Beacons are the new black. These cheap little things will be everywhere to "wake up" the right section of a mobile app that matches exactly where you are.
Think about the value of instantly getting info on your phone about the product or service in front of you... then being able to take action, optin, share, purchase... skip a checkout line!
And we have vendor lessons to share!
Beacons are the answer to customer service at the right time and place while building individual customer knowledge and (only when appropriate!) increasing sales.
The goal is to use Beacon "touchpoints" of data to build a REAL profile of your customers and AUTOMATICALLY deliver relevant value at their points-of decision.
A simply great use is by Walgreens. Customers were forgetting that they had been saving coupons. Beacons at the front door just automatically opens their App ,,, that's it.
Beacons are the next land grab (literally) for the Internet of Things.
A Beacon can go anywhere. They do not need power because batteries last for years. They do not need internet connection since they merely transmit a signal that wakes up a sleeping mobile app that corresponds to that specific Beacon location.
They are cheap enough that you should not let price distract you from imagining the many opportunities to manage employees and satisfy more customers. Each Beacon is only about $25. Since they are always getting cheaper ... think "free" with the right partner.
So... with the a little box and some optional data integration:
- Automatically wake up a sleeping mobile App and engage
- Provide real value with the right content at the right time and location
- Help users find info so they do not need to hunt, click, and swipe for it
- Deliver only relevant experiences by acknowledging user references
Coupons, offers, and delivering deeper product data are all smart. But consider the ease of facility management (what should happen where and when)... allocate some Beacons to simply count customers in key locations... provide "you are here" maps... alerting your sales associates about a customer service opportunity right now in the store!
Read how the Magic Kingdom VERY successfully tracks and loves you!
To quote GigaOm (RIP), "the best prospects for beacons in the near term may lie in venues such as amusement parks, museums, sports arenas, hotels,and mass-transit hubs. Venue operators can easily use beacons to deliver information users actually want in those kinds of scenarios, and that could pave the way for uptake of beacon based (advertising and promotion) campaigns in retail settings."
VIP 3.0, Micro Geo Fence, Context for communication, Proximity Profiles, Predictive Customer Service, Wiser Wayfinding, a solution to Showrooming ... Digital Delivery for Analog Aspirations!
An overview from one of the vendors we select:
The market opportunity for retailers is huge... now:
Key (No B.S.) Details:
- - Yes, you need an App to be triggered ... there is one near you (or in your near future).
- - Yes, Bluetooth must be turned on ... but if the App is valuable, users will want to turn on this surprisingly low-battery-consumption feature
- - QR codes and NFC are good - but require user to get up and touch or scan.
- - GPS and Wifi are not better. Both require much more battery power and cannot trigger your phone to take action (you must be actively viewing and swiping).
Almost half of all U.S. smartphones are currently enabled to connect to beacons using Bluetooth BLE (Android 4.3 and iPhone 4S or later). As people upgrade their phones, this is expected to grow to 80% over the next 18 months
Having Beacons are not even necessary - ByteLight uses LED lighting
Get the full range of opinions from videos of the sessions at Mediapost's first IOT:Beacon conference and their second conference... to learn about real world deployments by vendors, agencies, retailers, and the Brooklyn Museum. Here is the good intro overview panel. Another recent online event with more video sessions is BeaconConf (find speaker presos here). For an updated directory of Proximity Service Providers, see here.
The exciting challenge is to offer valuable content so consumers opt-in, continue to engage, buy stuff, and share with their friends. Abuse of this channel is as likely as you see in all media.... only worse since the mobile phone is such a personal and important part of our lives.
Digital data feeds are the key. The more relevant the better. Can you deliver live, dynamic info related to a specific location? However, you can easily setup relevant content in advance that matches what you want to offer a customer in a specific location... and on their CUSTOM TOUR (I am yelling because this individualized service is what Beacons are best at).
Security and privacy are on the top of our list. We harness military-grade encryption and make sure that spoofers don't hijack anyone.
If you use the right Campaign Management System, the right data is easy to deliver to the right person at the right place. FYI, we have tested and chosen the best CMS.
Ready to play?
Everywhere... like here and here ... and wherever your prospects are...
(Thanks for the images Creative Commons Nitro, BII)
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