The Buzz on Beacons – How Does This Impact Your Brand?

Mobile is moving closer to the consumer in the shopping experience. While many brands (especially retail) have finally launched their own app, many are adventuring into the low cost hardware called beacons, which can be so small they can be attached to a wall or point of sale, using Bluetooth connections that transmit messages to a mobile device in a similar manner of the push notification. You can align them with the customer experience as the buzz to the push notification that connects to the individual users. The hardware has clearly become commoditized with the raised awareness of free beacons and the only fee is associated with the software and services required to implement and be successful for your brand or business.

What Customers Need

To most consumers, it requires a smartphone that has downloaded the specific app for the retailer, along with the acceptance to receive the messages that might be targeted to you at any time. Thanks to the adoption of iOS7, more than 200 million devices can serve as both the transmitter and receiver for the Apple iBeacon service. There also are many alternative options for the beacons, from other brands such as Qualcomm, Estimote, and Swirl to name a few. However, in order for the consumer to completely opt-in they not only require turning on the app for the specific retailer, but also the Bluetooth connection and accepting location services on the app in addition to the normal consumer usage/interest in your brand’s app.

The Right “Mobile Moment”

How can you target the users at the right “mobile moment” and make an impact? Per the recent study from Business Insider, beacons are expected to directly influence over 4 billion of US retail sales this year and a multiple of ten in 2016. The users that will likely adopt this new technology are likely to be already mobile savvy and using some type of shopping app and service that relates to their location and profile. This includes coupons and loyalty apps, some specific to the retail channel, and others that are applicable across many retailers and locations. Upon successful use and interaction with the consumers using the app, the goal is to have a more specifically targeted offer and promotion for each mobile user, clearly leading to a memorable experience whether it was a discount or simply the personal delivery of the mobile message. With the limited tests in the stores so far, InMarket highlighted how the in store beacon ads had a much higher CPM than mobile banner ads.

There are clearly other settings where the beacons can add to the consumer experience, and that has been implemented in a variety of museums and landmarks in Europe. The Rubens House Museum includes a mobile app that shares a digital tour of the life and times of the artist, well beyond the pieces that are the standard attraction in the museum. It serves as a personal tour guide, with visually attractive insights and updates on the different attractions inside that might otherwise be missed. The museums around the globe are clearly enhancing the interactive experiences for what might be otherwise a standardized museum visit. The additional value can range from a scavenger hunt to ongoing insights and “did you know” messages as they explore the museum grounds.

Finally, but not least important is the application of beacons in the active world of sports. It was used with great success by the Golden State Warriors NBA team to incent upgrades in the tickets to the current fans and attendees at the games, resulting in a 69% increase in seat upgrades via the app after the promotion. Using the beacon technology, they were able to reach those in the cheaper, higher level seats and incent them with promotions to purchase better seats at the games therefore resulting in increased loyalty as well as revenue. Similar programs have also been applied at Major League Baseball games to provide a unique experience every time you are visiting the ballpark, and the NFL has now tested this at Super Bowl events. Clearly something must be catching on for this to continue.

The local marketing and messaging that is provided via beacons clearly has demonstrated the value to the different brands, businesses and boards of decision makers around the globe. Have you integrated this into your existing mobile app and customer engagement strategies? Based on a study by eDigitalResearch, almost half of smartphone users would accept messages from retailers to their smartphone. I am interested to hear your thoughts and experiences, understanding each team and technology can differ in the timing for trials and tests for success.

This post was originally published on HourlyNerd

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