10 Reasons Why Your Marketing Strategy Should Include Beacons in 2016

January 3, 2016
Romet Kallas
Account Executive

According to Streetfight, 2016 will be the year of the beacon. Nevertheless, there are still some, who struggle to grasp the value of proximity marketing. For example, on Nov 24 2015, Bloomberg questioned the added value to customers, after Josh Brustein’s disappointing experience with Macy’s iBeacon pilot in 2013. Agreed, receiving 2 identical and generic messages is hardly a personalized experience. Every new technology will  demand time to explore the possibilities and best practices.

Today, almost two years after the launch of iBeacon, the technology has already found many and varied application areas with successful results. After all, 2016 is the year of the beacon.

Here are 10 examples on how you can bring value to your customers through the power of beacons and proximity

1. Coupons and discounts

Offering Coupons and discounts is the most widely used approach when it comes to beacons. Juniper recently issued a report predicting that 1.6 billion coupons are set to be delivered annually to customers via beacon technology 2020. However, Proximity Solution Provider inMarket found in 2014, that more than one beacon message caused a 313% drop in app usage. To reach beyond annoying notifications, it is important to find the balance between push and pull. A perfect example here is how Sensoro and WeChat are using beacons; A customer has to shake their phone to receive a voucher. As a result of the customer being in charge, the average “Shake” per person was 4.76 and the redemption rate 59%.

2. Indoor navigation

It is easy to get overwhelmed in airports, large supermarkets, conferences or even university campuses, by not knowing where to go. To increase the customer experience, beacons and other proximity technologies can help your customers navigate. For example, Panorama Berlin used the SDK of LabWerk and Kontakt.io beacons to add indoor navigation feature into their app which resulted to 70% of engagement rate.

See other navigation use cases in Proxbook

3. Digital signage

Proximity marketing is giving Out of Home Advertising a whole new perspective. Combining beacon networks and digital billboards and signs, makes it possible for companies to communicate with their specific target audience. This brings value to the customers as they can be greeted with personalized messages while waiting in a bus stop. An OOH media company Ströer recently announced in their press release that they will deploy 50 000 beacons across Germany in 2016 to give advertisers an opportunity to become interactive.

4. Mobile payments

eMarketer is forecasting 210% growth in the total value of mobile payment transactions in the US 2016 up to $27.05 billion from $8.71 billion in 2015. Mobile payments have the potential to make the shopping experience more comfortable and faster, by allowing the customer to checkout with a couple of clicks. A Danish Bank “Danske Bank” is setting a perfect example with its MobilePay app with 2.2 million users in Denmark. Danske Bank has partnered with GoAppified and Netclearence Systems to provide proximity mobile payments with the help of Smart Beacons. The solution is rolled out across several hundred retailers across the Nordics.

5. Smart processes

Imagine if you could go into a hotel, check-in, order room service, book a taxi, make a dinner reservation and use your mobile as a room key. Thanks to proximity technology, that is already possible. For example, HelloTel App, leverages an iBeacon network and turns a hotel check-in into a rich social network. The boring and time-consuming processes are history and your guests could enjoy a frictionless hotel experience.

6. Gamification

A challenge that museums and exhibitions face is attracting the younger generations when everything is already available via their smartphones. One way to tackle this problem is to gamify the experience and that’s what the Canadian Museum of Nature did with Estimote beacons. To educate visitors about the processes of evolution, they created a game where a user could evolve their picked creature when interacting with different iBeacon touch points. The average beacon interaction for per user was as a high as 10.0.

7. Loyalty programs

Loyal customers are the essence of a successful business, but how to build loyalty? One example is Wisely, the restaurant guest experience enhancing app. With the help of Estimote beacons, Wisely notifies the restaurant’s staff when a new customer enters the venue. The app will inform about the customer’s dining preferences, visit history and even enables to message the staff. To promote loyalty, customers can earn loyalty levels like silver, gold and platinum to claim unique rewards. The app is currently live in 75 restaurants in the US.

8. Social networking in the physical space

Whether you operate a bar, night club or organize an event. Giving your customers a chance to connect with each other, is the next level of social networking. A good example is BLINQ, the app that uses beacons to connect users in real-time inside bars and nightclubs. It gives your customers an exciting opportunity to find people, who share their interests and therefore adding a very compelling reason to visit your venue. This is also an opportunity for the next generation of dating apps.

9. Analytics

Understanding the movements of your customers helps to understand the needs and interests of your visitors. As a result, you can continuously make improvements to strive towards better customer experience. Sail Amsterdam 2015 by inBeacon is a good example of the analytics possibilities of an iBeacon platform. Visitors per location, visitors per hour, popular routes, visitor distribution, most popular notifications etc. - this is valuable information for every retailer or venue owner and an opportunity to understand your customers.

10. Bring your customers back to the store

Beacons and other proximity technologies enable you to understand your customers and communicate with them in different ways like previously mentioned. Based on the interactions with proximity sensors, it is also possible to retarget your own customers later online - bringing them back to your store or venue.

In June 2015, Unacast partnered with CAPA cinema chain to retarget the cinema visitors. As a result, 25% of the visitors that were exposed to the retargeting advertisement returned to the cinema.

Feel free to add application areas that I missed in the comment section. Stay tuned to learn the key insights and happenings in the proximity industry in 2015 from the Q4 Proxbook Report.