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 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.
To quote GigaOm, "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 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:
No B.S. Beacon Breakdown:
Get the full range of opinions from videos of the sessions at Mediapost's recent Beacon 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).
Coupons, offers, and delivering deeper product data are all smart. But consider the ease of facility management (who is where... and what did they tweet)... allocate some Beacons to simply count customers in key locations... provide "you are here" maps, and even alerting your sales associates about a customer service opportunity!
30% of 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 Bluetooth turned on is currently required ...but new easier triggers are being developed, such as existing wifi
> Having an integrated mobile app used to be required... but soon a customer only has to open a coded email on their smartphone.
> Having Beacons are not even necessary ... See how ByteLight uses LED lighting.
VentureBeat's enthusiastic overview reminds us that this is not only an Apple service and there are new solutions (including Android) that are constantly being developed to make deployments easier plus more effective and accountable.
So, it's getting better for Beacons every day...
It's the next land grab (literally) for the Internet of Things.
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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