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Given that blueSense sells iBeacon hardware and management software, it won’t be too much of a surprise to hear us tell you that you need to get on board the proximity marketing train right away.
Luckily, you don’t need to just take our word for it.
Here are 32 charts, stats and quotes from businesses that show just how important location-based services are going to be in the near future, and why you should consider investing now.
The world is going mobile. Fast
There are now more mobile devices in the world than there are people.
We actually hit this level way back in 2014, when GSMA reported that there were 7.22 billion devices in the world, compared to ‘just’ 7.2 billion humans.
Don’t expect that trend to stop though. Back then, around 60% of the population owned a mobile phone, but just a quarter of those were smartphones. Statista expects this to rise to more than 50% by 2018:
In fact, we can reasonably expect 4.77 billion phones to be on the market by 2019
And phones aren’t the only devices out there. In Q4 of 2015, the wearables market grew by more than 126%, including more than 8 million new FitBits hitting the market.
And of course, beacons can communicate with all of those…
It’s also worth comparing this usage to desktop. Here are two graphs from Google which handily sum up the trends:
We’re buying more things, through more devices, than ever before.
And we’re also using those devices for product research (We’ll look at why this is so important in a moment).
According to Monetate, retail clients saw mobile conversion rates rise from 1.2% to 1.53% between 2014 and 2015:
- In 2014, UK users bought £8. 41Bn ($11.10Bn) of goods through mobile devices. By 2015, that number had risen an astonishing 77.8% to £14.95Bn customers spent £14.95Bn ($19.73Bn).
- According to data compiled by RetailMeNot, During the same period, PC spending increased by just 2%.
- The global mobile commerce market is set to reach $3.2 TRILLION by 2017.
Savvy businesses need to be engaging customers through their mobile devices.
Search behaviour is changing to be more local and contextual.
All these devices are changing something else as well: the way people look for information.
Customers are doing more research on products before buying, often engaging in ‘showrooming’ – looking at a product in store, but also looking for a cheaper price online.
According to Comscore, 43.3% of UK smartphone users have used their device in a retail store:
While data from Google shows how complicated the customer path to purchase has now become:
Users are increasingly looking for information on the spot, and delivering content to them directly can heavily affect their purchasing decisions.
Data from xAD shows that 60% of consumers who research goods and services in-store will buy on location.
Keeping track of online & offline data is a huge challenge.
With so much data coming in, you’d think that businesses would be able to track their customers pretty well.
And they can to a degree. If you’ve handed over your email info, then a business should be able to send you emails that you are personally interested in. What they aren’t so good at is working out what goes on once you actually enter a store.
Data tends to sit in silos, and that means it’s tough to tell if an online campaign helped sell something in a store (or vice versa).
Data from Econsultancy shows that, while beacons are a far more accurate way of tracking customers in-store, just 5% of businesses are currently doing it. Instead, they are relying on tracking codes, phone calls and surveys – all methods that require extra steps from the customer:
Customer experience is the best way to win customers
The really interesting thing here is that customer experience doesn’t begin and end when a purchase is being made. It actually covers every part of the journey –
Whether a customer wants a useful website when they begin their research, a great in-store experience, or useful information afterwards.
According to CustomerThink:
- 92% of retailers think customer experience is vital to their business
- 56% believe they need to seamlessly integrate online and offline data to provide a good experience.
- Meanwhile, more than half (53%) of customers would stop using a business if they received poor in-store service, and almost a third (31%) have abandoned a purchase because of bad service.
Beacons allow businesses to integrate their data, and optimise in-store layouts to provide better service, as well as removing customer friction points such as the need to carry loyalty cards, or check that they are receiving the best price (Both major pain points, according to Retail Customer Experience)
Low barrier to entry
We’ve covered this before, but just to be sure: iBeacons have an average range of around 100 metres, and cost around £20. With an average battery life of more than two years, beacons cost around £0.0114 ($0.02c) per hour to run. With such a a low entry point, it’s no wonder the market is expanding so rapidly.
Meanwhile, 9to5mac has data from InMarket which shows that since they began sending iBeacon notifications to Epicurious users in stores:
- Interactions with advertised products increased by 19x.
- App usage was 16.5x greater for users who received a beacon message vs those who did not.
- Users who received an iBeacon notification are 6.4x more likely to keep an app on their phone.
It has already begun
The fact that there is a key product called ‘iBeacon’ should tip you off here. Big players like Apple, Google and Facebook like to experiment, but they don’t plough serious money into technology unless they are convinced they will see a return.
Don’t take my word for it though – here’s what these firms have to say about beacons and proximity marketing:
“Beacons are an important way to deliver better experiences for users of your apps, whether you choose to use Eddystone with your own products and services or as part of a broader Google solution like the Places API or Nearby API.
The ecosystem of app developers and beacon manufacturers is important in pushing these technologies forward and the best ideas won’t come from just one company, so we encourage you to get some Eddystone-supported beacons today from our partners and begin building!
– Chandu Thota, Engineering Director and Matthew Kulick, Product Manager
As people continue to use their phones everywhere and all the time—including while they shop and dine—there’s an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers online while they are in store. So earlier this year we started testing Place Tips, an optional Facebook feature that helps people learn about and connect with the places they visit, including businesses. Since we started our test, local businesses that have tried Place Tips have seen a steady uptick in Page traffic from in-store visitors.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology
– Steve Jobs
And the effect they have on purchasing is well documented.
According to the 2015 Retail Touchpoints report:
- Beacons will drive $44 billion in retail sales in 2016, up from just $4 billion in 2015.
- In 2014, 15% of retailers were launching beacon programs in the US. In 2015, that figure rose to 46%
- 71% of retailers using beacons believe they can now track and understand how and where their customers purchase items by using beacons
The evidence is compelling, the tech is ready to go, and customers are actively looking for better, more contextual experiences. Get in touch to discover how we can help you grow your business with beacon technology and data.