You Won’t Believe What You Can Pull Off with Beacons - WebINTENSIVE Software
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Aug 31, 2015 You Won’t Believe What You Can Pull Off with Beacons

Listening to retailer CIOs’ hopes and heartbreaks in trying to leverage location-based mobile apps is revealing. Upcoming posts will explore an assortment of pitfalls and solutions.

This post focuses on a particularly widespread misstep. (By the way, for now, we’ll just use the sexy term “beacon” to stand in for a range of disparate location technologies such as GPS, iBeacon, Wi-Fi, and NFC.)

In the rush to implement beacons, many firms overlook the importance of integrating location data with data from other sources.

Integrating beacon data with data from disparate sources—your CRM, POS, and mobile apps, to name a few—lets you achieve any number of interesting customer touchpoints. Think, for example, of the benefits of being able to:

  • Use beacons in conjunction with your app to determine where visitors are going in a physical space, and adjust staffing accordingly. Say you are hosting an event and offer some incentive for users to have your app open when they visit. Now say the stand promoting your new tuna fish flavored ice cream has a beacon emitting data mounted on it. Thanks to the analytics in your app, you know that there are 17 people with a ‘near’ proximity rating by that beacon, but only two people with the app are near the Lorde CD display on the other side of your store. You have a server set up that is looking at those data, and it triggers an alert to the manager, maybe through a specialized “manager app”—or perhaps it sends a text message—that says “Hey, the tuna fish ice cream stand needs more staff than the Lorde CD display.
  • Use your app to push a message to an on-site user—“visit table Y for a chance to win Z”— and use the app to gauge the proximity of the user to the beacon at that table to see if he actually did get closer. Then solicit customer feedback that gets ingested into your CRM. And use POS data to keep tabs on actual purchases inspired by this promotion.
  • Create immediate, on-the-fly promotions and coupons through your CRM to entice lingerers on the threshold of buying—or offer deals to visitors to invite them deeper into a space.

Plays such as these require consummately crafted front ends. But that’s just the start. They also demand a sophisticated approach to architecture, as well as close attention to security and data integrity concerns and hefty back-end programming and testing.