iBeacons are the current buzz for how we will be delivered coupons, advice and maps on our smart phones. Everybody from Starbucks to Walmart (Apple as well of course) are testing strategies also including Facebook who are giving iBeacons away at the moment!!
Apart from those testing some are using them, let’s also remember this is being used in museums (mApp), warehousing and art galleries as a self-guide and is working well, and try it if you get the chance.
So how can it or will it work for brands in our daily lives? Well there are three key ways this technology is being tested:
- An app from a brand: Apple for example enhances your visit, pushes offers and helps you navigate a store. “I like Apple so engage with me and add value to my relationship”. This is the consumer deciding which brand they want a relationship with, be it Starbucks telling you about the type of speciality coffee or Macy’s showing your offers and navigating you around the store. My choice, my brand.
- Tracking: The second model is local stores having iBeacons from Facebook (could be others in the future) these tell the retailer if someone who likes their page has visited the store or can cross reference that person seeing an advert in the last few days prior to a visit and track if they bought something, a bit like cookies for reality!! It helps the small business track the impact of their advertising.
- Physical Web: Google’s named “Physical Web” (other browsers may follow) are looking at integrating the technology directly with URL’s so a beacon (be it iBeacon or UriBeacon) will trigger a URL with no app needed so anything from a can of beans to a Lamborghini could prompt interaction, anywhere anytime.
My preference?: An app from a brand as I choose my brands and who I want to interact with, I understand the Facebook approach and I see the benefit to the retailer and small bakeries not really the benefit to me? Although I don’t think we can stop this type of profiling and it will happen in some form I can see how this can actually deliver a real life Minority report type experience, the poster and shop knowing or presuming our preferences and targeting us as such!
Finally the “Physical Web” again probably an advancement that will happen in some form whether we like it or not but this could be just an information overload. Walking down the high street with prompts from shops, restaurants, products, adverts and brands! If everything is connected and pushes me to the web why go out? I know being slightly dramatic there but I want technology to be part of my decisions and life not for me to be part of a triggered profile. I want brand relationships and engagement not just information.