As the year ends, it’s time to take a look back to see what hit a nerve in the market over the last year.
Reviewing the 10 most read MobileShopTalk columns of the year, beacons were top of mind for many, with 6 of the top 10 stories related to beacons.
Beacon topics ranged from activities of large retailers (37% of Large Retailers to Deploy Beacons This Year) to partnerships (RetailMeNot, Swirl Partner for Big Beaconing at Retail).
In the world of retail, beacons were a big deal, as merchants looked for ways to leverage more precise location for the targeting of messaging to customers, as well as to gather new customer insights.
Overall, the most read story of the year dealt with grocery shopping (Mobile Moves in on Grocery Shopping), which discussed how more consumers are using their phones in the course of their grocery shopping trips.
Research from the NinthDecimal Mobile Audience Insight Report showed that more than half (59%) of mobile consumers used their device for their shopping lists and 68% use their phones to discover products in numerous ways.
The third most read story of the year was based on where the hottest tech trend, The Internet of Things (Mobile Commerce Meets The Internet of Things), intersects with mobile commerce. The IoT will generate $8 trillion in value over the next decade, based on a study cited in that column.
Beside sensors such as beacons and messaging via advertising, retailers can expect greater efficiencies in the entire shopping experience, according to the report cited.
Shopper behavior also was of high interest. In one of the top 10 (88% of Retailers Look to Mobile to Driver Shoppers to Stores), we examined how more than three quarters (78%) of retailers see mobile sales as being faster than their traditional point of sales systems.
In another top-read posting related to shopping behavior (54% of Location-Targeted Mobile Ads Off By More Than Half a Mile), research from ThinkNear found that 1 in 10 ads are not accurate within 60 miles of a phone’s location and 18% are only accurate from between 6 to 60 miles.
This was yet another example of the interest in the power and value that mobile brings to all aspects of location.
That’s essentially much of the appeal of beacons, which improve location targeting considerably.
Even in a store, beacons can be used to reach shoppers without the consumer having to take their phone out of their pocket or purse, as I wrote about in another top 10 column (In-Pocket, Phone Beaconing: Tapping into the Store Shopper).
In that case, SapientNitro created a Gimbal beacon-enabled platform that recognizes a mobile app coming into a store and uses it to identify the loyalty profile of the shopper. That information is then leveraged to change the video on an in-store screen as the shopper approaches.
Beacons also can impact actual retail sales, to the tune of $4 billion worth of store sales for the top 100 retailers this year, according to a report we wrote about in another highly read piece (Beacon-Influenced Sales: $4 Billion This year, $44 Billion Next).
And for the next year, beacon triggered messaging is projected to influence about $44 billion in retail sales, according to that estimate from BI Intelligence.
One of the drivers of beacon activity has been the installation of the little radio-transmitting devices where masses of people congregate (Beacons & Mobile Payments for the Masses).
Beacons are getting ready for prime time.
Mobile clearly is still top of mind for anything shopping related.
In one of the most read stories of the year (85% Use Smartphones in Stores, 55% Changed How They Shop), the DigitasLBi Connected Commerce study found that most (85%) consumers globally have used their smartphone in-store, an increase from 72% the year before.
It’s always fun to take a look back to review what happened in the world of mobile shopping. It will be even more interesting to see how the mobile future continues to evolve.