This being Halloween, it brings to mind one scary thought: anyone who deals with mobile customers not, at the very least, experimenting with beacons. Though I'm not in any way questioning the coming impact of beacons on all aspects of shopping, travel and anything involving mobile location targeting, there are numerous questions on the table.
Beacons already are in use in a multitude of venues, including retail stores, malls, hotels, airports and sports arenas, all of which I've chronicled here over the last several months. But the different uses of beaconing are starting to get interesting as companies large and small find unique ways to tap into them.
While there are lots of holiday shopping forecasts coming out these days, the messages around mobile commerce all are about the same: most consumers will be going to stores to shop. Of course, this hardly means mobile will not play a prominent role in the shopping process and purchase decisions. It's just that people still want to experience the store to see and touch the products before buying.
While Apple Pay gets a lot of the mobile payments headlines these days, the activity of using a phone to pay online marches on across the globe. Worldwide payments over mobile devices now account for almost a quarter (23%) of total online payments, up from just one in five a year ago, based on a new study. Europe takes the top spot and Asia had the largest growth, according to the mobile payment index by Adyen, which comprises data from Web-based transactions from more than 3,500 businesses.
So many beacons, so little time. It seems that almost every day a new beacon-related announcement or introduction comes across my desk. At the moment, the mobile beacon world is explosive. And it is a truly global phenomenon.
Holiday shoppers will be looking for deals. As the pre-holiday shopping surveys roll in, issues around product pricing and deals continue to lead the list of consumer desires. Before even going to the store, one in three shoppers plan to tap into their phone to check prices, based on a new survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Google Consumer Surveys for Thinknear.
Beacons are coming to a mom and pop shop near you. But unlike most other beacon implementations, these beacons will not be used to trigger any kind of advertising or other messaging to consumers. The beacons will be used to automatically check-in customers when they enter a store and let the merchant greet the customer by name at checkout.
As holiday shopping nears, many, but not all, consumers will be turning to their smartphone to assist in that endeavor. Pretty much the same as last year, half of shoppers will use mobile devices in one way or another for shopping and the other half won't, based on a new study. Slightly fewer consumers (49%) will use mobile to holiday shop this year compared to just over half (51%) last year, according to the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker study.
Beaconing is not only for retail. Because beacons can trigger mobile interactions based on proximity to the device, organizations of all types are creating and testing all kinds of potential uses. While retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Hudson's Bay load up on beacons, the small, one-way transmitting devices are finding homes in many other locations
Shoppers are about to start receiving highly targeted ads directly from brands while in stores, near where specific products are sold. This programmatic ad buying is coming to retailers, courtesy of beacons. Swirl Networks, the ad network company whose beacon platform is used by Timberland, Lord & Taylor and Kenneth Cole, among others, just introduced the Swirl Ad Exchange (SWx) for proximity-based, in-store mobile marketing.