One of the main topics concerning local in-store marketing is the beacon. Since 2014, Apple and now Google or Facebook have been promising a revolution in customer relationships for physical stores. In 2016, can we say that the revolution is running? Not sure, but the best is definitely to be written.
A beacon is a small sensor package that can “communicate” on a small area with smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth. The technology is primarily that of the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Placed in a store, a beacon can send messages, promotions or register visits to credit loyalty points. The low detection range related to a beacon helps contextualize the messages based on the radius in which the visitor is located.
Who knows if the solution works?
Marketing experts thought the beacon would storm the stores worldwide in 2015. Beacons appeared to be a revolution in shopping centers, banks, airports, museums and all the places where the small tag finally make possible geolocation inside. It is clear that two years after the launch of the IBeacon by Apple, the tidal wave is delayed. Besides, have you already been in contact with this technology?Fine indoor geolocation finally possible, customization and targeting of outstanding messages to its consumers, potential or actual, or ease of installation and operation, to mention only these advantages, explain the great interest aroused by the beacon in many country.On both sides of the Atlantic, many chain stores (Macy’s, Neiman Marcus in the US or Sephora, Darty, Monoprix in France…) or shopping centers (Beaugrenelle in Paris, Regent Street in London …), to discuss as retail, test the solution. So what are the obstacles to development? They are mainly technical. Maintenance for instance, with the battery tags for example. When speaking of a large complex to fully equip, things get quickly complicated. Divide tags in an area of several thousand square meters is not easy, and asks to be ahead in its digital transformation. On the user side, the main current limit relate to the need for Bluetooth to be enabled on the smartphone. And a specific application related to “Agent of beacon” (teaches specialized network of beacons) needs to be installed by the smartphone user who also needs to agree with being geolocated and receiving notifications. As part of the latest technologies employed, the beacon does not need the application to be opened to send a notification.
To get few example, let’s go to mowostudios’ blog.
Newcomers are coming
The arrival of Facebook and Google in the beacon market should give the long-awaited boost to a promising technology, but still not widely. The Facebook service Place Tips offers beacons to shops, generally too small to have their own application. These beacons send to holders of the Facebook app present in the vicinity notifications from participating stores. The social network gives them the ability to send pushs to potential customers without incurring development costs of the necessary application. Then, in early summer 2015, it was the turn of Google. The company announced the launch of Eddystone, a new beacon rival for Apple, especially in open-source, and supports Android and iOS. Meanwhile, Google launched a project entitled “The Physical Web,” to address the requirement to download applications for each use. Indeed, it would be enough to tap on an object connected to the single application launches, from the transfer of a Bluetooth beacon URL to the smartphone or tablet. In its desire to ever develop the marketing of small traders, it goes without saying that Google will soon offer a very simple formula with services that only remains active.
What if the use of beacons was not there where you expect?
However, I am not certain that the application merchants will make to provide beacons is the one that web giants thought for that new service. Massive push notifications or excessive advertising messages will not improve the service provided to customers. Will the user be ready and ok to receive notifications for each passage in front of a store? I am not sure. However, I am convinced that the beacon can be used to create a new user experience for a customer who is used to dematerialization. So I imagine very well myself reading the menu of my restaurant on my phone while waiting for an administrative service via beacons and receive notification when my turn comes. In France, Orange has also launched a special offer for beacons which offers solutions to make life easier for the family. Could it be a root for a little genius that would think we could create very local collaborative economy with beacons?