Despite the promise that digital technologies would simplify and streamline the shopping experience, consumers are finding shopping more taxing than ever. One fifth of US consumers (21%) find that going shopping makes them feel stressed, while more than 1 in 10 experience high-stress levels while buying online. Why is that important? Because making decisions, especially when it comes to spending money, is exponentially harder when we’re stressed. This means the retail industry needs to look for deeper innovation that will remove barriers and give consumers a frictionless road to purchase.

Proximity marketing is a technique that uses the ability to somehow track (through bluetooth, Wifi and Audio) mobile phones coupled with targeted offers and consumer data, to reach consumers with highly relevant offers while in-store. These highly targeted, contextual mobile offers based on location hold tremendous promise for brick and mortar retailers looking to design an engaging and effective in-store experience. As online shopping grows, it is imperative that brick and mortar stores adopt innovative solutions to make going to the (physical) store worth the added time and effort. While the case for proximity marketing already exists, we’ll examine why adoption by retailers has been slower than anticipated, and how new data connectivity protocols, such as #dataoveraudio, stand to propel faster growth.

The ability to offer consumers targeted and relevant offers for products they are considering in-store (and in real-time) helps breakthrough the clutter to guide consumers down the purchasing funnel. Proximity marketing techniques, to date powered mainly via bluetooth and beacon technologies, offer “the best of both worlds”- digital offers on mobile that are pushed during an in-store shopping experience based on where the consumer is. We know that consumers are already using their mobile phones in-store in droves (over 80%), so why not turn their mobile device into an effective marketing tool?

Some retailers have caught onto the trend. Large store chains such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, CVS as well as major fashion retailers such as Urban Outfitters and American Eagle, are already using beacons to target consumers based on their physical location. Beacons are ‘placed’ throughout the store and emit radio signals to connect to nearby users’ mobile phones, working simultaneously with a retailer-specific app to push notifications to the consumer when they are in proximity to the beacon. By targeting the consumer in real time, the technology can capitalize on a buyer’s proximity to a product, which can be even more effective than serving ads to them before they decide to go to the store.

Proximity marketing techniques help drive in-store purchases and sales. In the 2014 study, 70% of shoppers who received proximity marketing offers on their mobile phones said it increased their likelihood to make a purchase during an in-store visit. Moreover, more than 60% of respondents said they’d do more holiday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores that delivered mobile content and offers while they shopped.

Despite all of the initial excitement about using beacons for proximity marketing, they have been slow to catch on. Implementations are complex and cost prohibitive. Bluetooth is a power-hungry tech that consumers often turn off — dramatically decreasing effectiveness. What’s needed is a simple, easy to implement solution that relies only on existing infrastructure. That’s where LISNR comes in.

LISNR utilizes an ultrasonic, inaudible technology comprised of sound waves that transmit data to devices within a multitude of ranges. Retailers can send offers via sound to nearby devices in-store, and drive customer engagement, loyalty, and sales. Easy to deploy, inaudible LISNR tones don’t require a network connection, WiFi or Bluetooth technology; all that’s needed are speakers & a microphone. Any device enabled with LISNR can receive promotions via tones in real time. Tones can be integrated into backend CRM systems and retail-specific apps to broadcast relevant offers to customers within range. Low complexity, low hassle.

LISNR is excited to be at the forefront of proximity marketing innovation, making proximity marketing a reality, and allowing brick and mortar businesses the opportunity to reach consumers in-store efficiently and effectively.

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