Apple has recently unveiled their own iBeacons strategy, they have rolled out iBeacons technology in all of their retail stores. In the stores, this location-based tech works with the official iOS Apple Store app when you enter a store. The technology provides notifications such as when your order is done being assembled in the stock room, suggestions for upgrading your device when you’re in the iPhone section, sending specific information about a particular product display, sales, specials, and general alerts to customers as they enter the store.
While we can already see that the retail potential here is huge, the possibilities reach much farther than that. So beyond the retail world, what can we expect? Well, honestly, the sky’s the limit. Any customer based experience can, in theory, be tailored for iBeacons. I think that even with all the buzz surrounding it –it isn’t enough. Apple, Macy’s, Starbucks, American Airlines, Museums and Parks are already jumping on board. So far, we’ve seen this technology used in museums and parks for visitors to use as a help to navigate their grounds. Beyond this we could see gift shop specials, suggestions for lunch in the parks, information on upgrading to a yearly pass, etc. As we mentioned last time, Major League Baseball is set to begin using this technology next year and they already used iBeacons at their All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. Fans were able to use the MLB At-Bat application to connect with the iBeacons. Visitors were directed to their seats, provided discounts inside the stadium, shown videos inside the stadium, etc.
What’s Up Next?
That really is the question. In my opinion, we should be looking for this technology in each and every industry. Yes retail, but also dining, travel, entertainment, real estate, travel and tourism, etc.
Here are some predictions people have made so far for this technology, and I’d like to hear some of yours. Comment below with what you think is up next:
- Beacons could be placed at open houses to instantly remind agents about prospective homebuyers’ tastes and preferences, allowing Realtors to highlight the property features that would excite each potential buyer. The homebuyer would receive messages as she moves throughout the property – pointing out unique traits or information (The master bathroom was redone last year. The wood in the vanity was imported from Africa.)
- A shopper can enter a store, pick out a product and make a make mobile payment without ever speaking to a store employee.
- An attendee at a concert can be guided to their seats, get directions to a restroom, receive offers when they walk past the merchandise table and locate their car in the parking garage when the concert ends.
- Beacons would empower wait staff to better serve their customers by knowing their preferences and special requests without the repeat customer having to restate it (Jeff at table 2D prefers no ice in his water). Restaurateurs could also automate promotions based on real-time inventory factors (Salmon Special! — when there is a surplus) or seating capacity (Tonight only! Free dessert with a purchase of $30) to fill tables.
- By integrating with a grocery store loyalty card, a shopper can walk into a store, see their customized shopping list and be guided aisle-by-aisle to purchase those products.
- Since the advent of “pay at the pump,” ancillary sales at gas stations have decreased significantly. Beacons could not only facilitate contactless payments, but could alert drivers of specials to tempt them into the station (Buy one 12 pack of any Coca-Cola product, get one free!)
As always, we'll keep an eye on this technology and see how long it takes for some of our predictions to pan out. We'd love to hear from you and see who can call 'the next big thing' leave us a comment below and share this article with anyone interested!
See my sources for the article in the more links section below.