Robert Allen | Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:30:00 +0000 | http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/facebook-marketing/facebook-offers-businesses-free-beacon-devices-smartinsights-alert/

Facebook starts to roll out ‘Place Tips’, and looks to get retailers on board

Importance: (For Multichannel retailers)

Announcement: Facebook Place Tips for Local Businesses

Facebook likes to stay at the cutting edge of digital marketing, and are rather good at it. Their latest innovation, which is just now starting to be rolled out in the US, is ‘Place Tips’. Place tips in essence are a way to customise the Facebook user’s experience based on the store they are currently in.

Place Tips gather useful information about a business or landmark — like posts from the business’ Page, upcoming events and friends’ recommendations and check-ins — and show it at the top of News Feed to in-store visitors. This means they will be unique to everyone, and can display information the storeowner thinks is particularly pertinent, such as glowing customer reviews, menus if the business is a restaurant or where about in the store a popular item is.

This represents a way to tap into the fact people are now using their phones everywhere and all the time, and place tips will allow stores to connect with customers exactly when they will be most receptive.

To deliver these custom messages in-store, businesses will have to have a Facebook beacon to broadcast the local signal. So as to ensure an enthusiastic uptake by retailers, Facebook is offering free beacon devices to US stores. You can request one for your Business right now.

free beacon device So far the beacons have only been rolled out in 100 stores in New York City, but this now should expand rapidly with Facebook’s free offering. They do however remain available only in the US, so keep your eyes on the Smart Insights blog for subsequent alerts when the roll out hits Europe and Asia!

Another current limitation retailers should be aware of is that for the moment Place Tips only works on Apple devices. The good news however is that a version for Android devices is currently being worked on.

So, for any US retailers looking to boost sales via engagement with social media, this is a great opportunity to get in early to a potentially major new aspect of the shopping experience. And it won’t cost you a thing. Offers like that don’t come round often.