Another indicator of the magnitude and coming impact of beacons is that the big guns are starting to jump in. Music recognition app Shazam recently partnered with beacon-maker Gimbal to add beacon functionality to the app, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times.
An organization is not likely to find out how their particular customers will react to beacon-triggered messages until they try them. Numerous research studies have shown that a number of consumers are willing and even desire to receive messages based on location, as long as enough value is provided. Beacons can technically make the delivery of messages more targeted based on location but they don't inherently make the message any better.
Beacons are so small yet such a big deal. That was one of the astute observations that struck me at the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference held in Chicago yesterday. "This is a really complex subject for something that seems so simple: a signal," said Ian Beacraft, manager of new and emerging technologies at Leo Burnett, who led the panel "Beyond the Trigger: New Models for In-Store Creative Advertising."
While beacons are popping up in many different industries and locations, the most significant impact this year likely will be in retail. While still a small percentage of the overall numbers, $4.1 billion worth of in-store sales for the top 100 retailers will be influenced by beacon-triggered messages this year, based on a new report.
Channels of commerce aren't always totally in synch. A while back, I booked an American Airlines flight from Boston to Chicago for the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference being held tomorrow. As anyone hearing or seeing any news recently is aware, the Boston area has been getting a bit (read: hammered) of snow recently. I had booked a Monday flight to arrive the day before the event.
There are mobile payments and then there are the activities of buying things using a mobile phone. While much is written and said about mobile payments, especially since the launch of Apple Pay and the preeminent rumored introduction of Samsung's mobile payments system next month, the actual purchasing of things by phones is often overshadowed. Mobile payments can make checkout at places such as stores and restaurants a bit more efficient and relatively low risk, especially since substantial amounts of money are typically not changing hands.
The uses of beacons are expanding considerably from their early days not that long ago when many viewed them as a location device that could trigger an ad to a phone based on location. Just within the last year, there have been numerous iterations of beaconing, all of which I've written about here. Beacons have been used for CPG companies, such as in the launch of a new product by Tyson's Hillshire Brands, using the InMarket beaconing system with results tabulated and analyzed by BPN, part of the IPG Mediabrands global network.
For mobile commerce technologies to really hit the masses, they need to be deployed where the masses are. For example, beacons in a store, or even 100 stores, have little chance of touching most mobile consumers. In reality, they will touch only a percentage of the people who frequent a particular store, have a certain app and agree to location-based, beacon-triggered messaging.
While the masses of consumers may not yet see mobile payments as any great advantage, many retailers are on the other side. More than three quarters (78%) of retailers see mobile sales as being faster than their traditional point of sales systems, based on a recent study. On yet another side, about half (51%) of these same retailers do not see mobile sales as being more secure than traditional payment methods, according to the research.
During some shopping over the weekend, I again tried out some more Apple Pay opportunities. Or more accurately, I checked around to see if there were any mobile payment opportunities and if so, how many.