Beanstalk adds social check-ins to retail POS

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 22, 2011

Beanstalk adds social check-ins to retail POS

Beanstalk Data has announced a new loyalty platform that delivers integration between the retail point-of-sale (POS) terminals and social media web sites such as Facebook.

Conventional location-based social media services have had limited uptake among the retail and food service industry, partly because they are disconnected from loyalty programmes and POS terminals. In other words, a retailer can learn from a location-based service that a person was in a store, but generally has no idea if that customer bought anything - or what it was.

As a result, the company argues, marketers often have very little meaningful data about their customers' in-store behaviour and preferences, and are often limited to very simple one-size-fits-all offers in-store (such as "buy three, get one free" offers).

"Integration between the point-of-sale and Facebook allows retail stores and restaurants - with their customers' permission given during loyalty programme registration - to check them into Facebook Places, post on their wall, and potentially influence their Facebook friends while at the same time leveraging the POS information to influence their behaviour," said Gilbert Bailey, vice president of marketing & business development for Beanstalk.

According to a recent study by First Data Corporation, only 23% of retail customers and 17% of quick service restaurant (QSR) customers are satisfied with their loyalty programme memberships. Another problem is that it often takes months for marketers to receive the data needed to determine whether or not a loyalty programme has accomplished its objectives.

The Beanstalk Loyalty platform allows marketers to improve their campaign performance by using the transactional data created at the time of sale to trigger timely, relevant and personalised offers through social media, email, text messaging and even direct mail.

The consumer's virtual check-in to the social location service is accomplished automatically through the point-of-sale system, so the marketer also knows exactly what was purchased by the customer - and where and when - and can use this information to tailor an offer that will have much greater appeal than was possible in the past.

In this way the POS is transformed from being a simple transaction recording device into a revenue-generating platform. Retail stores and restaurants can therefore gain a much better understanding of their customers' behaviour, and can communicate with the customer both before and after the transaction to help influence that behaviour. All of this information is made available to the marketer in real-time through a dashboard within the Beanstalk system so that campaigns can be created, changed, or even shut down 'on the fly' based on real world data.

When the customer swipes their loyalty card or provides their phone number at the check-out, the transaction checks into Facebook Places for them. The brand is then able to (optionally) post on the customer's wall that they just ate at the restaurant or purchased an item at the store. The customer's Facebook friends can then see that information and click on it to receive a coupon for themselves. Customers who influence their friends to become new customers can also be rewarded with additional offers, and the revenue created by social media is completely measurable to the marketer.

Some examples of offers that could be generated through the real-time analysis of POS data include:

  • A customer who never eats beef is unlikely to respond to a generic hamburger coupon, no matter how or when it is delivered, but a chicken or fish promotion may yield a much higher return.  
  • The marketer can see that a customer usually visits during a specific time of day - for example during lunch. A lunch promotion simply cannibalises existing revenue, whereas a free child's dinner coupon may motivate the customer to visit during the evening with their whole family.  
  • A customer buys an item of clothing and, while they are still in the store or the shopping mall, an offer can be sent by SMS to encourage them to come back within the next hour to receive a related item at a discount.  
  • The marketer could create a campaign that targets customers who aren't served quickly enough at peak hours and, in real time, send those at-risk customers an email or SMS with an apology and a recovery offer.

Shortly after these kinds of offer are delivered to the customer, the marketer can then see the redemptions as they happen. This information is tracked in real-time through the platform's dashboard, and marketers can analyse the redemption rates to see whether or not the campaign is having the desired impact on customer behaviour. If the campaign is working, it can immediately be rolled out to other geographical areas or stores. If not, it can be changed based on insights obtained from the data.

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