Social media has changed the face of how we engage with our customers and peers over recent years and now iBeacons are set to evolve this. At Beura we define customer engagement as a two-way dialogue between a brand and it's audience. We take a look at 3 ways in which iBeacons could change engagement.
Why iBeacons are capable of evolving engagement
iBeacons deliver proximity targeting capabilities, giving brands the ability to target their audiences within a given range of Immediate - 2cm; Near - 2m; Far - 50m. They also have another key feature which is instrumental to engaging customers and this is a beacon's ability to push alerts/messages to a dormant app (with the necessary permissions of course). These are the features that will drive engagement at 3 levels: brand; product and service.
In an environment where multiple brands co-exist, finding a voice can be a challenge. One example is the field of medical supplies, where multiple, brands and machinery co-exist within a building. Beacon-integrated-apps are one way of engaging a user base with relevant information. Suppliers can notify users of product updates and engage them on mini surveys. During a recent stay in hospital, I noted that nurses use apps on their personal smartphones to help them with routine checks such as pulse rates; providing key medical personal with a way of engaging with the equipment they use daily could prove invaluable to suppliers and users alike.
Public environments such as airports also provide a forum for reinforcing brand especially for pure-play brands who want to have a real-world presence. e.g. Online Travel Agents can engage their audience upon arrival at their destination, a pre-check-in perhaps, to help provide a seamless welcome at their host hotel.
The "FAR", 50 metre beacon range can engage audiences beyond a building, giving brands the ability to engage their customers within range and invite them in.
October heralds Christmas planning season, shoppers start to explore products in-store and then browse online for alternatives and the best price. This has given rise to the recent consumer trend dubbed "showrooming" by the retail industry. With the ability to recognise customers upon entry in-store, beacons give retailers the opportunity to nurture their customers and engage with them during this important trading period.
The key to successful engagement for retailers is data. Beacons simply transmit IDs, it is the servers in the background that analyse and action data. This determines the content of the messages beacons trigger and therefore the quality of engagement they can drive.
Beacons can prompt customers to engage with retailers' apps and retailers can deliver recommendations through this medium based on customers' profiles. Encouraging them to add products to their Christmas Wish list and express sentiment through social media will capture valuable data. Analysing and actioning this data in real-time will help close the gap between offline browsing and online purchasing, getting retailers ever closer to the holy grail of omni-channel retailing.
My last blog outlined how iBeacons can help evolve customer service and this goes hand in hand with engagement. Coming from an online background, I have noted that the emphasis on user experience is universal. Now, beacon-integrated-apps are set to help brands provide great user experiences in the real-world. From helping customers navigate to their gate at airports to highlighting baby changing facilities throughout the building. Service does not need to be a one-way street, engaging your audience on how their check-in went or rating how they were served at the food counter delivers a real-time, highly targeted and relevant rapport that speaks to the individual.
Beura supplies beacons and SaaS based beacon management, tracking and mobile messaging tools. We are currently working with the Guildhall Galleries on an exciting beacon project and also a top 10 travel brand. Contact me on LinkedIn to learn more about Beura and our services.