Retailers ranging from McDonalds to Apple to Walmart are exploring new technologies to transform the in-store consumer experience. The breakout mobile winners in 2015 will utilize two app innovations collectively know as Retail 3.0 features. Retail 3.0 will rely on mobile payments (like Apple Pay) and beacon technology (like Estimote).
Boosting Sales with Mobile Beacons
By using mobile beacons over a four-week trial in December of 2014, McDonalds saw sales of McChicken sandwiches jump 8 percent over the prior month, and sale of McNuggets saw a 7.5 percent boost. These higher sales were due to mobile beacons that give retailers the power to send push notifications about promotions and coupons to the smartphones of nearby customers.
The positive impact that beacons will have, however, is far bigger than the retail scenario. Apple has laid the groundwork for every iOS device sold since the iPhone 4S to be able to detect beacons over bluetooth. The question is: how can beacons and mobile payments be used outside of retail?
Here are a couple quick examples.
Creative Business Ideas for Apple Pay and Mobile Beacons
Media properties that print newspapers could use beacons on street corners where their newsstands are located, or in coffee shops and lobbies to provide news access to a large audience. For instance, a coffee shop could subscribe in order to provide its patrons with reading content and videos while they enjoy their morning coffee.
Airlines could use beacons to welcome travelers and allow for mobile payment. Instant offers would also allow travel providers to increase revenue. A cancellation of a first class ticket could immediately trigger a last-minute offer to travelers who are currently boarding, based on their frequent flyer miles.
Gas stations could use Apple Pay to eliminate “pay at the pump” entirely. Beacons could also alert customers of specials to bring them into the store.
In real estate, beacons could be placed at properties for sale to instantly remind agents about prospective buyers' preferences, allowing real estate companies to showcase the property features that would interest buyers. As the buyer moves throughout the property, he or she could receive messages pointing out unique information.
Beacon and mobile payment technology will enhance the customer journey allowing mobile apps to be contextually aware of their surroundings. We will see marketers bringing beacons and mobile payments into their brick and mortar environments in 2015 and beyond.
However, multiple industries need to start experimenting with proximity marketing, and getting creative with engagement campaigns to enhance their customer relationships.