Beacons

Beacons are small wireless devices that continuously transmit a radio signal. The signal is detected by nearby smart devices like smartphones and smartphones can act upon the transmission.

My team did a number of use cases (see use cases below) test deployments for the Meijer Test Store in Walker and then worked with Meijer vendors to do the initial deployment to Meijer retail spaces in Lowel, Cascade, and Standale. Meijer has deployed Bluetooth beacons at a number of store locations based on this early research and prototyping

Images of Meijer test store in walker and early testing and prototyping of beacons in that location.

Initial prototype store rollout was in Standale. This is the vendor we worked with right in the middle of a deployment and mapping session within a store.

Usecases

Jump-starting checkout:
Jump-starting the process of allowing people to check out of Meijer based on their location would simplify the check out process and improve customer in-store experience. Potentially, jump-starting checkout would enable information to be gathered before the initialization of check out. For example, entering the mPerks # and maintaining shopper preferences as they begin scanning merchandise.

Recognition:
Recognizing when a customer has entered a Meijer designated area (store, gas station … etc.) will allow for any pertinent information to be sent to the customer at a time that is contextually relevant. For example, we could inform customers of rewards that are waiting for them or use surprise and delight methods of rewarding frequent shoppers with discounts or new and interesting relevant products. At gas stations, the customer would “arm” the station pump simply by driving up to it. Jump-starting the fueling process to get people in and out of the gas station more quickly would create a more pleasurable and expedient experience. See “two-way” beacon technologies.

Contextual design:
Customers use applications differently based on the context that they are in. The uses Meijer is interested in are the “in-store” experience and the “out of store” experience. With beacon technology, Meijer can determine if a customer is IN a store or NOT in a store. Meijer tools or applications can utilize this context-aware information to adapt navigational and user
interface components showing the most contextually relevant information at the most appropriate times. Given contextual awareness at this level customers would accomplish precisely what they are trying to accomplish exactly when they are trying to accomplish it. In-Store – mScan, product locator, coupons, rewards available. Out of Store – Planning your shopping trip, Coupon collection, Shopping list creation.

Personalized experiences:
Meijer self serve devices recognizing customer approach would show preferences based on behavioral patterns. Digital produce scales that have beacons could pull up customized products for customers. (Tina buys bananas’, Fuji apples and pears … are these what you are buying Tina today?). Meijer mobile software would recognize when a customer has been in a given location for an extended period of time creating the opportunity to approach the customer or distribute information that might be of interest. Bruce is lingering by sporting goods … should we show him the sale we have on fishing rods or send someone to help him make a
determination? Awareness of in-store customers would allow for more discreet and pleasurable pricing, information distribution and checkout opportunities.


Location and navigational experiences:
Of all the uses for beacon technology discussed none has more opportunity for success than location and navigational experiences. A customer who is new to a store location or is new to a particular of route store would be assisted in turn by turn fashion to the products they are interested in. Using beacon technology an efficient route through a customers shopping list and to check-out might additionally be provided giving a sense of being supported by the Meijer team even in an unfamiliar environment.