How live data from beacons can improve your CRM strategy

Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Plugging in all the live beacon-data from your physical business’s locations directly into your CRM system can have a measurable and positive impact on your abilities to personalise offers and messages in real-time.

Let’s explore how this can be achieved, and answer some straightforward questions you may have around a piece of software you may not be using, or utilising to its full potential.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it refers to any system used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future customers.

The purpose of this to help automate some of the more time-consuming, labour-intensive customer service chores so you can spend more time and effort developing the actual human-side of your relationship… the one that will lead to a much healthier customer lifetime value (CLV).

Why should you use a CRM?

A good CRM should organise, automate and synchronise all of the customer facing areas within your company, and not just sales, but also customer service and technical support. (Also marketing too, which we’ll get to later.)

It basically means you can chuck all those massive ledgers and rolodexes in the bin, and hopefully means you’ll never miss an important detail or calendar date in relation to your customer, wherever they are in the sales funnel.

This information on your clients is stored in one place, and should be shared with your whole team. Anyone can update the data, and these updates will be made live immediately. This means that everyone in your business is on the same page when it comes to the relationship.

A decent CRM should also provide you with metrics and help you forecast for the future. You’ll be able to see the complete history of your interactions with a client and you can use this to strategise for the future.

What types of data can be plugged into a CRM?

All the traditional channels, such as telephone calls, emails, face-to-face meetings can be entered into a CRM, but the system you choose should definitely come with social integration and be able to harness mobile data.

More and more people are using social as their first port of call when it comes to contacting a brand, and more often than not, this is done via mobile.

However, what about the missing piece of the puzzle?

Many businesses do not have the complete picture of any given customer journey, particularly those with premises in the offline world.

Without the ability to identify and measure a customer’s in-store interactions and behaviour, then a CRM will never truly be accurate.

But how can a business take these offline interactions and make them… online?

By using beacons.

How live data from beacons can complete your CRM strategy

By placing beacons in your premises, you can measure exactly how a customer behaves in-store. If you target an individual who has your mobile app, with a specific message or offer, you can answer many difficult questions that most businesses can only struggle to guess at…

Has the marketing worked? Has the notification directed that person into a store? How long did it take? Did they use the offer? Did they buy anything else? How long did they spend in-store?

You could then prompt the customer with a quick survey, asking if they enjoyed the experience and where it could be improved.

All this data could be fed directly into your CRM, and can immediately be used to improve communications and personalise offers for the next person that wanders through the door.

Ultimately, this live data coupled with your existing CRM data, is designed to improve customer service. However, never before have we had the capability to do so in such an agile, on-the-spot manner that takes into account the entire long-term customer relationship.

How loyalty apps are driving in-store purchases

retail_app_users

Let’s take a few minutes to pour over some beacon-related research that will help underscore just how important it is to connect the physical retail experience with your digital channels – particularly your mobile-based loyalty apps.

The world of loyalty cards seems like the preserve of gigantic chain supermarkets that have to compete viciously with each other in order to survive.

But thanks to mobile apps, the mass production of plastic cards and the huge infrastructure it takes to enable these vast data collection programmes no longer means loyalty schemes are just for the retail giants.

Every digitally savvy retailer, from an independent boutique to a small city-wide chain, can build a loyalty app that sits on your customer’s phone and offers great added value, for relatively little cost.

Of course the question is… why should I bother doing that?

Let’s look at the latest stats on customer behaviour in regards to loyalty and mobile apps.

Why should I have a customer loyalty program?

Okay, good question. Simply put, any loyalty programme is obviously designed to keep customers coming back to your specific store rather than a competitor’s. But say your competitor offers more convenience than you (it may just be that it’s closer to the customer), you’re going to have to offer something pretty special to make someone come further out of their way to your store.

That’s where a loyalty program comes in. And I don’t just mean points based systems that accrue meaningless general deals, but genuinely personalised special offers or cold hard money off.

Loyalty programmes work! Here are a few stats from Bond’s recent 2016 brand loyalty report:

  • 81% of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs
  • 75% of consumers say loyalty programs are part of their relationship with brands
  • 73% of loyalty programs members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs

These are huge majorities of customers, all saying “yes, offer us a loyalty programme, make it worthwhile and we’ll come back.”

And it’s not just those of us who are used to carrying around loads of different, forgotten plastic cards in our wallets, younger people who probably don’t even use a wallet anymore use loyalty schemes too…

According to Blackhawk Network’s recent study on shopping habits:

  • 69% of Millennials belong to a retail loyalty program and 70% of those are happy with the program

And according to Software Advice the most important thing that will keep millennials using a loyalty program is the speed with which rewards build up (51%) and the variety of rewards available (38%). It should be worth noting that 50% of millennials stated they would quit a loyalty program because rewards took too long to accrue

The case for building a mobile app for your loyalty program

According to Google, 84% of shoppers with smartphones use their devices to help shop while in–store. But then, you don’t really need Google to tell you this. You already do it yourself. You’d be crazy not to! With huge improvements in mobile optimised websites and network connectivity, why not do 30 seconds of research while in-store to see if you can save some money elsewhere.

But it’s not just the mobile-web that shoppers are using, research from Apptentive carried out in July 2015 shows that a vast number of US consumers are using specific retail apps while shopping, which is helping drive in-store purchases.

  • 88% of respondents used retailer apps
  • 61% said they used them at least monthly.
  • 26% of the app-user population used retailer apps seven or more times per month
  • 71% browse retail apps before buying in-stores, at least once a month
  • 51% have used a retailer app while in store.

Percentage_Of_Shoppers_using_retail_apps

But what do people want from a loyalty mobile app?

According to the Bond research we mentioned earlier, 77% of smartphone users suggested they’d like to see mobile-specific offers such as surprise points or rewards, exclusive content and special birthday messaging.

All of this adds to brand loyalty and all of this is achievable with the data you can collect on your customers.

And customers will of course carry on using your mobile app outside the store. The Bond research suggests that, 57% of consumers are interested in using their mobile device to check their points balances, redeem reward points (55%), find a location/store (54%), and browse reward options (54%) at home.

Ultimately this loyalty culminates in revenue. According to ABI research: 40.4% of respondents who had downloaded a retailer branded app said that as a result, they bought more of the brand’s products and services and 45.9% said the app caused them to visit the store more often.

Joining up your physical retail store with loyalty app

Of course all of these benefits to you mean nothing if you’re not benefiting your customers.

According to 2016 research from Revel Systems and Forrester 93% of executives agree that’ it’s important to integrate digital capabilities into physical locations to improve customer experience while 94% of retailers see in-store digital capabilities as important not only for customer experience but also for store operations.

But how can you achieve this?

How beacons can help you join everything up into one brilliant customer experience

Build that loyalty app, give it to your customers for free, and place beacons around your premises to trigger specific deals and helpful store advice.

Make the most of it by offering free Wi-Fi in-store, and don’t be shy about it either. Also do encourage your customers to enable their customer loyalty apps with simple guides. Promise that that the push notifications will be ‘worth it’ then prove it by sending a brilliant one-time offer when they walk into your store.

Use the data you’ve accrued about your app users to tailor genuinely helpful bespoke offers and offer true personalisation.

Make their shopping experience as pleasurable and fun as possible, while also being brilliantly helpful. They’ll not only come back to your store, but also use your app while at home too.

32 Charts, stats & quotes that prove you need to invest in proximity marketing in 2016

Google customer journey

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.

number of smartphones worldwide

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:

number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

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.

In fact, the global wearables market reached 45.7 million units in 2015 and is set to reach 126.1 Million Units in 2019. 

And of course, beacons can communicate with all of those… 

iBEacons_BLE

It’s also worth comparing this usage to desktop. Here are two graphs from Google which handily sum up the trends:

Google_Mobile_Vs_Desktop_Use

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:

2016-Ecommerce-retail-conversion-rates-by-device

  • 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:

showrooming_trends

While data from Google shows how complicated the customer path to purchase has now become:

Google customer journey

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:

tracking_Customers_Mobile

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.

customer-experience

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:

Google: 

“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 

Facebook:

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.

Apple:

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology

– Steve Jobs 

TechCrunch estimates beacons will reach 60 million customers by 2019, while ABI research estimates that more than 400 million beacons will be deployed by 2020 

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.

Keeping track of people with beacons: Privacy, relevancy and optimisation

tracking_people

Recently we’ve been talking about using beacons to track assets, but it’s worth remembering that in many cases, the most valuable asset might be a person.

When we talk about tracking people, there are often some concerns about privacy involved, so I thought I would look at some of the situations where you might want to track people (either anonymously or specifically) and address these issues.

Privacy Concerns

Let’s talk about privacy first of all. While it is an important and understandable concern, it is worth remembering that attitudes around tracking are evolving. In many cases, online users are willing to trade a small piece of personal data (an email address for example), in return for information.

What matters here is making sure that the information or service you are providing is relevant enough. In order to collect this information, you will need not only to clearly inform the user about what information you need, but also where you plan to use it, and what they will receive in return.

It’s also worth mentioning that beacons themselves are fairly passive devices. They cannot transmit any information at all to your phone without explicit permission. In most cases this involves allowing an app to receive messages and send push messages, as well as enabling Bluetooth.

While some efforts are being made to address the need for an app (and Bluetooth devices like fitness wristbands often come with appropriate software pre-installed), it is still the default for most devices. This brings us back to relevance and value again. Points of friction are best addressed by providing something genuinely useful.

This is actually a microcosm of the wider mobile commerce market, where many businesses invest in a mobile site to initially attract users, before attempting to ‘upgrade’ users to a dedicated app to increase ‘stickiness’ once they have already proven value. For now there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this, as value changes from business to business. It’s one of the main reason we offer consultation services for our customers, so that we can learn more about the specific needs of customers.

Use Cases

As mentioned, there are a number of reasons you may want to keep an eye on people, and it’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to be a Big Brother-esque scenario. Simply anonymously tracking devices as they enter and leave areas can add enormous value. Here are a few different use cases:

Optimising workflow

In previous posts I mentioned that tracking assets could speed up the flow of goods from warehouse to store. The same is true of people. Ever booked a taxi to the airport, and then waited for your delayed departure? Think what you could do with the spare time (Duty Free is calling your name…).

In a business situation, it shouldn’t be used to ferry staff around like drones, but knowing where I need to be, and when is extremely useful. If a delivery is running late, then I can prioritise other tasks to fill in the lost time. If a task requires a set amount of time to complete, then my progress can be monitored. It can cut down on a huge amount of wasted time and allow me to more efficiently organise my own day.

Building better environments

One of the easiest beacon implementations is simply tracking the movements of devices around a space. With a management system like superHub, it’s easy to see where people enter, how long they stay, and where they hover.

Which in-store displays are attracting the most attention? Are customers spending so much time in the dairy aisle because they love looking at the cheese, or because they can’t find the eggs easily?

Using_beacons _in_warehouse

Keeping track of their movements and interactions is entirely non-intrusive, but allows you to optimise your physical space – be it supermarket or warehouse – so that people can easily find items, and also keep moving during busy periods.

Renting devices

Recently a couple of the blueSense team visited the Barbican in London to try out Edgelands, an interactive experience which uses our beacons to showcase the building’s unique history and architecture (Look out for more on that in a future post). Before we began though, I realised I had forgotten my headphones.

Luckily I could rent some from the shop. Unluckily it involved handing over my drivers license and making a cash deposit (They were very nice Sennheisers, so I appreciate why).

iphones_Beacons

It is possible however, to avoid this. Thousands of museums, parks, zoos and attractions now offer experiences with an audio-visual element, and hand out dozens of iPods, tablets and headphones to go with these. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just take one without needing to fill in the paperwork. This actually works for all kinds of items, from headphones to bicycles, with your personal device linked to a specific device that can be easily tracked.

Tracking children in public spaces

There is also a safety element involved in tracking people. We’ve talked before about shopping malls using beacons for wayfinding, providing maps that point out key features. While this is useful for adults trying to find their own way around, it may not be quite as useful for children.

beacons_Retail

Several large malls are now experimenting with beacon tracking for wristbands, meaning you can easily keep an eye on your children, even if they have been distracted by the enormous M&Ms display and run into a shop they shouldn’t have.

This also works for themeparks, zoos, and all kinds of complexes where many people need to be safely identified and guided.

Meetups and networking

Finally, what kind of marketer would I be if I didn’t mention networking? In the past I’ve worked with events that have used apps and RFID to track users, but beacons can actually offer a much wider experience with a much higher level of personalisation.

They can easily supply you with live information on who else is in your vicinity so you can optimise your networking time, and allow vendors to know when important clients are using their stands. In the past this kind of data has relied heavily on word of mouth feedback, but with beacon tracking you would be able to identify exactly who had visited which booth or conference session throughout the day.

Finally, there is also the added bonus of providing live information on the event itself – knowing which sessions are starting and finishing is a huge boon, as is automatic check-in to events.

Keeping track of people can provide us with a huge amount of new data, which in turn should allow businesses to optimise their own efforts internally, and provide far more relevant messages and experiences for users. If you’d like to know more about tracking, check out our proximitySense platform.

The complete A-Z of beacon marketing use cases and case studies

beacon_Marketing_Case_Studies

When it comes to beacons, many of us immediately think of the most simple use-case available: pushing messages. Many locations now use beacons to deliver specific messages to customers, but this represents the tip of the iceberg as far as value goes.

Above and beyond simply delivering notifications or offering voucher codes, beacons allow businesses to develop a far more useful view of customer intent. For store owners, learning how customers move around their store space is an easy way to improve merchandising, while for marketers, beacons can allow them to begin answering the huge question of how offline and online channels affect each other.

With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to compile a range of different real-world uses for beacons that will hopefully inspire your own location marketing and sales campaigns.

Airports

Airport_beacons_Use_Case

Orlando International Airport sees almost 4,000,000 international travellers pass through every year. With that many newcomers arriving, it’s important that they can find their way to services and facilities (not to mention their flights) easily. With this in mind, Orlando International has built a network of beacons that transmit directions to check-in desks, security stations, baggage claim and more to travellers, with more than 1,000 separate destinations available within the airport itself. In addition, the airport now transmits live departure and arrival information directly to smartphones – no more missed departures.

Baseball

MLB.com already had a popular app for users that visited Baseball games around the country, but realised they could add a raft of new features with beacon tech. the first and most obvious changes allowed fans to check in at games and claim free offers, but they were also able to keep adding features like parking guides, mobile food ordering and the ability to offer music sales as players – also tracked by beacons – ran on to the field.

Child safety

Any parent knows how important –and difficult – keeping a constant eye on the kids at the beach or mall. Nivea came up with a unique solution to this, combining a location beacon with a high profile ad campaign. Nivea distributed bracelets which parents could monitor through their phones. Check out the video case study:

Directions

While many stores are attempting to increase browsing time, US pharmacy giant Rite-Aid has the opposite objective. Their customers are trying to locate specific items as quickly as possible. Rite-Aid has installed beacons in more than 4,500 stores that are designed to work through their own app, but also through a series of partners to allow customers to minimise the time spent in-store, a key component of a better customer experience for Rite Aid.

Enablement

BArclays_Bank_Beacon_Marketing

Barclays is just one high profile example of businesses using beacons to provide better experiences for customers with accessibility issues. The bank uses beacons in its branches to alert staff (Via an opt-in phone app) that a customer with a sight, vision, speech or mobility issue has entered so that they can quickly provide extra assistance.

Freight

Whether it’s huge shipments travelling by sea, or local one-hour delivery, keeping track of articles in transit is a constant battle for many businesses. Beacons configured for outdoor use make a cheap and easy way to track individual pallets, containers or items. Because beacons can be preset with codes that match each item, they remove the need for manual scanning on delivery, instead sending a preset message. For smaller shipments a personal message can also be attached easily, adding to the customer experience.

Good boy!

Wouldn’t it be nice if your dog could exercise itself? Granata came up with a novel solution to pet exercise, using beacons to create an obstacle course for pets, who could be rewarded with a Granata Snackball if they completed certain tasks!

Home improvement

If we’re being honest, ordering a Pizza was never a very challenging task, but that didn’t stop apps improving the experience for us. Now we can order a large pepperoni with a single tap of an app. But what other simple tasks can we do away with? Adding beacons to your home opens up all sorts of automation possibilities – doors that unlock as you approach, heating systems that know when you are in the room and adjust the temperature accordingly, light controls, and – of course – fridges that will automatically order fresh veg for you whenever you run low.

If This Then That

IFTTT_Beacons_IoT

Or IFTTT if you prefer. Beacons allow plenty of real-world uses for the popular ‘recipe service’ app. For example, if a customer enters a store, a message can be sent to via management comms service Slack, where further bots can post it as an event in Google analytics.

Jukeboxes

Wouldn’t it be nice if you and your friends could create playlists with all your favourite tunes when you went out to a bar or restaurant? Beacon installation in internet Jukeboxes, or connected sound systems like Sonos mean venues can discover who is in the room and actively tailor playlists based on their Spotify preferences. Just watch out if you’ve been listening to One Direction in secret.

Kew Gardens

Kew_Gardens_Beacons

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London are a fantastic experience in their own right, but realised that visitors could gain far more from their trip if they were provided with contextual information. A network of beacons throughout the facility provides visitors with information on the many rare and beautiful species of plants, as well as interesting historical data on the gardens themselves. In addition, customers can use their phones to directly access the information, meaning there is no need for the facility to invest in expensive headset guides.

Loyalty cards

A simple use-case, but a valuable one. Every coffee shop and clothes store offers a loyalty card scheme, but with beacon deployment it’s possible to create a far more personalised experience. Nature’s Marketplace uses beacon deployment to alert shoppers of new offers, but also to assign more or less loyalty points based on their particular shopping habits. This allows the store to specifically promote certain items without discounting.

Medical

Dutch healthcare provider LUMC has built a beacon array designed to track patients who have suffered a heart attack. This tracking allows them to track and improve the time it takes for a patient to receive a potentially lifesaving balloon angioplasty treatment. The trial has proven so successful that there are now plans to introduce it to other departments in order to improve overall response and treatment times

New York

New_York_City_Beacons

The city that never sleeps has been at the forefront of beacon deployment, with a wide range of bars and restaurants linking location apps to payment solutions. Rather than trying in vain to catch a waiter’s eye, patrons who want to leave can just get up and go, confident that their bill will be automatically and securely deducted from their bank account

Online-Offline

Or ‘The marketer’s dilemma’. As more business is conducted online, marketers spend more time trying to work out if the people that visit their websites are the same people who shop in stores. In many cases customers now research products online in advance, before purchasing locally. In-store beacons combined with a proprietary, or third-party app mean that marketers can now bridge this gap, and provide more relevant communications to multichannel customers.

Privacy

Privacy concerns around data are often seen as a challenge for beacons, but they can actually be used to add another layer of security and do away with the need for access passes or pin codes. No more forgetting your ID card on the way to the office! Devices equipped with touch-activation can also be used in conjunction with beacons to enhance data privacy easily.

Quick Payments

In the past stores like Starbucks have used beacons to speed up the ordering and collection process, but we’re now seeing small-payment apps like Droplet and Pingit begin to integrate with beacons, meaning not only can you have your coffee waiting for you when you arrive in store, but you can saunter back out without needing to rummage around for change, or even line up to pay.

Revision

Finding a quiet spot to get some homework done can be a challenge for many students. Grand Valley University in Michigan knew this was an issue, so it incorporated beacon networks into campus libraries. The beacons fed back ‘heatmaps’ showing how busy different areas were at a given time, allowing students to find quieter areas, or gain faster access to specific materials.

Snapchat

Snapchat_Geo_filters

At time of writing, Snapchat had more than 200 million monthly active users. With such rapid growth, the company has to ensure its users don’t get bored of the experience, so adding hyperlocal filters to snaps is a quick and useful way to enhance the experience. Snapchat allows advertisers and event organisers to build their own filters, and target down to a 20ft radius.

Trust (and Tesco)

Tesco_beacons_trial

Some users are understandably concerned about certain aspects of beacon networks, so when UK retailer Tesco began trialling location marketing in stores, they knew they would have to have to approach customers carefully and build trust over time. Rather than bombarding users with offers right away, the store began with simple welcome messages, and providing instructions when a customer arrives in store to collect goods they have ordered online.

Urban Outfitters

The international clothes retailers uses beacons in its larger stress not to promote content, but to streamline the customer experience. Beacons allow the company to reduce checkout times, and also to alert customers easily when fitting rooms are free.

Vending Machines

As less of us carry cash, and coins in particular, the need for simple micro-payments has become widespread. Beacons installed in vending machines make an ideal replacement for a pocket full of loose change, with low-power beacons configured to work within a very small radius so that there’s no chance of accidentally charging a cola to an unwary passer-by.

Workforce management

While accidents do happen, Australian cleaning services provider Spotlight was aware of a growing insurance fraud issue, with unscrupulous customers blaming supermarkets – and Spotlight – for falls in public places. Spotlight wanted to make sure it could document issues to reduce fraud, so the company instigated a network of beacons to track employee movements. In addition to reducing risk considerably, it allowed the company to clearly understand why and how quotas were missed, and adapt working practices to improve services accordingly.

X-Men

X_MEN_Beacon_marketing

20th Century Fox utilised beacons in Japanese theatres to provide movie-goers with exclusive content and games to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past. Notifying customers of theatre promos is common, but there are also use cases available that make the cinema a nicer place to be – checking that everyone has turned their phone off before the movie starts for example.

Yachts

The North Aegean Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious Yacht races, so it needs an app to match. Thanks to a wide-ranging beacon array, competitors and audience can constantly keep track of boat positions, race information, weather updates and receive live pictures and content throughout.

Zatarain

The New Orleans-inspired food producer makes the list not only because they are handily named with a Z, but also because they were the first consumer packaged goods brand to utilise in-store beacons. Their system allowed customers to gain points, and provided a ‘shopping concierge’, with recipe and ingredient tips provided to customers at key locations.

These are just a few examples of how versatile beacons can be, and we see new uses every day, which is why we offer the largest range of beacons in the world so that however you plan to use location technology, we can help.