The iBeacon is a new type of technology that takes geo-targeting and location-based data a step further. Instead of relying on GPS information, an iBeacon device can automatically detect whenever an iPhone or similar device is within close proximity, and can then send push notifications to a user’s device when within a certain radius.
It’s a fairly new startup by Apple, but it’s already gaining quite a lot of attention, and it could prove to be the next big trend for mobile marketing across the globe. IBeacon is a kind of improved Bluetooth technology and has one huge advantage against traditional Bluetooth: it low energy consuming and saves battery life. The problem with traditional blue tooth and the adoption for mobile marketing was that any app using that technology consumed a lot of battery and let the smartphone die too quickly (similar to GPS really).
Some Examples of iBeacon Being Used in Marketing
Seeing as iBeacon is a fairly new technology, there is a very limited pool of retailers or businesses that actually use it in their marketing campaigns. However, some of the big players in marketing are already considering adopting it, and their stories should paint light on how iBeacon can be used successfully. Here are a couple of examples of how iBeacon could change up the game for retail stores and businesses that operate in the physical world.
iBeacon comes straight from the heart of Apple, so it only makes sense that the Cupertino based company uses it themselves. Apple has plans to install the iBeacon within their Apple stores to roll out push notifications to users as they enter or walk past the store.
The notifications have been mentioned to deliver marketing messages, but also to send out personalized messages about in-store events and appointments.
Coca Cola iBeacon
You could say that Coca Cola is among kings when it comes to marketing, and whether you have a taste for their soft drink or not, there’s no denying that you can learn a thing or two about marketing simply by looking at what they’re up to in the big wide world.
Coca Cola hasn’t confirmed it yet, but they have made announcements to consider using the iBeacon at the 2014 world cup. The idea is that smartphone owners will be able to be notified about nearby Coca Cola vending machines through push notifications so that those looking for a drink can find one, even through the busy, noisy nature of the football stadium.
How iBeacon Can be Applied to Mobile Marketing
As the technology behind iBeacon advances, more and more opportunities will open up for iBeacon in mobile marketing. Other competitors will enter the market to present their own beacon technology, and businesses around the world will be able to make the beacon a strong part of their marketing strategy.
We’ve already seen how iBeacon can be applied to various points around a venue through Coca Cola’s plans for the technology, but beacon technology will prosper the most within retail stores. The idea behind iBeacon on a consumer level is to offer shoppers a richer, more personalized experience. For example, if a shopper puts an item into their online basket at home, or simply favorites an item for later viewing, the iBeacon can use this information to provide notifications to that shopper upon entering the physical store location. A shopper could be given directions to locate the particular items they may be interested in, and could even be given a final push by being offered a coupon or discount on the items that they aren’t yet sure about buying.
This video by Shopkick’s new trialled technology shopBeacon gives a great explanation for the potential behind iBeacon.
How Your Business Can Use iBeacon in Mobile Marketing
As more ventures like shopBeacon open up, you’ll be able to find plenty of third-party services that offer businesses an easier platform to provide the iBeacon experience to their customers. Right now though, such third party services aren’t yet ready for use. You can instead look for a development team to develop a Beacon system for your business, but you’ll have to invest in the hardware, and then find the right people to develop a Beacon app that can communicate with the hardware.
I expect iBeacon will make a big splash in 2014 and 2015, but to truly make the most out of it, your business may need to be patient and wait for the technology to further develop, and once third party services such as shopBeacon are available, you’ll be able to make use of iBeacon technology for your own mobile marketing campaigns.