The Internet of Things has exploded over the last couple of years as smartphones and the ability to be always connected has become an increasingly integral part of our lives. Bonnie Cha at re/code describes the Internet of Things as “the connection of everyday objects to the Internet and to one another, with the goal being to provide users with smarter, more efficient experiences.” You can see her “Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Internet of Things” here.
Google’s acquisition of Nest last year set the stage for IoT to expand this year and the conversation about IoT’s impact on everyday life was discussed widely at CES. Consumers are increasingly aware of connected homes and cars. A study by Affinnova showed that consumers mostly want connected home appliances and products like refrigerators that enable remote viewing of your contents and recommends recipes, smart light bulbs that notify you when a bulb has gone out and connected sprinkler systems.
But how is the Internet of Things impacting retail? First, connected home sensors that send notifications to your phone to indicate when you out of a product like washing detergent, milk, or light bulbs are great for retailers. Creating a easy way for consumers to order these products right from their phone means that retailers have the opportunity to improve customer experiences and loyalty.
Next, connected technologies like beacons and NFC will likely increase in 2015. These technologies enable retailers to communicate with consumers in a meaningful way based on their location, delivering deals and notifications that are relevant in real time. The iPhone 6 and ApplePay will also influence retailers to adopt NFC technologies for easy checkout experiences.
The most important thing for retailers to take advantage with the Internet of Things right now is data. Whether connecting your products to home sensors or using in-store location technologies, analyzing data will enable retailers to better understand their customers. When are they shopping? Are they accessing your app while in store or at home? Do they prefer app notifications, or SMS? The more brands and retailers understand their customers, the more they will be able to connect with them at the right time, place and in the right manner.
How do you see IoT impacting retail this year?
We have seen some amazing breakthroughs and innovations in the mobile space during 2014. Brands have embraced the power of beacons in campaigns, ads have become more relevant, and ApplePay could potentially revolutionize mobile payments. Businesses are beginning to understand how mobile marketing and tactics can increase sales and build a better relationship with their customers. So what can we expect to see in 2015?
ApplePay could make mobile payments mainstream. Brands and apps, especially those that are retail-focused, can now make the user experience even more seamless. Eighty-six percent of shoppers use their smartphone to compare prices and browse sales. Connecting these with the ability to make a purchase without entering credit card information, or by just using their phone in store, will make an easier and faster shopping experience, in store and online.
More Location Based Marketing
Major retailers like Lord & Taylor and Walgreen’s have rolled out major pilot programs to test the effectiveness of using iBeacons for in-store marketing. In 2015, expect to see more brands using iBeacons, geofencing and push notifications to engage with customers and create innovative campaigns. About half of consumers say they are open to sharing their location and information in order to join a rewards program.
Better Content & UX
With the ability to use location and big data to better understand users and customers, expect to see better content and more intelligent UX. Advertisers, marketers and publishers recognize the effectiveness of delivering more relevant content using these tools, and are using new methods to understand how to connect better. Expect apps, ads and content to become more engaging and relevant.
What trends would you like to see in 2015?
Mobile is no longer the second screen; it’s the first. Consumers around the world are using their smartphones for everything from making payments to browsing the internet and brands are hopping on board to ensure mobile experiences are exceptional. Location based technologies and big data are helping apps and businesses deliver consumers user experiences that deliver content users want based on their location and preferences.
Mobile has come far in the last year with beacons and mobile payments getting a big boost. But those numbers are expected to grow even more in the next year. Here are nine stats to prove it!
By the end of 2014, 6.9 billion people will have cell phone plans. That’s about 95 percent of the world’s population.
There are 143 million smartphones and 71 million tablets smartphones in the US.
Five percent of smartphone owners aged 18-44 can’t recall the last time they didn’t have their mobile next to them
A survey of UK smartphone users found that they use their phones for 221 tasks consuming three hours and 16 minutes per day.
In Europe, mobile commerce is expected to account for nearly 50 percent of all online sales by 2018, according to Forrester.
In the last year, purchases made using a smartphone or tablet increased 48 percent to $8 billion.
It’s just young people shopping on mobile – 25 percent of mobile shoppers in the US are over the age of 55.
Half of B2B vendors sell through mobile phones and that is expected to rise to 75 percent by the end of 2014.
Mobile advertising has doubled from $4.4 billion in 2012 to $8.5 billion in 2013. By 2017, mobile advertising is expected to hit $31.1 billion.
It’s safe to say 2015 will be another big year for mobile! What are you most excited to see?
Starting today iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can opt to store their credit and debit cards in Passbook and make purchases with the simple tap of their phone using Apple Pay. Apple finally adopted near field communications technology with the release of the iPhone 6 in order to power Apple Pay. With Apple leading the way, experts are predicting mobile payments will become mainstream. While Google Wallet has been around since 2011, the hype of Apple Pay may lead to an increase in mobile payments among Android users, too. Forrester predicts they will increase fourfold to $90 billion by 2017!
How to Set it Up
- Download iOS 8.1 and open the Passbook app
- Tap Set up Apple Pay
- First select your card that is linked with your iTunes account and confirm
- Then, you can scan new cards with the iPhone camera.The first card added will be your primary card.
How It Works
Once Apple Pay is set up, it’s easy to use in stores. At stores using Apple Pay, iPhone users can simply tap their phone to the point of sale (POS) terminal and verify the payment with Touch ID or a pin code. The transaction will securely be sent to the bank and with approval, the purchase is complete.
Apple has said over 220,000 US stores will be using Apple Pay including Apple, Bloomingdales, Macy’s Duane Reade, McDonald’s, Sephora, Petco, Panera Bread, Staples, Nike, Walgreens, Subway and Whole Foods. Users will also be able to pay with Apple Pay with a number of apps including Target, Tickets.com and Uber.
What Marketers Need to Know
The largest impact Apple Pay is expected to have is on the adoption of mobile payments. According to Digital Trends, a new law will take place in the fall of 2015 requiring merchants to support credit cards with Chip and PIN security, and therefore, merchants are expected to updated their POS terminals which will likely be Apple Pay enabled. The easy and secure process Apple has created, as well as their track record in changing consumer behavior, are other reasons to believe mobile payments will become mainstream.
Apple said they are not collecting or storing transaction information in order to ensure consumer’s that Apple Pay is secure and private. While this will help with the adoption of mobile payments, businesses will not be able to collect this data to optimize marketing campaigns. Instead, ensure consumers their information is secure and test other mobile marketing tactics such as NFC stickers, beacons or geofencing.
Are you planning on using Apple Pay?
Location based services, specifically beacons, have raised some privacy concerns recently. Due to recent hacking and tracking controversies, sharing their location doesn’t appeal to all consumers — though most are willing to share their location in return for discounts, coupons or other rewards. When it comes to using beacons for marketing campaigns, there are a few key points for consumers and marketers to understand in order to calm any privacy concerns.
First, beacons work only when a user has installed something – either an app or a Passbook pass. If neither of these are installed, beacons will not communicate with your phone.
Second, bluetooth needs to be turned on in order for beacons to work. If bluetooth is disabled, then beacons are unable to transmit any messages. (more…)
Beacons are taking mobile to a new level. They are helping add location and context to mobile communications and therefore, delivering more relevant information to consumers. What does this mean? More useful information, higher brand awareness and more innovative campaigns. These are some of the coolest beacon campaigns we have seen and worked on.
Hillshire Brands showed everyone how to increase sausage sales. Consumers who had the Epicurious or Key Ring apps received branded notifications from Hillshire when they were in supermarkets that work with the apps. There were also banner ads for the sausages within the app. The results? Purchase intent increased 20 percent and brand awareness increased 36 percent.
The Melbourne Writer’s Festival worked with us to put together a choose-your-own-adventure storytelling app using beacons and it was one of our favorite campaigns to date. Consumers could walk through the city listening to original short stories that referenced places and landmarks, and literally choose different endings based on the direction they walked. Check out the video here.
Lord & Taylor, Hudson Bay, Walgreens & Duane Reade are all testing pilot programs with beacons in store. Lord & Taylor and Hudson Bay stores are sending notifications based on where shoppers are within the store, giving a more personalized flair.
Last, a number of airports have introduced beacons to make traveling more easy. Passengers can receive notifications on the status of their flight, gate changes and look up nearby shops and eateries.
In addition to these innovative uses, we have seen and read about a lot of beacon scavenger hunts at conferences and in-store promotions.
What are some of your favorite beacon campaigns?
Have you ever wished you could choose the outcome of your favorite story? We’re excited to announce Twists and Turns, the first-ever choose your own adventure storytelling app, is now available for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival! Created for advertising agency, JWT, Twists & Turns uses beacons located throughout the city to determine a variety of storylines told within the app based on which street a user walks down.
There are three fictional stories that reference key locations throughout Melbourne, each with four different versions. Using a network of beacons placed throughout the city, the app maps physical locations to specific chapters of the stories. Depending on which street a user walks down, different storylines are triggered. You can see the stories come to life and determine which direction you want the story to go as you “twist and turn” throughout the city. (more…)
Brands are embracing proximity marketing as a way to engage with their audience and customers in unique, targeted, and personal ways. Thanks to mobile adoption and increased technologies, marketers are experimenting with all kinds of location-specific messaging — alerts and messages, coupons, local search, social media interactions and more.
For brands with physical locations to use, geofencing is one of the options for proximity marketing. Geofencing creates a virtual fence around a specific area where companies can enable communications to mobile devices within the perimeter. Geofencing works through an app or a network-based geofence. When deciding which way to go, it really comes down to your budget and long term goals — if you’re looking to increase app engagement and mobile sales, you might want to build or leverage an app. If your budget is smaller or you there are no long term benefits of having an app, just use network capabilities.
One important thing to mention is the difference between geofencing and iBeacons. Geofencing is optimized for larger and outdoor locations, between 50 and 50,000 meters while beacons have a maximum range of 30 meters and are better used indoors. Beacons require special hardware to be installed, Bluetooth must be enabled and work on iPhone 4s or newer, and iOS 7 or newer. Geofencing does not require special hardware or connection to access points (though WiFi will create higher accuracy). Geofencing will work on iOS 5 or newer, and iPhone 4 or newer.
Location based marketing — whether utilized through geofencing or beacons — brings huge opportunities to marketers to increase ROI, build customer loyalty and reduce expenses. Since the messaging is locally-targeted and contextual, you can engage in meaningful ways. If sales are slowing down at a specific time, send a coupon. If you’re having a special event, send a reminder. Encourage your customers to connect on social media. And most importantly, use data to analyze and adjust your marketing campaigns.
Let us know how your brand is using geofencing!
Photo Credit: Doug Zwick
Context, not content, is the new king. The opportunities to add customization to marketing strategies are endless with the use of big data, social media and location tools. iBeacons present the perfect opportunity to use these tools to better engage with audiences and customers. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), iBeacons send notifications based on proximity to bluetooth-enabled smartphones. For retailers, event marketers and travel brands (amongst many others), implementing a context-heavy iBeacon strategy can result in higher sales, brand awareness and strong customer engagement. These are some of the first considerations to take when integrating iBeacons into a marketing strategy.
To App or Not to App?
In order for iBeacons to work, there has to be the actual beacon hardware, a bluetooth-enabled mobile device and something for the beacon to communicate with. Most brands choose to use their own native app to push iBeacon notifications because they are already built and have additional functionality such as mobile shopping, rewards programs, etc. Building these apps can be extremely time consuming and expensive, though. Perhaps you want to consider creating a pass that works with Passbook instead. This will still allow context-aware notifications based on location but save on time and money. Choosing the best option depends on budget and marketing goals.
2. Proximity and Context
The next step in developing an iBeacon strategy is choosing the proper communications to send. With iBeacons, you can send a variety of notifications based on a smartphone’s proximity to the hardware. For example; a welcome message can appear when walking through the door and a notification about a special sale can appear when the user approaches a specific product. Keep the customer in mind when developing these commuications — what are they interested in learning about? How many times do they want to receive notifications? Remember, context is key. Know your customer and use appropriate language. Don’t overwhelm them with too many notifications!
Once you have decided on an iBeacon strategy that works with your brand, integrate it into your overall marketing plan. Drive app downloads or pass installs on Passbook, and encourage people to the vicinity of the iBeacons, in social media and email communications. Make sure your customers have the ability to share their experience on their own social media channels and through email and text messages. Implement A/B testing and appropriate measurement systems to test and improve your communications.
Check out these best practices for mobile marketing for more tips on optimizing your iBeacon strategy.
Beacons — ever since Apple deployed them in their stores last fall businesses have been exploring and testing a number of ways to use them. Businesses are jumping on board because of the opportunity to reach consumers where they spend most of their time — on their phones. In fact, almost three quarters of Millennials said they would be interested in using their mobile to connect with brands’ loyalty programs. Beacons present the perfect opportunity.
Photo via VektorDigital
Retailers have started pilot programs, stadiums have them in place for baseball season and some airlines are even using them to make travel easier. While beacons have gained some momentum, they are still new to the market and have some misconceptions. We clarified three of the most popular myths. If you have other questions about beacons, let us know below!
Myth #1: Beacons are exclusive to Apple devices.
More often than not, you’ll hear iBeacon instead of just beacon. Apple trademarked “iBeacon” to indicate their specific technology standard which all Apple devices with iOS 7 or later use. However, Android devices can receive communications from iBeacons, too. All beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to locate devices and push hyper-contextual notifications. The main difference is that Android devices cannot transmit information to iBeacons.
Myth #2: You need an app for beacons to work.
Most businesses using beacons are pushing notifications through their apps — and this will probably be the norm for a while. Walgreens, American Eagle and Macy’s have all deployed beacon programs that communicate in-store with customers who have downloaded their apps. However, Passbook presents another opportunity for marketers and businesses to utilize beacon technology. Instead of downloading an app, consumers would be required to add a store-specific pass or loyalty card to Passbook. The use of Passbook with beacons is definitely a space to watch.
Myth #3: Beacons are tracking you and collecting data.
Privacy has been a concern in the adoption of beacons due to their location-specific technology. However, beacons simply recognize the Bluetooth in mobile devices to trigger specific notifications based on location. Depending on the range between a mobile device and the beacon, different notifications can be sent. The beacons themselves do not track customers, cannot identify who you are and do not collect data.
Have more questions about beacons and how they work? Drop them below!