As situational context and personalization become increasingly important throughout 2014, real-time marketing platforms that leverage geo-location, local content and services will see increased success. Marketers must take seriously the opportunity available with beacons and Bluetooth Smart technology to gain an early edge.
Bluetooth Smart technology is low energy, meaning it consumes a small amount of battery power, making it useful for micro-location geo-fencing of devices. It also enables data exchange without requiring any physical activation such as opening an app. Why is this relevant?
· Discovery: Features like Bluetooth Smart technology enable users to easily discover relevant information such as local content and services. Add intelligence to the mix, and the future is about aggregated learning regarding behaviors and preferences that can help ensure relevant interactions. Geo-location-enabled mobile platforms can completely change an experience based on proximity. The entire outdoor or indoor experience can be a mecca for learning about the world around you such as displaying personalized location information, product information, video demonstrations and more.
· Context: Real-time contextual interactions that combine, for example, where and when customers enter a store with their past purchase behavior, are critical for mobile personalization initiatives. Pop-up coupons based on customer value and precise-location are now a reality. Analytics based on rich customer profiles enable an unparalleled depth and breadth of customer segmentation that can be used for improved customer engagement strategies based on the individual preferences and patterns of each customer.
· Engagement: It's about the interaction, not just the next best offer. With technologies like Bluetooth Smart, entire shopping lists can be delivered on-demand based on a particular grocery store and lists can be dynamically organized based on in-store location. Rich media content can be delivered, thereby significantly increasing engagement rate success. For example, marketers can leverage cardless loyalty plans and gamification through social interactions where winners receive bonus discounts after finding products. Social media gaming or sharable offers are another engagement strategy for rewarding customers based on sharing in-store.
Yankee Group data shows mobility growing at a staggering pace: There are already over 195 million smartphones in use in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow to 250 million by 2017. With the exponential adoption of mobile devices, delivering optimized mobile experiences using technologies like beacons and Bluetooth Smart is the ultimate game-changer.
The upshot: Companies must invest in mobile platforms that ensure location-based information is a pillar foundation. Qualcomm Retail Solutions, Mobiquity and SAP have successfully developed real-world case studies of micro-location mobile experiences. Communicating with users as they enter a geofence has been shown to be twice as effective as engaging with users who are merely "nearby." Smaller, 100-meter-radius geo-fences have been shown to be three times more effective than larger, 1000-meter radius geo-fences when used to trigger a communications. Some companies have also measured positive engagement percentage rates in the high 70s.
Sheryl is the director of Yankee Group's Research group specializing in customer experience strategies. Her research helps business improve customer loyalty and acquisition. She provides strategic insight on how to define, improve and measure customer experience. Specifically, she is an advocate for cross-channel communications, with an emphasis on mobile experiences. Kingstone is a well-known industry analyst in the CRM market, with more than 25 years in the high-technology market. She has extensive speaking experience at conferences and seminars, is quoted in many business and industry journals and provides notable consulting experience with Fortune 1000 companies.