Smartphone Charging Stations: Making Strong Connections Between Retail Brands and Mobile Users

Powered by a versatile marketing platform, an interactive charging station can be a potent vehicle for enriching customer experience, and for connecting consumers to retail brands.

Brightbox, Inc. provides retailers with secure charging stations, supported by a robust marketing platform. The elegant stations have 6 secure chambers and a digital screen. They can be deployed in a variety of form factors – wall-mounted, table top or stand-mounted – and are connected to an open back-end platform for delivery of ad content, and for interactivity with consumers via polling and SMS or email marketing.

Across Brightbox’s global fleet (800 stations in 9 countries), mobile phones are charged on average for around 42 minutes, giving consumers ample time to increase their daily spend. In a recent Brightbox case study at three North American mall properties, our stations were used an average of 1,173 times per month (39 per day). Using our BrightEyeQTM camera-based passive audience measurement system, we found that more than 14,000 patrons per month looked at each Brightbox station for an average of 8.2 seconds. This provides a significant opportunity to leverage a layer of Sponsorship for the amenity.

In Brightbox’s experience, a secure and private smartphone charging station is now an expected retail in-store phygital amenity. For power-thirsty mobile users, it is a genuine and valuable utility – a 21st century drinking fountain – which reestablishes their physical connection to the digital world. For retailers, a charging station helps them to literally bridge the gap between their physical stores and digital presences.

In another recent Brightbox case study at a Texas mall we found that of 1,210 consumers surveyed, 95% agreed that having a secure charging station enhanced their customer experience, while 91% agreed that they stayed at the property longer because of it.

Retailers are now transforming an unwelcome disruption (loss of mobile power) into a positive and mutually beneficial experience. By giving the consumer the seamless experience of safe & secure power, the retailer can establish valuable connections that create a number of benefits:

·     Enhancing Customer Experience

·     Increasing Dwell Time and Basket Size

·     Reinforcing Marketing Initiatives

Capturing data such as SMS & Email addresses

Increasing App Downloads

Gaining valuable feedback via surveys

·     Driving Sponsorship Revenue

From our experience, we would observe that brands most effectively leverage charging stations to make strong connections with consumers when they:

1.    Make the recharging experience simple, with a minimum number of steps and easy-to-follow instructions

2.    Make the marketing touches light and seamless: ask only a few survey questions, or ask for only one point of contact (SMS or email). Do not ask for both. Make the campaign focused. A single post-charging session SMS message with a link to a brand website or app is often highly effective for a grateful, now loyal consumer.

In 2017 a strong retail focus will be a refinement of these smart and targeted forms of communication. SMS and email are two of the best means to accomplish this. By leveraging the interactive features of a smart charging station, retail businesses can capture up to 100% of these patrons’ contact information to significantly augment their marketing databases. In Brightbox’s experience, SMS is likely to be the more effective in-store point of contact, while email is likely to be better for on-going marketing dialogues with consumers after they have left the store.

In a huge 2016 campaign organized by our partner BRCHARGE, the large Brazilian electronics retailer Pontofrio leveraged Brightbox to literally drive traffic into the store, while heightening visibility and capturing data. First, the retailer handed out branded multi-use mag stripe charging cards to customers in the mall common space.  Armed with the “free charge” cards, 9,000 mobile users went into the electronics store to Brightboxes where they charged over 16,000 devices. Via on-screen charging station surveys, Pontofrio then gained valuable feedback and information from 3,450 patrons about their holiday retail spending plans. These successful campaigns make retailers appreciate the true marketing power of a charging amenity, coupled to an intelligent and interactive platform.

We believe that the retail and other organizations that listen most closely to what the consumer is asking for (charging please is one of them!), and do the best job of communicating with their customers, will have the most success as we progress in 2017.

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