UPDATE: Nearby Notifications will no longer be supported on Android smartphones after December 6 2018. Please read this blog post to understand how you can continue running proximity marketing campaigns through beacons.
Very few in-store technologies have seen the kind of success that beacons have – 75% of the top 20 retailers in the U.S. have implemented beacons. And that’s because beacon technology delivers campaigns and enables personal communication when customers are in close proximity to the store.
Big-box retailers like Starbucks and Macy’s have apps and iBeacon technology (developed by Apple) to communicate offers and experiences to their consumers. Physical stores and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) are not far behind. 67% of small businesses have an app and the number is expected to rise.
Read about the 5 reasons why having an app is extremely beneficial for SMBs
When consumers download an app, they signal their intent and willingness to receive a marketing campaign or hyperlocal content because it is relevant to them.
The major issue with having an app-less interface like Google Nearby on Android was spam. It made proximity marketing just as irrelevant as SMS marketing. Instead of targeted and tailored notifications, generic notifications put off consumers who had come to expect a certain level of personalization. When Google announced its decision to shut down the service, they ended up doing a huge service to the proximity marketing market by bringing it back to its roots – relevant and contextualized content.
You can read more about the other issues with Nearby and what alternatives are the best.
Contrary to popular belief, people are still downloading apps. 205.4 billion apps were downloaded in 2018. This number is expected to rise to 258.2 billion by 2022.
For small businesses who are still on the fence about developing an app and for the average consumer who might be too overwhelmed by downloading different apps for every small business, there is an easy solution.
NearBee is a beacon-aware app that lets consumers unlock offers and receive hyperlocal content without asking customers to register or sign-up. NearBee is available on Android and iOS App store. It delivers visually rich, tailored, active notifications straight to the lock screen.
Most proximity marketing companies out there don’t have a robust solution such as NearBee which is now a leading proximity marketing app in the market.
Read more about how NearBee works and why it’s way ahead of Google Nearby
Implementing a proximity campaign without an app
While Google’s Eddystone protocol did allow proximity marketing campaigns without an app to be run, since Nearby Notifications are dead, this isn’t a viable app-less solution anymore.
Download our ebook and learn everything about Eddystone.
Proximity marketing without an app is still a very real possibility through QR codes and NFC tags and stickers.
In fact, brands have started integrating NFC, QR and beacons in their marketing campaigns to construct a wholesome solution.
Read how can SMBs use a blend of NFC, QR and BLE beacons to up their game
Proximity marketing without an app on Android
Most Android phones support NFC tags without requiring an additional app. Businesses can use NFC to create an interactive product experience, extend the life of the product, offer deals and discounts, allow customers to add products to their cart and a whole host of things to enhance a customer’s in-store and post-purchase experience. In fact, even the newer iPhones like XS, XS max and XR do not need an app to read NFC tags.
Read about the brands that are killing with their NFC-enabled products
QR codes are also a viable option to run proximity marketing campaigns without an app on Android.
Android 8 and above have Google Lens as a native feature in the camera app allowing Android users to scan QR codes in a matter of seconds.
On Android 8, users can also activate Screen Search by long pressing the home button and clicking on ‘What’s on my Screen?’
Android 9 even allows users to scan QR codes that have been saved to the phone’s gallery or as an image or a screenshot. Users can click on the Google Lens icon to activate scanning of the QR code.
Android 7 and lower need a QR Code scanner app to scan QR Codes.
All you need to know about scanning QR Codes with Android and iOS
Can you implement a proximity campaign without an app on iOS?
Apple’s commitment to supporting native QR code readers was shown in the iOS 11 update. Now consumers do not need an additional app to read QR codes. The camera app has an in-built QR code reader. There is no dearth of proximity marketing campaigns that businesses can run with QR codes. Offer deals and discounts, scan and go functionality, enrich products by offering product information, unlock loyalty programs and redirect shoppers to social media pages. Most of the newer Android phones also possess the ability to scan QR codes in the camera app.
QR codes and beacons can also be used in tandem thanks to the nifty feature in the Beaconstac dashboard. Each campaign is associated with a corresponding QR code which can be download by businesses and scanned by customers to unlock a markdown card (a Beaconstac creative in lieu of a website). What’s thrilling about this feature is that markdown cards can be changed in real time and the same QR code can be re-used for a different offer altogether.
NFC and QR codes are the bane of proximity marketing campaigns without needing an app. By blending both the cost-effective options, businesses can target both iOS and Android users. QR codes and NFC are also the gateways to downloading a beacon-aware app which can do more than both NFC and QR combined. A healthy mix of all three technologies can result in much higher ROIs.
BLE beacons, QR and NFC work wonders for boosting millennial engagement
15 Epic QR Code Examples from Brands Killing it!
How to Create and Use QR Codes for your Small Business
If you are planning to try out proximity marketing, 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!