How iBeacons are Revolutionizing Mobile App Development and Retail
How can your mobile app benefit?
iBeacons have only been around since the release of iOS 7, but already they’re revolutionizing the way people shop, bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping and helping solidify mobile’s place in the retail space.
How do they work?
Small, inexpensive Bluetooth transmitters, Apple calls iBeacons, “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence.”
The beacons themselves are installed physically in retail locations. Multiple beacons are used to measure distance and triangulate the user’s location, sending this info to the relevant mobile app.
These powerful little devices can have your mobile app notify a shopper that an item they are looking at is on sale, direct them to complementary products or lead them to the precise location of an item they may have been researching on the app.
Further, iBeacons can trigger product information, giving the shopper details about the product and moving them further down the funnel. Think how much easier it would be to navigate Home Depot or IKEA if you could be brought directly to the items you want without desperately searching for the elusive yellow throw rug.
While there are Android-compatible beacons (in fact, any device capable of Bluetooth Low Energy can be turned into an iBeacon), only iOS devices will continuously scan for BLE and wake up relevant apps when they come within range of a beacon. On Android, the relevant app has to be running (at least in the background) in order to trigger the alerts.
Why they’re important for you
The contextual information provided by iBeacons allows the retailer to tailor offers or promote specific products based on the shopper’s physical location in the store. iBeacons are default opt-in, meaning that as soon as the customer has installed your app, they start sending out location signals.
Personalized messages, exclusive deals/coupons and other targeted offers can be transmitted directly to the shop via your mobile app – instantly.
It’s a natural fit to give increasingly educated shoppers a tool that directs them right to what they want as soon as they walk in the door but iBeacons can also help you upsell and cross-sell products. This can free up sales associates, increase sales volume and decrease the cost of sales. Plus, if used correctly iBeacons can provide you with valuable data on user behavior, allowing you to target your users that much better as time goes on.
How to do it right
In order to be useful and relevant to your shopper, be sure that your messaging is timely, informative and valuable. Surfacing exclusive offers and limited-time promotions is a great way to keep users coming back, increase user engagement, raise the chances that your app will stay on your user’s phone and ultimately drive sales.