Apple had initially initiated the iBeacon technology at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), precisely in June 2013 and since its introduction, it has become a huge hit. It has created an uproar significantly in the retail industry including the malls, events and retail stores. In fact, some people are of the view that beacon will play an important role in bridging the gap between the online and the offline retail stores; thereby augmenting the sales.
Now let’s peep through some stats and data associated with iBeacon, which will reveal the truth behind its popularity. According to research, it is estimated that about 2.5 billion retails will make investments through beacons within the next five years. Similarly, according to a report published in Forbes, beacons drove in 44 billion retail sales in 2016. The Beaconstac states that about 71% of the retailers can comprehend the market demand and consumer needs using beacon.
After going through the stats and data, it’s time now to look into the definition of iBeacon. It is a small portable software protocol electronic equipment that functions with the assistance of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. Since it is a portable device you can use it anywhere to target the audiences. It transfers and handles the data establishing a connection as the customers enter the radius. The BLE sends the message to various iPhone devices such as iPhone 7 or iPad and also receives message and signals from there.
Benefits of iBeacons in Retail and Shopping Industry
Now that you are aware of what an iBeacon is, the next point of focus is how iBeacon is revolutionizing the retail industry.
Effective Tool to Make a Stronger Customer Base
iBeacon is one of the optimal software that helps you as a retailer to create a more robust and stronger customer base. As soon as your customer is nearing your store or about to visit it, it send them a notification welcoming to the store. They receive the notification upon entering the store and this way you can greet your audience in an exclusive way. The process of notification is setup in the backend and then the Beacon functions accordingly.
In fact, this is proving to be a very useful advertising tool, which can send the messages straightforwardly to the customers helping to boost the sales. The Business Insider has estimated that about 85% of the retailers in US are already using Beacons in the year 2016.
Helps to Exhibit your Product Effectively
Now you can offer your customer a more unique experience when it comes to showcasing your products and services. You can exhibit it through videos where you can show them a demonstration. You don’t have to adopt the conventional methods such as displaying on the shelves. The iBeacon equipment will show the customers the required video and thus they will get more information on the product.
iBeacon is Relatively Easier and Budget-Friendlier
This device is cost effective and not at all costly. If you want to purchase three to four iBeacon devices, then you will only to pay around $100. It is connected to a Content Management System and an app. What’s more interesting is the fact that setting up this equipment is quite simple and it has a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier).
After installing the transmitter, you need to set up a tag and create actions. So, there numbers are incredibly increasing because of their affordability and they are almost ready-to –use device. You can use it if you want your product to be successful.
Read also: Improve Your Business ROI with iBeacon Apps
Interior Mapping Facility for Large Stores
There are many large retail stores such as the big supermarkets where plethora of items are available under one roof. However, often customers do find it difficult to come across a specific product. The iBeacon device will make it easier for the consumers to find specific location of the store and also search the product which they are looking for.
Gives More Attention on the Personalization Factor
It has been predominantly observed that beacon pays more attention on the personalization factor, which is an important tool to boost your brand. This includes aspects such as sending discount coupons to product recommendations.
It is like recommending the customers to buy a product based on their previous purchases. The beacon can also act as a salesman for the consumer and help him to find an appropriate item for him. But make sure that the messages you send through beacons do not annoy the customer for if it appears as a spam.
Helps in the Process of Mobile Retargeting
It has been told earlier that beacons are one of the most useful devices that is bridging the gap between the digital world and the retail industry. Beacons function based on mobile apps and so they are great way to engage and retain more customers. It helps the retailers to get more audiences from outside the store. But how does it take place? This can be explained via an illustration.
Suppose, if a customer visits a store and he does not buy anything. The beacon will give all the details about the customer and also tell as what he was searching for. Now if the store offers him some discount on the same item that he was willing to buy, then he can retarget the customer.
The future of iBeacons in Retail Industry
So, after getting some knowledge on how iBeacon is helping the retail and shopping industry to flourish, we also need to talk about its future prospects specifically related to shopping.
The use of Bluetooth Low Energy
This is a new and advanced technology utilized by the iBeacon for the communication procedure. It is a two-way communication based on triangular pattern and used for a specified distance. The closer the device gets to the transmitter, the better signal gets and detect the location of the customer.
Sure to be used for Big Data
The business owners and retail entrepreneurs are able to find out the appropriate location of the customer in their store and also know what they are looking for. Not only that what was the exact search timing etc. And then based on that they can send notifications to the people.
Apple integrating iBeacon to the Retail Stores
Soon after the launch, Apple has been busy in integrating the iBeacon device into the retail stores. As of now it has already integrated 254 Apple retail stores for different services like online orders, store events etc.
Integration of iBeacon in LED lights
LED lights are known for their cost effectiveness and so they are now getting integrated with the iBeacon because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy. This allows the retailers to save some bucks.
Popular Amidst Retailers
One can say with certainty, that the future of iBeacon is bright in retail is illuminating. This is because more and more retailers are getting attracted to it after knowing its benefits using to maximize gains. The stats have been indicated earlier.
Also Available for Android Users
Although iBeacon is an Apple product, but the android users can also take its advantage and use it. But the version has to be 4.3 or higher. They need to download a special SDK file for the purpose.
Offers a Unique Shopping Experience
The iBeacon has not only proved to be a boon for the shop owners but also streamlined the experiences of the shoppers. It shows the customers real videos and also informs them about the discount offers; plus the specific location of store and the item inside the store.
Helpful for other Industries
iBeacon is one device that can also assist the other industries including the retail stores. This can involve sports, games, and other events like festivals.
The Future of iBeacon is Bright in retail-Competitions
Apple’s iBeacon is facing some competitions from some other beacons but it has established its firm platform. Some of its competitors include Estimote and Radius Network but they are not as successful.
The Privacy Concerns
There are some privacy concerns related to the device though Apple said it was only a location tool. Of course, there are people who don’t like to share their information. The app on the phone sync with the device and retailers get your info.
The Beacon Technology is significantly changing the course of the retail industry and shaping up the future of the way people shop. As retailers are facing stiff competition from the online business platforms, the Beacon technology can be a great support to wave the target audiences.
Mindinventory has already began exploring the iBeacon App development that is based on beacon technology. If you want more information on the same or willing to get your app developed, then please do get in touch with our experienced app developers.