,
- button to request assistance.
Understanding the Outcome of Your iBeacon Campaigns
Analyzing the outcomes of your iBeacon campaigns helps you to understand your customers’ purchase journeys. One of the greatest challenges dealerships face is retaining customers who tend to change retailers frequently. The key to solving that problem lies in improving customer management, which in turn will result in better customer retention. The best way to go about it is by leveraging the analytics data from the management platform. Analytics reveal the behavioral patterns of your customers inside the dealership.
These behavioral patterns can encompass:
- actions the customers undertook on their mobile applications: did they browse information, view videos, read automobiles blogs or view financing details;
- navigational patterns: what was their progression through the dealership site and in which areas of the showroom did they spend the most time;
- model(s) they were looking at: what this says about the popularity of certain models;
- dwell time: how long they stayed in one particular location (vehicle, display or object);
- when did they demand personal contact: at what point did they exhaust the detailed information available with the mobile app;
- what kind of questions did they ask: did they need more information, or did they need to interact with a sales assistant?
These types of analytics data allow dealers to learn their users’ interest and sense their context, as well as to evaluate their responses to their service and initiate necessary follow-up actions that will result not only in meeting, but even exceeding customer expectations.