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.
Challenges with implementing proximity campaigns that require apps
While 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 Medium Businesses (SMBs) are often left wanting.
Even if SMBs spend top dollars on building an app to aid location-based campaigns, they face a host of challenges –
- Drive consumers to download apps to take advantage of proximity driven experiences
- Most apps need access to “Bluetooth admin” permission to scan for beacons
- Background scanning requires apps to either be running in the background or be in the foreground, thus limiting the number of possible beacon scans
Getting people to download apps by banner ads can be very painful. Digiday reports that the 468×60 banner has a click-through rate of 0.04 percent. To overcome these challenges, marketers and business owners are moving towards proximity marketing campaigns that do not need app downloads.
Implementing a proximity campaign without an app
Google’s Eddystone protocol is the key to implementing proximity campaigns without an app! Google took Apple head-on in the beacon battle-space with Eddystone in 2016. The traction that Eddystone has seen in terms of adoption since then is nothing short of amazing. According to the Proxbook Q1 2016 report, the gap between Apple’s iBeacon and Eddystone is fast closing with 45% of leading proximity marketing companies supporting Eddystone as of Q1 2016, up from 25% in Q3 2015.
Download our ebook and learn everything about Eddystone.
How does Eddystone work?
Eddystone is an open communication protocol developed by Google with Android users in mind. Beacons that support the Eddystone protocol broadcast a URL that can be received on Bluetooth-enabled smartphone whether they have an app installed or not.
Services on the device such as Nearby Notifications, Samsung CloseBy or Physical Web compatible apps scan for and display these Eddystone URLs after passing them through a proxy.
Nearby notifications – Android phones
Nearby is a Google service developed for Android smartphones that allow users to discover nearby devices and send relevant information without an app. When beacons broadcast an Eddystone URL packet with a link, the Nearby service in Android phones scans and detect the packet.
A comprehensive list of FAQs about Google Nearby
Samsung CloseBy – Samsung phones
Earlier this year, Samsung announced support for beacon notification detection in its Samsung Internet browser. Similar to Nearby, CloseBy in Samsung phones continuously scan for Eddystone URLs in its range and once found, it displays information on the Samsung devices through its own Internet browser.
With a little over 1.1 billion active users globally, Samsung Internet browser opens doors to a huge untapped audience – especially in countries (like China and some Middle Eastern countries) where Google or its service, such as Nearby, are inaccessible.
Can you implement a proximity campaign without an app on iOS?
After Nearby and CloseBy, Physical Web is the third tunnel for pushing beacon notifications. But to implement beacon campaigns using Physical Web, the smart device needs to have an app/ internet browser that is compatible with Physical Web.
This app/internet browser continuously scans for an Eddystone URL and displays the notification linked to it.
Which are the Physical web compatible apps?
Google Chrome was compatible with Physical Web till the last few months (till Oct 2017). This essentially meant that any smartphone, be it Android or iOS had the capabilities to receive beacon notifications if they had Google Chrome installed.
But Google Chrome discontinued support for Physical Web. This left us with the option of building apps or Internet browsers that were compatible with Physical Web. There are already few apps and browsers out on the market such as the Phy app, The Physical Web, Browse – The Physical Web Browser and more.
P.S. – We are coming up with our own iOS app that has the capabilities to scan Physical Web notifications. So stay tuned! 🙂
In conclusion, the Eddystone protocol in conjunction with the Nearby and Closeby services is a very powerful and effective way to launch proximity marketing for businesses who don’t have their own app. Our customer survey results suggest that despite being an Android-focused offering the return on investment for the Eddystone based beacon deployment has been very positive and encouraging.
If you are planning to try out beacons, 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!