Mobile payment technology is rapidly evolving — not only to deliver convenient and secure mobile payment options to fuel consumers, but to help fuel retailers drive sales from the forecourt to the C-store.
Two wireless technologies — Near Field Communication (NFC) and beacons — are at the forefront of this marketing trend. Both technologies are capable of delivering rich, customized content to consumers over their smartphones or tablets. Whether presenting customers with loyalty rewards programs, coupons or ads, or tempting fuel-only consumers to check out a can’t-miss deal inside the store, both NFC and beacons represent a tremendous opportunity to engage with customers.
Beacons utilize a low-energy Bluetooth signal to transmit messages directly to Bluetooth-equipped mobile devices that have a retailer’s app installed. The mobile device uses location-tracking to alert the app that the consumer has approached (or left) the area. While in the vicinity though, the beacon can transmit highly targeted messaging.
With an estimated 570 million Android and Apple smartphones already Bluetooth-enabled, the marketing opportunity is obvious. However, because the beacon technology is still so new, the ROI is as-yet unproven. Additionally, Bluetooth mobile wallet technology is somewhat redundant to other mobile marketing platforms, such as NFC, that some retailers may have already deployed.
According to research from IHS Technology, NFC-equipped smartphones could reach 1.2 billion by 2018. NFC utilizes radio frequency identification (RFID) and slightly less power than Bluetooth to enable mobile devices equipped with NFC chips in close proximity of one another to share data — users only need to wave their phone close to an NFC device to engage communication. Some petroleum equipment manufacturers — including Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Wayne — are already adding NFC support for dispensers, which is beginning to be deployed at gas stations.
To learn how a mobile wallet and proximity marketing system can benefit your retail fuel site, read this CSP Magazine article about beacon technology, or email a request for additional information to Source’s Joe O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.