Close range marketing (CRM), widely known as proximity marketing, uses Wifi or Bluetooth to send promotional messages about products and services to customers’ smartphone and/or tablet within a limited radius.
For retailers, proximity marketing can be a beneficial in-store sales technique. Setting up Bluetooth at a particular location allows information (text, images, audio or video) to be sent to Bluetooth enabled devices within range of the transmitter or beacon. Most promos and/or coupons can only be received through installed applications capable of receiving push notifications, so it is best to promote downloads of your brand’s application or work through a popular coupon application (i.e. Cellfire, Coupons.com, Shopkick) that people may have currently downloaded.
Proximity marketing is beginning to allow for consumer behavior tracking in ways that have never before been possible. Setting up beacons throughout the store tracks who is in the store, what sections that person likes, dead spots, favorite spots, and other information at any given time. Mobile payment systems, such as PayPal, Google Wallet and Apple Pay, are lessening the need to wait in line by allowing for verbal confirmations, fingerprint checkouts and RFID scanning.
However, brick & mortars are not the only places that close range marketing can be of use. Venues such as airports, banks, hotels, travel agencies, gas stations, restaurants, convention centers and night clubs have been known to observe considerably higher ROI. Because most people who are open to receiving promotional messages on their smartphone or tablet are generally technologically savvy and show some level of customer loyalty, contextually relevant offers often aid in finalizing the conversion (Marketing Schools). Guest tablet technologies such as Ziosk are improving service-based customer experiences as well, particularly by reducing the time it takes by allowing diners to close their own tabs by swiping their card(s) at tables and bars.
Close range marketing is still a relatively new practice, even though aspects of it have been around for years. Many have opted to test its effects on shoppers, contemplating whether or not it is a sound multichannel investment. Looking toward the future, proximity marketing will probably become a powerfully influential factor in real-time decision making (so long as it’s driven by real-time context).