5 examples how beacons change the customer relation
Beacons are a hot marketing topic. The small, wireless devices that connect with your phone via Bluetooth are a fantastic tool to translate the online world of personalization to the offline world. The only danger with beacons is the risk of becoming a non-visual form of spam. I truly hope beacons will create a non-visual form of relevance for consumers and for society in general. Below are five examples of how companies are using beacons to boost their relevance for their audience. The fifth one is my favorite.
The McDonald’s restaurant in 2020
By 2020 McDonald’s wants to create connected restaurants. We will start to see more self-service kiosks in the restaurants. In addition, consumers will be able to order their food via an app and it will be possible to order in advance. When you walk in, the restaurant’s beacons will recognize you. Your pre-ordered meal will be delivered to your table just a few minutes after you’ve found your seat.
Also, the fast food chain is developing so-called ‘happy tables’ to help customers kill the time. Your children will be able to play games while waiting for their order.
Beacons are hot in the airline and airport business. More and more airports and airlines are looking for ways to help passengers in a more personalized way. This is, of course, a good thing. Airport communication (the speaker system) must be the most ineffective communication channel in the world. 99% of the messages are irrelevant to the consumer and this is where the beacons come in. KLM has developed an app that allows consumers to find their gate in the blink of an eye. They can monitor the path to their gate on their phone. Your smartphone will also warn you of any gate changes. The idea is still in the pilot stage right now and will be rolled out later on.
Starwood hotel uses beacons as hotel keys
Starwood hotels are trying out beacons for their SPG clients (most loyal clients). The SPG app allows guests to check in remotely. Also, they will be able to use their phone as their hotel key. Starwood hotels was one of the first examples to be displayed on the new Apple watch.
Nivea helps parents keep track of their children
This is creative but to be honest I’m still on the fence about this one. Nivea developed a branded utility campaign enabling parents to monitor their children via a waterproof bracelet. Parents can define an area in which their children can play. An alarm signal warns the parents if the children stray outside the predefined area.
London’s subway helps the blind to navigate
This one is not about customer relations. Even better: it’s about changing the world.
Recently Wired published an article on how beacons can help blind people find their way in the subway station. Subway stations are so difficult to navigate for blind people that they need personal assistance to get to the right platform. While it’s great that other passengers are willing to help, the blind also like to be independent. That’s why Wayfindr was created, a system of Bluetooth-equipped beacons that guide the visually impaired through the Underground using audio directions. The system is currently still in the pilot stage but in time, all subway stations in the British capital will be equipped with this beacon technology.