January 2015

We live in a digital age and pretty much everything we do leaves some sort of a digital footprint behind. Although there has been recent debates regarding privacy and what internet companies can do to better safeguard our personal details. However one cannot deny that the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. We are a nation of shoppers, we relish and delight at the thought of a weekend with the girls hitting up all the major retailers.  Shopping in retail stores in addition with all the services that tag along with it, is still very much one of the main reasons why we all still flock to the high-street at such an unprecedented rate. There is an enormous advantage associated with going in store, getting a feel for a product/merchandise and then eventually making up your mind with regards to purchase.

However we stand at the moment, in the middle of tectonic Plates of cool technologies, which are severely disrupting industries that are hundreds of years old and changing their face beyond recognition. Lets take for example, Apple in mid 2013 quietly announced the assimilation of iBeacons into their iOS powered iPhones. As a non-techie, this might not necessarily mean a lot to you, but fast forward to eight months later and the likes of Macy’s in New York, McDonalds, Waitrose and John Lewis in the UK are all shelling out huge amount of money to invest in this innovative piece of device and a compactible app.

Retailers are not only adopting these technologies at such a past pace but are being rather smart about its implementation. Not only do they deploy them to better enhance each individual customer’s experience but to also ensure that they stay loyal through offering in-mobile digital rewards or coupons that can be stored to each individual’s mobile device wallet and then redeemed at a much suitable time. By engaging with customers through iBeacon powered apps, retailers can entice more customers into visiting the stores and based on prior purchasing habits can personalise the offers and notifications sent to that particular customer in a context that is relevant to them, thereby increasing the chances of them spending money because what is being offered to them is not only relevant in terms of taste but also relevant to their current context, future increasing sales volume and in-turn sales revenue.

The many attributes of the iBeacon especially in the areas of contextualisation and personalisation makes them an ideal investment for any business/brands reviewing its modern digital marketing strategies. It provides multiple industries with data that might not have ordinarily been available to them off-line. With the iBeacon enabled dashboard, a business can analyse who their best customers are, their average spend per visit, the duration of each visit and how customers interact with their products in real-time, so that the products generating the most engagements are pushed to the fore-front and with Apple Pay coming to every iOS mobile device near you, be prepared for a whole new way of playing the brick and mortar game.

Mr Barack Obama is breaking the internet and winning the game on every major social media platform. This comes as no surprise then, seeing as the majority of under 35’s can now be found on major social media platforms. They like to interact and stay in-touch with their friends and favourite brands, the way they know best in a digital age, and that’s via social media. This has undoubtedly been the new “normal” for quite some time and one which the slightly older population are struggling to get their heads around. It is no longer safe to be seen as lacking in some digital footprint, regardless of what your plans are when it comes to setting up your digital real estate.

What Mr. President have perfected, is the ability to stay engaged and speak the language that his core audience understands and can resonate with. Which in this case is going via YouTube. Social media is becoming an increasingly integral part of our everyday lives and business, sorry to break it to you, but it isn’t going away anytime soon. With more apps now being built around social media platforms and APis, it comes as no surprise while every major business needs to be on tap in real- time via dash boards. Lets exemplify this, if you have two businesses, where one was Mr. Obama and the other was you. Now Mr. Obama has tapped into a huge resource base by going to where his core customers spend the most time i.e. social media and apps. By engaging with his core audience through mobile powered apps that read in real-time, he sees what they are saying (i.e. comments and rating) what they are sharing (i.e. selfies at events or coffee shops) and with this information he can tailor his business offering in real-time to appeal to an even greater number of customers and in-turn generate revenues.

Well little can be said for business no 2. because not only is it lacking in having the quality real-time backed data to drive his business, but he is also missing out on what his target demographics are saying about his product offering and customer service in general.

It may not seem like a huge deal but quite clearly it is, with digital platform apps becoming extremely smart and kitted out with attributes like geo-location and ibeacon powered proximity detectors, there is an ever increasing benefit for every business to go with the times and secure their place with their demographics. Adopting a piece of technology has never been shown to undermine a business but rather improve its overall performance and reach. Apple is investing massively in both its mobile payments platforms and location based sensor advertising, it hopes to start pushing out adverts via notifications when an iOS powered mobile is detected near any of its ibeacon devices regardless of where it is positioned. Just like
Mr. Obama, it is securing its future, demographics and in-turn its digital real-estate so that it can meet the demands of an ever evolving digital age.

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Benefits of the iBeacon

The struggle for consumer engagement is real. Ever so often we come across retailers lamenting at the lack of relevant opportunities to engage their loyal customers or target market. Advertising and content generation alone will not necessarily engage consumers, there is no guarantee of revenue generation and there is certainly no guarantee that those contents are going to be shared on social media. The rise of e- commerce and social media technology has somewhat left traditional off-line retailers and marketers in the cold as to how to tap into the huge data generated from both shopping habits and on-line social media profiles.

Many smart offline retailers like Waitrose and Selfridges are already piloting and reaping the rewards of an ibeacon powered consumer engagement. As of December 2014, the McDonalds franchise in the United states saw a massive increase in sales as a result of the ibeacon powered push notification, and there are plans to have them rolled out across America in 2015. In-store connectivity through reward apps like the Reyou app launching in January has been proven to boost engagements and social media communication with a brand. According to a recent survey publication by Arqiva research, it was concluded that 35% of consumers spend time researching reviews on a particular brand or product before purchase and a significant amount of this research is carried out on social media platforms often linked to apps.  One of the crucial benefits of the ibeacon for the traditional grocery store or high street retailer or food chain is its location specific edge. Every customer that has an iOS and android phone is bound to receive such notifications of offers and rewards so long as they have the app and are in close proximity to your store.

The Reyou app solves this problem tremendously well because a lot of your core demographics will never download a retailer specific app, but by having one app that caters to multiple retailers, you are sure guaranteed to have consumers pouring through the doors to redeem rewards. The Reyou app has consumer social media engagement at its core by enabling and encouraging users to check in, share their moments with friends and garner opinions for individual brands. Providing would-be customers the social proof and reassurance they require to make a purchase as well as acting as valuable advocates for the brand. There is a bright future for an ibeacon powered app, with more adoption growing through the country at a rapid scale. In addition to that, the ibeacon device equips retailers with a wealth of useful data like how long a particular customer spends in a store, their product of interest, their buying behavior on the shop- floor and if the push notification from the apps sways or influences their purchase. These data would never have been available if not for the ibeacon and with Apple looking to advance this piece of hardware, expect to see retail tracking technology get a whole lot smarter and insightful.