Beacons are not the next big thing for 2015
It is about the time of the year when people gaze into their crystal balls and predict what is going to be big in digital in 2015. From what I am reading it will not be hard to predict that a lot of the commentary that is coming our way over the coming weeks will mention beacons in some way or another. But beacons are not going to be the next big thing in 2015.
It is not that I do not believe that beacon technology will play an important role in many digital solutions in the future, it is just that this technology is more mainstream now than the next big things
So anyone making the prediction that beacons will be big in 2015 must have spent the last 12 months on a remote island in the Pacific.
Beacons shot to fame in late 2013 when Apple rolled out iBeacon throughout their retail store across the US. Since then a common thread amongst our feeds throughout 2014 have included news of many pilots running beacon technology across the world from retailers to financial institutions.
So how have some of these many pilots gone?
In a recent four week pilot conducted by McDonald’s across franchise locations in Columbus, GA they achieved over 18,000 offer redemptions and it is believed that this drove increases in sales from the previous month.
Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay rolled out iBeacons to 10 stores across the US and Canada to engage shoppers with content and offers with results exceeding expectations. They are now promoting they will expand this pilot to 50 stores in the United States and 90 in Canada.
Virgin Atlantic began an iBeacon trial in the Upper Class Wing at London’s Heathrow Airport in May 2014 that allowed their premium passengers to receive personalised notifications and offers via their iPhones. They are now looking to expand the use of this technology in 2015.
It not just the consumer who benefits from this one to one interaction, the retailer through the use of beacon technology can collect a large amount of new data about their consumers that can be used not only for targeted communications but can be used to influence store design and what products are stocked and promoted.
So the next big think will not be beacon technology, but will be educating the consumer on the benefits available to them if they engage with solutions that leverage this technology. At least for the millennial generation this will not be a problem.