The conventional brick-and-mortar store is getting a makeover. It isn’t a matter of just wanting to. It is a case of retail outlets having to survive by adopting the latest technology trends. Everything from social media to mobile applications, physical stores are beginning to shift into the 21st century – let’s be honest: most stores maintain a 19th and 20th century business model.
One of the tech concepts that many stores across North America, Europe and Asia are adopting is indoor navigation, or indoor positioning. It is essentially an indoor type of Google Maps (or, if you are still stuck in the early-2000s, Mapquest) and is an important development for industries.
A growing number of businesses are beginning to implement indoor location based services, whether it is as a customer service tool or as a tracking system for high value assets.
Since this is a new technology that is gradually being improved upon, there will be a lot of trial and error for all users. Eventually, there will even likely be new uses for indoor navigation.
Here are four tips for properly using indoor navigation for your store:
1. Turn on the Wi-Fi
Indoor navigation will excel with a Wi-Fi that maintains an accuracy of around 15 metres. Stores that incorporate indoor navigation need to first install the Wi-Fi infrastructure itself, like the router and customer hotspot. Customers can then activate your Wi-Fi on their smartphones.
2. Beacons Are Your Friends
Beacons have been an essential tool for indoor navigation or indoor positioning. This is because Bluetooth technologies work on various platforms with a three-metre accuracy. The two most dominant Beacon devices come from Apple and Google, which consist of flexibility and impeccable accuracy. They come with a battery life of roughly three year.
3. Use Maps That Match Your Layout
To ensure your indoor navigation is successful on your shoppers’ mobile devices, you need to make sure that you upload a map of the real store layout.
If the map is insufficient, out-of-date or inaccurate then the building won’t be properly mapped on their smartphones and you can’t take advantage of the technology.
This is important to remember because you can enable marketing strategies with your indoor navigation. If you want to market a specific product in the store and you have incorrect maps appearing on customers’ maps then they won’t be able to locate those products in the first place.
4. Use the Right Scale of Building on Your Map
Akin to using the wrong map, not having the right scale of the building for your map will produce significant headaches later. Your scale of the store can be incorrect by a centimetre or two, but if it is off by several feet or metres then the map will falter.
Simply put: you have to start from scratch and get the right measurements this time.
Indoor navigation is quickly becoming an innovative measure for brick-and-mortar stores that can’t seem to combat the rise of the digital economy. In order for physical retail outlets to survive, they need some type of gimmick to complement low prices and high-quality items.
Indoor navigation can be that marketing gimmick for businesses. It won’t be the problem solver, but it can certainly assist in making your store seem like the wave of the future or is on the cutting edge of technology. A bland store from the ‘90s won’t seem to exciting for shoppers.
Like any other technology, it takes getting used to, becoming acquainted and taking advantage of the features and benefits. Once you become more knowledgeable about indoor navigation, your little grey cells will conjure up new ideas and concepts to fully maximize this technology.