About a year ago Apple introduced their new iOS 7 update. In classic Apple fashion, they held a keynote speech to tell their loyal customers about all the bells and whistles associated with the new operating system. However, there was one capability that Apple didn’t make a fuss about, the iBeacon capability.
Just because Apple isn’t talking about it, doesn’t mean other people aren’t. iBeacons have caught the attention of technology junkies and retailers alike. Some people even think it could revolutionize the in-store shopping experience.
By now everyone knows how prevalent mobile is in our day to day lives. iBeacons are designed to capitalize on mobile technology and usage. In simple terms, iBeacons are small pieces of hardware that recognize when your mobile device has entered a certain region or range. It does this by using Bluetooth low energy which can send a notification to your mobile device once you enter the specified range.
For retailers, the benefits are obvious. If implemented correctly, iBeacons can greatly improve the shopping experience. iBeacons can attract potential customers who might be close by and they can collect huge quantities of data that weren’t previously available. For example, iBeacons could tell retailers what parts of the store receive the most and least amount of traffic.
While consumers might not be thrilled about receiving more notifications, they too can benefit from iBeacons. Notifications can offer coupons and sales, compare prices, and display customer reviews. There’s also the ability to turn off push notifications associated with certain apps so consumers won’t be overwhelmed.
While retail is the obvious channel for iBeacon usage, it certainly isn’t the only one. Recently, iBeacons were used at the Tribeca Film Festival and SXSW. This allowed festival goers who had the event app to be notified of show times and venue locations when they were in the vicinity of an iBeacon. This proved to be extremely useful for attendees as they navigated the crowded festivals. It also allowed people to see what performances their friends were interested in attending.
iBeacons may still be in their infancy, but they certainly have potential. Would you allow the push notifications in a retail setting? What about a music festival? Let us know what you think.