In a world of digital purchases, digital marketing and digital optimization, how does retail compete? The rise of online shopping brought incredible opportunities for both businesses and customers, but as with every disruptive idea, it has also presented a challenge for other established sectors. In this case, retail sales.
The thing with online sales is that they easily present the seller with a lot of data regarding their customers’ purchases and general behavior. They can check their history to see what kind of articles they are interested in, for example, and then bombard them with selective suggestions based on that information.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. There is a lot more information that can be collected, not just history, and combining all of that data to create profiles is a very powerful tool so that companies can advertise more effectively and optimize the whole process of actually selling something.
So then, we ask the same question: how does retail compete? How do you turn the psychical space of a store and get useful, meaningful information from it in an automated process? Beabloo, a company based in Barcelona, has a few solutions on how you can do that.
Identifying itself as “a pioneering company in developing online-to-offline (O2O) technologies,” Beabloo offers a lot of services relating to digital marketing, including digital signage and Big Data, the retail sector being a vital part of the company’s business. The “O2O” refers to “Offline-to-Online”, which means taking online data and implementing it offline to optimize the use of psychical spaces to ensure gain in the marketing investments.
Recently, we had the chance to talk with Matteo Rey and Pilar Fustero, both International BDMs for Beabloo, which is present in more than 80 countries. We asked them about the company and the services it offers, as well as some of their success stories, and more.
Objects talking to consumers
Beabloo identifies four main parts of what they do: Digital marketing, Analytics (image, video and Wi-Fi), digital signage and beacons with Bluetooth technology. They also recognize several sectors they’ve worked in, like banks, apparel and fashion, food (including supermarkets), department stores, hospitality, shopping malls, telecom operators and mobile manufacturers.
It’s a broad offering, so they explained themselves. “We’ve developed a B2B solution focused on retail,” says Rey, “to help our clients communicate with their customers with an omnichannel model and in an interactive way, integrating different services like CMS (Content Management System) to several technologies that connect products and customers.”
For that, they use several tools like beacon technology, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), barcode scanning, touch screens and satisfaction surveys. “With a multichannel system, that means that you can control different communication channels: displays, web applications, mobile applications… And obtaining data from that to understand what customers like the most, how they move in a store, and all the information that can help retail to be more effective.”
Fustero follows: “Basically, the most relevant thing, I believe, is to understand the business of the potential clients… In other words, using Big Data oriented towards a concrete result that can help that client in the retail or hospitality sectors.” She also mentions “business focused on events,” as they’ve worked with event-focused locations, like Fira Barcelona.
“It’s also a consultancy,” adds Rey, saying that the measurements of analytics is also a vital part of Beabloo. Collecting data is just the first step, after all, Beabloo also takes care of the process showing all of the combined results with their Analytics Display.
But with so many technologies, it can be hard for a business to know what exactly is the tool they need. We also asked about whether all of these components were part of a single package, or if they also worked as independent services, and Fustero has a clear answer: “They are separate activities that can work together if that is the function required to improve a business.”
She continues: “We have a base, like if it were a Pizza. And from there, we add whatever is necessary to improve that digital communication, or that analysis, because sometimes it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with digital signage. And not just taking data from the offline world to load it to online, but also the other way around: how an action made online affects the offline world and how an action made in the offline world can affect the traffic of a webpage, for example.”
Be my blue
The usability aspect of any service is one of the most important parts of it. In the case of Beabloo, everything is cloud based, so businesses can relax knowing that all of their data is safe. “No matter where you are or the platform you’re using, whether a PC or mobile device, everything is in the cloud,” explains Rey. And as expected, he assures such sensible data is secured: “It complies with the strictest of laws regarding the handling and management of data, because it’s also a very relevant part.”
With about a 100 people working for the company, Beabloo has more than established its place as a retail solution leader. Now, the company is also branching out to offer a similar service, but on a smaller scale. Fustero talks about the new initiative, “myBloo”, which in simple terms is basically Beabloo for smaller businesses.
“It’s aimed at small family businesses and is a different concept,” she explains. “It’s a bit about bringing the digital marketing platform to them, and also creating proximity network for small neighborhoods or commercial associations,” a proposition that might just give those small businesses a fighting chance, too.
… And where did the “Bloo” brand come from, exactly? We couldn’t help but ask. Fustero says the name “Beabloo” actually comes from “Be blue”, as in, be the color blue. “Originally, the company focused on collecting and analyzing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals. And then, you know. Both symbols are blue.” So after they changed their focus, they just played a bit with the pronunciation, and so “Beabloo” was chosen.
Just talking about what they do is easy, though. Beabloo has a lot to be proud of, and so they’ve compiled some of their success stories for anyone who’s interested to see. Clients like the mentioned Fira Barcelona, but also Media World (Italy’s Media Markt branch), Mango, Madrid’s Warner Park, Japan’s Softbank and more.
Each one of those demand a different kind of implementations. In Warner Park, for example, they implemented a circuit of screens throughout the whole park destined to cover different needs such as queue management at rides, waiting time information, menus and seating availability at restaurants in the food court, and more.
In Mango, Digital Signage helped strengthen internal communications between employees. In Media World, on the other hand, video and Wi-Fi analytics played a huge part in tracking the customers’ movements through the store’s different areas.
“What we have seen”, says Rey, “is that, in all cases, there’s an improvement also from the commercial aspect”. Increasing sales with digital signage, improving margins by tracking movements and optimizing operations are some of the many ways they can do that. “There are many ways to measure that success.”