No doubt, iBeacon is creating a marketing revolution.
With this technology, you can understand exactly where customers are in your store. This gives you the opportunity to send them relevant, contextual advertisements, offers and alerts in real time. Just imagine communicating with customers as they pass through your front door — from a simple welcome message to a quick reminder that they’re out of bread. Pretty cool, right?
As more retailers are adding iBeacon to their stores, it’s enticing to leave your traditional marketing tactics behind. But it’s crucial to see iBeacon as a supplementary marketing method — not the end-all-be-all solution.
Five Potential Hurdles For iBeacon
While iBeacon has the potential to actively engage consumers in a way that traditional marketing can’t, it still requires a number of factors to match up before it can be fully effective.
Here are five hurdles that iBeacon faces and how to overcome them:
1. The user’s Bluetooth is turned off.
Typically, users are instructed to turn off Bluetooth to preserve battery life. But iBeacon uses Bluetooth low energy, which means this practice is no longer necessary. However, breaking this resilient habit is easier said than done.
Your store should have visible instructional signs outlining the useful benefits of iBeacon. Include a reminder for customers to turn on their Bluetooth settings and accept notifications from the app. The need for this will likely diminish as BLE becomes commonplace, but for now, customers need reminders.
2. The user doesn’t pay attention.
iBeacon notifications only work if the customer is looking for them. Ideally, the phone is in-hand while the customer is shopping, but at the very least, he needs to be tuned in to discover valuable notifications.
Your app should clearly explain the importance of having push notifications turned on. Have a splash screen telling users why they should click “OK” when prompted to allow push notifications.
There should also be a compelling reason to use your app. For instance, it could include a grocery-list feature or a search function that allows customers to find the product they’re looking for in-store. When your customers are already using their phones, it’s that much easier to interact with them.
3. The user hasn’t downloaded your app.
In addition to making sure Bluetooth is turned on, if a customer isn’t interacting with your app or doesn’t have it installed at all, then iBeacon is rendered useless.
Start interactive ad campaigns that prompt users to download your app. Include QR codes that link to the App Store or special discounts for first-time users — something to entice reluctant users to add your app to their iPhone arsenal.
4. The signal-to-noise ratio is off.
This isn’t a problem yet, but as more retailers implement iBeacon, it has the potential to be. If too many notifications from various retailers bombard your users at once, they’ll likely become overwhelmed or annoyed and turn everything off.
Make sure your notifications are relevant and useful to your customers. Including too many notifications or irrelevant ads will only provoke them to delete your app.
5. Your users don’t have iPhones.
This is the biggest thing to remember when it comes to implementing an iBeacon strategy in your store: It currently only works with Apple software.
IBeacon has the potential to revolutionize how we market to consumers — but only in specific ways. It certainly won’t replace traditional advertising, and it isn’t the final solution for everyone. Use it to complement what’s already in place to make your customer experience exceptional, and you’ll see the positive results.