In an article in last week's Huffington Post, Forrester Research's Julie Ask noted that while only 4% of mobile executives are currently using beacons, an astounding 30% are planning to use them in 2015.
"Retailers, hotels, banks, hospitals, and your local bagel shop all want to put beacons into their physical locations so that they know who is in their store, airport, branch, clinic or restaurant so they can personalize the experience," says Ask.
Consumer Demand for Personalization
Customer demand is driving much of the beacon popularity, with 23% of consumers expecting a mobile experience to change based on location.
"Consumers expect brands to use context to deliver both relevant and simplified experiences on mobile phones in their mobile moments," says Ask. "Personalized is a subset of relevant, but relevant can be very different ... and less creepy."
Ask does warn, however, that brands must tread carefully when setting the reporting strategy for their beacon programs. Beacons allow retailers to glean the most detailed customer insight than any technology to date, but brands must be upfront about the information they are collecting, how they are collecting it, and most importantly, allow the user to opt in and out of participating.
Ask recommends developing what she calls a "local mobile" strategy to change the experience on a mobile device based on location, rather than a beacon strategy or any other hardware-focused strategy. She outlines seven important factors driving a successful location-based marketing program:
- Give consumers choice and control over sharing location.
- Develop a "local mobile" strategy.
- Convey the value exchange.
- Focus on "what services" you want to offer to customers in store based on observed location - and not personalization.
- Add personalization once you have developed trust with the consumer.
- Instrument your apps and mobile services with analytics.