Anchored on the premise of bringing the core power of the web to objects in the physical world, Eddystone beacons and the Physical Web hold significant promise for not only proximity marketers, but also many diverse industries and verticals. The Physical Web allows businesses, both big and small to deliver the most relevant, contextual mobile experiences by easily broadcasting relevant URLs, thus eliminating the need to develop and maintain native apps.
From sending flight status notifications at airports, to delivering promo codes for new product launches at stores, to transmitting live scores and updates at stadiums, the possibilities of the Physical Web are practically limitless. In order to leverage the Physical Web, all that businesses have to do, is to buy a few Eddystone Beacons, complete a simple configuration of the beacons based on the requirements and businesses are set to send contextual notifications to their target audience. In this post, we discuss how 10 diverse industries from airports to zoos can leverage the Physical Web to engage customers in interesting ways.
The retail industry has been the frontrunner in adopting proximity solutions like, iBeacon technology. Many leading players like Target, Macy’s and Walmart have already leveraged iBeacon technology in order to build personalised, contextual customer experiences. The need to build native apps however, has limited the technology to generally big box retailers and large players. Now, with the Physical Web, even small retailers can send contextual content to customers at the right time and place. Here are some ways that retailers can leverage the Physical Web:
– Run special promotions/offers – Using the Physical Web, retailers can send special promotions and offers to customers through an attractive pre-built URL . For instance, such notifications can be used during festivals and sales in order to attract more customers to visit the store.
– New product promotion – In order to boost new product promotion, retailers can take advantage Physical Web notifications. For instance, customers near new product counters can be sent notifications with attractive messages (‘Try the new flavours of Milkman ice cream to beat the heat this summer!’, for example) in order build awareness and boost sales for new products.
– Guide to store map – Large stores with many aisles can easily and effectively guide their customers inside the store by sharing a URL that leads to the store map via the Physical Web.
Hotels and the hospitality industry can leverage the Physical Web in interesting ways, in order to provide unique and valuable experiences to customers. Some interesting Physical Web use-cases for the hospitality industry are as follows:
– Enhance restaurant operations – A link with table reservation details (or even wait time details) can be sent to customers via Physical Web notifications when they enter the restaurant. Doing so can help streamline restaurant operations and set the right customer expectation.
– Provide navigation assistance at large hotels and resorts – Large resorts can easily help their guests navigate the various areas of the resort by sending them a link with the map of the property. Such notifications can be sent at various important areas of the resort like, pool area, restaurant etc using the Physical Web.
– Collect customer feedback – Collecting guest feedback is key to ensuring success in the hospitality industry. A good way to seamlessly collect guest feedback is by sharing the feedback form via the Physical Web, where a customer can easily key in the feedback and submit it straight through his/her smartphone, thus avoiding paperwork.
Events such as trade shows, musical concerts and art fairs among others stand to gain significantly from using the Physical Web. Some examples of how events can leverage the Physical Web are as follows:
– Share event details – Important event details such as event schedule, event WiFi passwords among others can be effectively shared with visitors using the Physical Web. In an interesting example, HasGeek, India’s popular tech event organiser, leveraged Nearby Notifications and the Physical Web at a the recent data sciences event called ‘The Fifth Elephant, 2016’ in order to inform visitors about the steps involved in connecting to the event’s WiFi network. Here is a sample screenshot of the notification that was sent to visitors at the event:
– Run special contests – Special contests and even treasure hunts can be organised at events by taking advantage of Physical Web notifications. For example, in order to run a treasure hunt, Eddystone beacons near key points on the trail, can transmit clues and other information to participants.
Stadiums and sporting events can leverage the Physical Web in many interesting ways, thus providing enhanced fan experiences during games. Interesting ways that the Physical Web can improve the stadium experience are as follows:
– Send live score updates – Live score updates can be sent to not only the fans at stadiums, but also passersby around or outside stadiums in order to attract new fans into the stadium and build loyalty.
– Provide directions to seats and food stalls – Most stadiums are huge and visitors are not often aware of the seating structure. An easy and effective way to help visitors navigate to their seats, find the way to food stalls and other areas of the stadium, is by transmitting the stadium map via the Physical Web.
– Share player statistics – In order to boost visitor engagement at stadiums, interesting trivia and player statistics can be shared during goals or other important stages of the game, by simply sharing the pre-built URL link through the Physical Web.
While audio guides at museums can be good, a better way to let visitors explore museums at their own pace, using their own smartphones is by making use of the Physical Web. Some ways in which museums can tap into the Physical Web are as follows:
– Act as a navigation guide – Physical Web notifications (with URLs) can be sent at important sections of the museum, explaining the significance of the exhibits. Similarly, a complete floor map can also be shared at the entrance of the museum, thereby enabling visitors to plan their tour and easily navigate the museum.
– Build interactive games – Interactive games or treasure hunts can be easily organised at museums using Physical Web notifications. Using the Physical for such unique use-cases is very cost-effective, and can also attract more people to visit the museum.
6. Theme Parks/ Zoos
While people visit theme parks and zoos, the frequency of such visits is quite low. Developing a full-fledged app to engage visitors can prove to be redundant, as visitors might uninstall the app after the visit. A good way to deliver contextual and timely mobile experiences, similar to an app, is through the Physical Web. A few use-cases that can be leveraged are as follows:
– Help with ticket sales – An alternate, but equally effective way to fulfill ticket sales at theme parks and zoos is to share the link to ticket purchase via the Physical Web. This not only saves visitors from standing in long queues, but it also helps in reducing the manpower costs involved. Once a customer receives the online confirmation, he/she can just show the online ticket and gain entry, thus making the process very smooth and seamless.
– Share route maps and event schedules – Once visitors have entered the theme park/zoo, important links to shows/events and route maps can be shared in order to help visitors plan their visit and easily navigate the theme park/zoo.
Hospitals and the healthcare industry have been fast in adopting mobile technologies like iBeacon and RFID among others. Now, with the Physical Web, hospitals can optimize operations and enhance patient experiences with little effort. Here are a few use-cases that hospitals can leverage:
– Simplify the registration process – Hospitals can simplify the registration process by sending the registration form URL via the Physical Web. Patients can then just fill out the form and complete the registration procedures online from their smartphones, without the hassle of standing in long queues.
– Assist in dispensing medicines – A Physical Web URL can be built is such a way that patients can easily place orders and pay for them online. Such URLs can be broadcasted to patients at specific places in the hospitals (like outside doctor rooms, pharmacy etc) in order to help both staff and patients with dispensing medicines easily and effectively.
Airports have been quick to adopt proximity technologies and several leading airports across the globe are already leveraging iBeacon technology to deliver a host of innovative mobile experiences, from sending personalised promotions to providing directional assistance. An easier, yet effective way to deliver similar experiences is by leveraging the Physical Web. Here are a few good examples:
– Effectively communicate flight schedules – Most airports have the flight schedules displayed at a few designated areas at the airport. A better way to communicate the flight schedule to all passengers, wherever they are at the airport, is through the Physical Web. A URL containing the latest flight schedules can be sent to passengers at key points at the airport, such as, waiting lounges, duty-free shopping area etc in order to inform them about their upcoming flight.
– Run special duty-free promotions – Duty-free shopping is a big attraction to most passengers at an airport. A good way to boost footfalls at such shops is by sending promotional links via the Physical Web. For instance, a message like, ‘Spot 30% off on all perfumes for the next half hour’ can easily entice passengers to visit the store and possibly make purchases.
In an interesting example, travel app, Airside Mobile leveraged Physical Web notifications to prompt airport travelers to download their app and interact with various in-terminal experiences.
9. Travel and Tourism
The travel and tourism industry can build unique solutions with the Physical Web to not only help visitors, but also the residents of a city. Some examples that might help the industry are as follows:
– Assist in city tours – While guided city tours are offered at many cities, it requires investment in resources like manpower, audio guides etc. The Physical Web can easily solve this problem. Similar to museums, Eddystone beacons at key attractions can send out URLs with various details (such as history of the place, directions etc) to passerby, in order to help them better understand the city and its attractions.
– Communicate details about essential services -Details about essential services like bus services, ATMs, pharmacies can be effectively communicated through the Physical Web. This can really prove to be useful for to not only visitors but also the residents of a city.
In a recent example, Notre Dame leveraged the Physical Web and Nearby Notifications to encourage visitors to explore nearby attractions and tour stops. As part of this initiative, Eddystone beacons were placed at popular tour destinations around the campus; once a visitor clicked on the notification, he/she would be directed to the relevant tour stop on the mobile web version of the app.
The banking and fintech world can also leverage the Physical Web in order to enhance their services. Danske Bank and Citibank among others are already leveraging many proximity solutions in order to provide personalised banking services. A few examples of how the Physical Web can improve customer experience at banks are as follows:
– Promote the latest financial products – A good way to promote the latest financial products and offerings, is to by sending Physical Web URLs (with details of new products) to people waiting at a bank. This way, customers are educated about the products in an easy and effective way, without the bank having to spend money on printing brochures or building ads.
– Assist in appointment booking and wait time estimation – Customers at banks often spend quite a bit of time waiting in queues or booking appointments with financial advisors. A good way to manage the wait time expectation or appointment details is by sending the URL (configured to estimate the wait time or appointment details) to customers in the waiting area.
Apart from the discussed use-cases, the Physical Web can be used in various other scenarios and sectors. For instance, a store or business looking to increase its app downloads can share the link to the Google Play Store via a Physical Web notification. When a customer clicks this link, he will be automatically routed to the Play Store, where he can download the app with a single click. Are they any other interesting Physical Web examples that you can think of? Do let us know.
Thus, to conclude, in many cases, the Physical Web can deliver the same experience that iBeacon technology can deliver – at a fraction of the cost. Here is an interesting post that discusses why your business should invest in the Physical Web over iBeacon technology.
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