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Smart buttons as marketing tools – how the IoT and clever ideas are changing retail marketing

A small button is changing the world. This idea may sound unlikely at first but it reveals an almost limitless potential of possibilities when examined more closely.

Of course, it's not just a small button but a smart button as well. It's "smart" because pressing a button like that sets a chain of actions in motion. And that's exactly what makes it special: Each of these actions can be different.

Pressing it once starts a call on your smartphone, pressing it twice starts the washing machine at home and pressing and holding the button for 10 seconds saves the burned calories from your current workout in our cloud.

The smart button has its home in the center of our personal lives. All this is made possible by linking the button to our smartphone. An app serves as a switching center, through which digital processes are defined and driven. Adept users can create and link freely. Since many things are already connected in the IoT, the smart button enters the equation as an additional control unit. And a really simple one, too.

So simple that Amazon linked a so-called dash button with its own ordering process two years ago. The detergent tabs for the washing machine are all gone? No problem. Just press the button that's run and branded by Amazon and the next day new tabs are automatically delivered.

This is idea is actually nothing new. Automated ordering processes have been around in the industry and in the B2B sector for years. But what is new is the thought of offering everyone a smart button and using it to connect with a continuously growing spectrum of IoT services and platforms. And by doing so, contribute to the individualization and networking wave.

Why shouldn't this phenomenon be applied to retail marketing as well? Thanks to the shift in technology, the classic sales funnel is increasingly adapting more to personalized campaigns, which are also completely networked and close to the consumer. So close that users themselves become the POS or "point of information". Because they’re always connected and can both retrieve and provide information at any time. The concept of a smart button as a networking incentive seems logical.

For our customers, we're developing advanced retail campaigns in which a branded smart button is the focal point of communication. Any potential or existing customers will be sent the button with a short message. They find out what happens for themselves when they press the button: We develop a complete campaign storytelling approach, which unfolds after the customer has connected his button to the smartphone – and pressed the smart button.

Predefined processes now tell a story in which the customer is qualified in a fully networked way. From the mystery test drive to ordering of information, everything is possible. For example, with the push of a button, the user can call the latest vehicle model directly to the front door and is invited to take a surprising test drive. Another push of the button in the vehicle and it automatically loads the route to the brand event that the user is invited to. When he arrives at the event, he can use the smart button to display content on large signage screens that has been customized just for him.

That's experiential marketing and goes far beyond merely displaying content because it involves the user directly.

SAINT ELMO'S advises and supports you in the implementation of innovative brand presentations in the digital retail sector and develops solutions for networked omnichannel solutions. We develop custom-made experiential content for different touchpoints and devices and focus on users and their needs. We create templates, branded films, interactive touch applications, immersive 360° marketing experiences and holographic product presentations for events, showrooms and trade fairs. With creative ideas, new technologies and the networking of virtual and real space, we create a retail environment in which customers can enjoy an immersive and interactive experience for their brand and products.

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