We are creating an incredibly intelligent and sophisticated ecosystem, through connected devices. With iBeacons being the latest technology, it is causing marketers and brands to seriously think about whether this is a space they should move into. The barriers are low, yet the yield could prove drastic.
A quick reminder. iBeacons harness the latest Bluetooth Low Energy technology via their apps, sending hyper localised and contextual messages directly to users.
Known as proximity marketing iBeacons create sales opportunities, through messages known as push notifications. They are relevant to you and are triggered by your location.
IBeacons are designed so that all the triangulating happens constantly and quietly in the background. When you pull out your phone, the right content is there waiting for you.
Whilst in it's infancy, we are seeing signs of strong adoption from market leaders.
McDonalds has taken the plunge, in December 2014;
“26 McDonald’s restaurants in Georgia have been testing out the technology with its customers. In a four week trial, these fast food joints have been pushing special deals for McChicken Sandwiches and 10-piece Chicken McNuggets. The promotions pushed McChicken Sandwich sales up 8 percent and Chicken McNuggets up 7.5 percent.”
There is now a national rollout across 263 retail locations commencing as a result.
We are edging ever closer to full intelligent integration. The question is how to provide the most strategic method in the application of iBeacons.
iBeacons are letting our devices talk to the world around us, whether we are in a bar ordering a drink or at a stadium looking for seats. There is a world of possibilites.
“Even though iBeacon installation is currently small, analysts are projecting iBeacon hardware will grow to 60 million units by 2019” according to ABI Research.
“Consumers won’t know these small radio devices are responsible for the content they’re receiving, but they’ll appreciate retailers are connecting with them with relevant information they can act upon.” R.Hanczor, Piper 2014
So far, the most frenzied activity surrounding iBeacon has been in the world of retail, where there’s potential for shops big, small, luxurious and inexpensive. At one end, you have big name retailers who are eager to push retail into the future with highly tailored digital experiences. Take Macy’s for example which has installed 8000 beacons in store to drive customers to specific products as they walk through the store. Alternatively you have Virgin Atlantic who are using the beacons as thermostats to bring blankets to chilly passengers.
The applications for iBeacons is both varied yet extremely exciting and will provide insight on untracked consumer behaviour. We are focusing on how this future data will fuel strategic marketing and how to advise brands on accurate expenditure with future campaigns.