In today’s age of never-ending struggle to boost loyalty and enhance customer engagement, beacons provide businesses with a competitive edge to build more a personal relationship with their customers. Adding on to it, unlike other location based technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), which is limited to Android devices and detectable only within a range of a few inches, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is supported by all major mobile platforms. Thus, the accessibility of iBeacon technology coupled with the rise in the adoption of smartphones, suggest that now is the right time for businesses to drive customer engagement through the use of beacons.
Although, many verticals ranging from stadiums, museums, to retail and airlines have already deployed beacons in an effort to build better relationships with their customers, a lot of marketers still have a number of misconceptions around security and privacy of beacons. We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions in one of our earlier blog posts – Beacon FAQs.
If you are just beginning to read about beacons, our Beacon 101 ebook is a good place to start. In this post, we will discuss in detail about how beacons are transforming customer engagement across different verticals.
Enhance the waiting experience
Waiting in line at a bank is one of the things that most customers hate. With the help of beacons, banks can put this waiting time to good use by sending relevant digital content, based on the profile and interests of customers to keep them occupied. Recently, Harbin Bank in China reported that most customers found educational digital content on various services offered by the bank to be highly helpful. Therefore, you could use beacons to engage your customers by delivering digital content right from news on banking services, banking ‘how to’ videos or guides to stock prices, directly to their mobile device.
Offer highly personalized services
According to a recent study by Cisco, 60% of consumers in the U.S would readily provide their financial provider with more personal information for a better banking experience. This is exactly what beacons provide for. This new proximity-detection technology allows banks to customize the banking experience to the needs of each of their customers.
For example, when customers with an outstanding record of savings history, but yet to try a new savings product enter the bank, beacons can be programmed to push a tailored message informing them of the services they might be interested in. Beacons also allow banks to develop highly personalised relationships with their customers by customizing the pricing of banking services based on demographics, account ownership, previous customer activity, credit score and more.
2. Theme Parks:
Engage visitors better with interactive content
Theme parks have been trying to establish a direct relationship with their visitors for long. Beacons help them create engaging mobile apps that use contextual information to beautifully combine the colorful environment with digital content. Fluwel’s Tulpenland (Tulip Land), a theme park that specializes in displaying Dutch tulips recently joined forces with LabWerk, an Amsterdam-based startup to revolutionize the theme park experience using iBeacon technology. With the help of a mobile application, the theme park uses this new technology to take customer visits beyond the traditional signs.
The app uses interactive content in a diverse range of formats and other added functionalities like quizzes and rewards to engage their visitors better. That way there is something for everyone, irrespective of their level of engagement.
Navigation and Heat Mapping
One of the best uses of mobile apps in theme parks is floor maps. When it comes to informing your visitors about their location within the park and directing them to their desired locations, beacons play a very crucial role. For example, visitors can be sent greetings from the park as they approach the gate. To keep them informed, you could also use these messages to push notifications about the hours for which the park will be open, names of rides that are not functional on that day, or even list out a number of special events that will be held. Once they select a particular ride or restaurant at the park, beacons could guide them through by providing real-time directions.
Moreover, with access to real-time statistics, parks can also use beacons to recognize hotspots and send alerts to security about the overcrowded locations that are more prone to security breaches.
3. University Campuses
Control in-room lights, projectors and more
World class lecture rooms and amphi-theatres within university campuses can now leverage beacon technology to allow staff and students to control and interact with the physical space around them, using smartphones.
Image Courtesy: proxima.io
The new TAFE Tonsley Park campus in South Australia , for example, tightly integrates Estimote beacons with a beacon platform to make controlling in-room lights, projectors and screens an intuitive user experience. With around 200 iBeacons installed all over the campus, the platform triggers lights and systems in the classrooms to be activated as soon as staff and students walk-in. These beacons detect staff/students’ smartphones and give them instant access to the lights and projectors in the room.
The ability of beacons to act as Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled transmitters that can interact with and push alerts to nearby iOS 7 devices, has now lead to it being used to take attendance in classrooms. A bunch of developers in Brazil recently launched a new app, BeHere, which when installed in a teacher’s iPad turns it into a beacon that automatically identifies students as they enter the classroom with their iPhone, or iPad. The only requirement here is that they should have installed the BeHere app on their device too.
The app comes with other interesting features as well. For example, it lets students request the teacher for help by merely tapping on a button on the app . The app then presents the teacher with a list of students waiting for assistance, allowing the teacher to respond as and when needed. It also allows them to connect with the students profile on Facebook, and thus add a profile picture to their name.
Organize scavenger hunts
As in the case of malls, event organizers, too, are turning to gamification to present relevant incentives in a more engaging and fun context while eliciting excitement and interest among their attendees. Among them, scavenger hunts are the initial baby steps taken by event managers to use beacons to add value to their events. For example, you could use scavenger hunts to encourage your attendees to explore the less popular areas of your event venue by offering them special rewards for doing so. You could also reward them for certain valued actions such as submitting a feedback form with free coupons or merchandise.
Image Courtesy: gevme.com
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, recently partnered with Radius Networks Inc., a mobile proximity service provider, and Texas Instruments to implement a beacon powered scavenger hunt. Users were required to run the event’s official mobile app on their phone before they headed out to hunt for nine hidden wireless beacons. The hunt encouraged them to explore all the exhibits at the show, while collecting badges from each beacon that they encountered. First three players who collected the entire list of badges shown on the screen were rewarded with a special prize.
Networking is one of the most important factors that drive people to attend events. You can take the participation level of your attendees to a whole new level by integrating beacons with your event mobile app. You can implement an enhanced networking service by asking your visitors to tag themselves in, prior to the event or implement a LinkedIn integration. Once that is done, you can use beacons to send notifications to users when they are in close proximity to a visitor whose profile matches their interests.
Image Courtesy: mashable.com
SXSW 2014 festival, for example, leveraged Qualcomm Gimbal beacon hardware to allow their attendees to instantly connect and message influential industry targets around them through the discussion platform within the official event app. That way attendees could easily have conversations with each other, view tweets about a specific session, find out which of their peers who had already logged into the SXSW platform were at the same session and more.
Optimize allocation of staff
You can set up beacons at strategic locations about your restaurant to collect large amounts of untapped data about your customers, starting from the number of beacon hits to traffic patterns within the restaurant. Once you have the information in place, you can easily use it to gain insights and make improvements on better allocation of staff and services.
Keep your customers informed on how crowded the restaurant is, before their arrival
One of the best ways of allowing your customers to cut down on waiting time, is to keep them in the know-how of how busy your restaurant is in real-time. This can be done by deploying beacons around your restaurant, that will in turn provide you with real-time information on how many people are actually dining at your restaurant at a given point in time.
Thus, it is highly crucial that businesses capitalize on emerging technologies to engage their customers better. With the shift in customer needs and interests, those that adopt and use iBeacon technology to the best, will dominate the field going ahead.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!