All posts in “iBeacon”

Three-out-of-Four-Beacon-Programs-Will-Fail

Three out of Four Beacon Programs Will Fail: Here’s Why

Businesses of all kinds — from worldwide department stores to neighborhood shopping districts, international airports to baseball fields — are adopting beacons at a pretty incredible pace. From all-door rollouts to smaller test pilots, companies are very bullish on beacons. As they should be. The devices offer a way to connect with consumers unlike ever before in-store, when it’s relevant to their immediate location. To personally welcome individuals as they arrive. To disseminate important or motivating content. To gather unique insights into on-premise customer behavior. And the beacons themselves are available at such a low cost that adding multiple devices to hundreds of stores is not out of the question.

But, as with most shiny objects, beacons will be abused. In fact, I predict that three out of every four beacon programs will fail in 2015. Companies will get caught up in the hype, glitz and possibilities. Beacons will be treated as a hammer looking for a nail; marketers will try to fit beacons everywhere they can. The principles that should guide any marketing effort of this sort will be forgotten.

Here are the six biggest ways that beacons will be misused:

1. Not accounting for who a person is, beyond where they are standing. Most brands will not personalize any message beyond where a person is standing. For instance, if Nathan has paused in front of women’s perfume, he would get the offer enabled by the display’s beacon — completely missing out on the fact that he has no interest in purchasing a new fragrance. Contextualization (what is going on around someone and their intent) and personalization will be ignored in many first-generation beacon programs. Nathan should only get alerts for products he would be interested in buying today and in the departments he is likely to be shopping. Unless, that is, it’s the week of Valentine’s Day and he is shopping for his wife.

2. Creating yet another silo of customer data. Marketers are inundated with customer data from many divergent sources — email, transactional, CRM, social, mobile, etc. By implementing point solutions for beacons, marketers will create yet another silo of customer data. As personalization across the entire customer journey becomes critical to the consumer experience, brands must set up a system that breaks silos of customer data.

3. Not setting limits on frequency. As an increasing number of companies implement beacons, and larger stores place several around a store, limiting the number of messages a person receives will be key. Imagine walking through the mall or down 5th Avenue and getting pinged every five steps (no thanks). There will be a (short) time when people will be over-targeted. It’ll be brief because people will turn Bluetooth off immediately. Brands will need to set proper rules of engagement — for instance, only triggering an interaction if someone has been in front of a display for over a certain amount of time — and not just passing through. Multiple brands that are using the same core app, say multiple stores within a single mall, should implement a bidding system to target high spenders, while setting strict messaging limits.

4. Getting stuck in the perpetual offer cycle. Offers are not the only things that motivate consumers. And if beacons go the way of other marketing channels (i.e. email), I’m afraid they will fall flat. We all have Groupon-fatigue, no longer motivated by simply getting a “steal.” Unlike doing a mass deletion of the Google Promotions folder, consumers will simply opt-out if they are getting hit with 5%-off deals at every turn. Depending on the nature of the product and the customer herself, she might be motivated by the following: a celebrity endorsement, a scientific study, a most popular or trending status, an “as seen on TV” offer, peer reviews and rankings, media articles, etc. Tap into whatever earned media and resources you have to help people in their buying decisions in the moment as these may just be more motivating than a small discount.

5. Privacy concerns and a lack of transparency. As we recently saw with the secret placement of beacons on Manhattan’s payphones, many brands will not clearly communicate to their customers how they are using data they are collecting (which should only be for providing a better user experience). Being transparent is core to any digital marketing program, and beacons are no different. As a society, we have a growing paranoia of being tracked, and with a beacon pinging me based on where I am, this fear will certainly heighten unless consumers are properly educated, which leads me to my final point.

6. Lack of education. People have proven that they are willing to open their personal data floodgates in exchange for more personalized experiences or offers. While Bluetooth is automatically turned on in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, users of earlier version holders will have to manually turn on Bluetooth for beacons to interact with their devices. Marketers need to clearly explain what benefits consumers will get for opt-ing in to push alerts and turning/keeping on Bluetooth.

Beacons are an amazing technology and have the potential to eliminate friction in the customer journey and change the on-premise experience more than anything since the smartphone. However, there is a bit of a Gold Rush going on — with brands of all sizes eager to try beacons out. I applaud the innovation, but warn brands to not get ahead of themselves and ensure a cross-channel strategy is in place to provide an experience customers will not only appreciate, but seek out and talk about.

The-Holiday_by-Paul-Keleher

The Holiday Mobile-Marketing Strategy That Retailers Really Need

The amount of ads, offers and promotions that people experience throughout the holiday season is reminiscent of what a person would experience standing right in the middle of Times Square for more than 10 weeks. For consumers, it’s noisy and distracting and so people are tempted to tune it out. For retailers, it’s expensive and necessary.

This holiday season can be different. By leveraging mobile devices, personalization tools and contextual signals, retailers can better interact with consumers on an individual level, reaching out when relevant, providing a better experience and ultimately reaping a higher return on marketing efforts.

The six strategies below should be a part of every retailer’s holiday marketing program this year:

1. Provide omnichannel, consistent and cohesive experiences.

Creating a single view of customers across every touch point is a must. Consumers expect to receive a consistent experience whether they’re in a store, online, reading email, engaging with social media or using a mobile device.

Customers should not have to feel like they are Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates, having to remind the company about who they are, their prior relationship with a company (loyal) and their history. If a customer saves something to a wish list online, the retailer should remind the person of that if he walks into a store and perhaps provide a tailored offer.

Too often today, valuable data is lost because all sources of customer information are not integrated. All data streams (from transactions, customer relationship software and email) need to rely on a single profile, which will let retailers provide motivating experiences, content and offers.

2. Predict intent.

The holiday season represents a hurdle for marketers trying to personalize offers at a time when people are shopping for a wider, more diverse group of customers.

Retailers should look at historical data to anticipate what customers might be seeking based on last year’s purchases and what they’re likely to purchase again. For instance, if Cali bought a baby boy’s jacket last year, she should receive an offer for toddler boy clothing.

Anticipating consumers’ intent when they open a retailer’s app, come into a store or land on its website can significantly improve the rate of converting visitors into buying customers.

For example, when Taylor walks in the store, don’t send him a “10 percent off” offer for men’s clothes but instead offer greeting like this: “Welcome, Taylor. You may take 10 percent off a purchase of scarves, bags and jackets. These items are perfect for any woman on your list.” The store would be acting on a prediction that he’s likely looking for something for his wife, while providing some gift ideas.

3. Marry location with profile data to automate personalized mobile interactions.

Use of geo-fencing — and better yet beacons — is great for targeting customers while they’re in close proximity to a store or even inside it. But someone won’t be motivated to act merely as a result of being in a location that’s referenced in a message.

Pushing messages to consumers based solely on where they’re standing is almost guaranteed to annoy them. Instead, bridge a person’s offline and online worlds by personalizing an interaction based on the brands of goods they’ve purchased (say, mid-tier items), offers they’ve redeemed in the past (a preference for a percentage off over a dollar discount) and what they’re likely to be seeking today — as well as their location.

4. Optimize every tap to drive conversions.

Take advantage every time a person opens an email or app or clicks on an ad. Too often in mobile paid media, no attention is paid to the landing page a person sees after tapping on an ad. Optimize the page, test different scenarios and calls to action and target the marketing as much as possible.

5. Create rich segmentation schemes.

One size certainly doesn’t work in marketing unless the product is a scarf. Move past grouping consumers by just basic demographic traits (gender, location, age) and instead segment them based on behavior, purchases, product and brand preferences, social conduct, habits and real-time context.

6. Motivate shoppers with more than just offers and deals.

While consumers certainly look for a deal, retailers need to consider other supplemental images, reviews, videos and celebrity endorsements to perhaps inspire a purchase. Using beacons to push rich media when someone is standing next to a display can be very motivating (such as showing a photo of an A-lister wearing a jacket that a woman is considering for her husband).

During the holiday season, people are bombarded with deals on everything, from monstrous TVs to dog beds. While there are some shoppers who have meticulously picked out the perfect gift for all the people on their list, many shoppers look for inspiration and ideas until Dec. 24. Marketing should go further than a mass distribution of deals. It should help consumers by personalizing and contextualizing retailer interactions, while anticipating their needs in real-time.

apple_pay

It’s (Apple) Pay Day for marketers

Ordering a Big Mac will never be the same. McDonalds, of course, is one of the early brands accepting Apple Pay, the technology that could very easily prove to be the most important product Apple has launched after the iPhone.

The way we pay for things in our everyday lives is finally catching up to our mobile-obsessed world. If you think about the four most recent innovations in the payments industry — the introduction of the credit card, the development of the debit card and ATMs, the launch of online banking, and the non-bank online payment systems such as PayPal – we’re about due.

With Apple Pay, secure, contactless payments will spread like wildfire. Because after all, if anyone can give mobile payments the boost it so desperately needs, it’s Apple.

Brands need to leverage the launch of Apple Pay to not only streamline payments, but to take a close look at the entire consumer purchasing process to simplify and modernize every step. Retail locations are becoming marketing centers, not just fulfillment centers, and require brands to adopt relationship marketing inside and outside stores.

While Apple Pay is designed to enhance the fulfillment process, it also opens many doors for brands to focus on marketing and improving the overall consumer experience. Payments are just the beginning. Here are some examples of ways to remove friction from the buying process:

Staying at a Hotel

As soon as you arrive at the hotel, you get an alert that you are checked in and should head to your room. An overlay pops up in which you select a credit card via Apple Pay as you head to the elevator. Knowing your history of attending the complimentary happy hours, the hotel sends a message about tonight’s event once you have settled in, with the opportunity to select your beverage of choice. As soon as you arrive, a staff member greets you with your drink, mentioning the special currently available at the spa (your weakness). The deal is too good to pass up, so you make an appointment on your phone, confirm the card for tomorrow’s massage and head out to your dinner plans.

Shopping

After being sent an offer for 10 percent off at a clothing store, you add a few items to an online wish list for when you stop by the store. The jacket you want is on backorder in your size. A few days later, as you find yourself near the store, you are surprised when you get a push alert that says the jacket is now in stock. Without even opening the app, you respond to the message, telling the store to get your entire wish list ready for you in a fitting room. You arrive, head straight to the fitting room (skipping in-door traffic jams and lines), make your selections, and check out seamlessly at the counter. And of course, that 10 percent off offer was deducted automatically, having been saved in your Passbook.

Picking up your groceries

What if you are reminded to pick up dog food while you were at the store, because the retailer anticipated you are about to run out, saving you a trip back out when your spouse so gracefully reminds you? Grocers will start optimizing the experience by predicting things you may forget, based on your past shopping behavior (i.e., dog food every 3 months). They can then make personalized recommendations for items based on your preferences. For example: “You might love this pesto recipe – here’s where to find the ingredients in the store!” Grocery stores will also reduce friction by mapping your route to pick up items on your list, based on real-time foot traffic flow.

Mobile is a window to everything in life — physical and digital. With Apple Pay launching, consumers will be taking out their phones right after important buying decisions. This presents an opportunity for marketers to participate before the decision point as well, using the phone to motivate the decision maker with offers, information, and recommendations.

Every customer interaction needs to be personalized. The person behind the counter does not need to know the financial details of the customer who is using Apple Pay, but in order to up-sell and cross-sell appropriately and provide excellent service, she should know what the person has bought recently, how loyal they are, what they have recently added to their wish list, and more.

The checkout may soon be frictionless with Apple Pay, but as 2015 quickly approaches, marketers need to think about how they can expand the seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey.

Beacons

Beacons: The Opportunity For Rich CRM

Beacons are all the rage, and for good reason. The small Bluetooth wireless transmitters that hide inconspicuously on doorways, shelves, checkout counters and more have the opportunity to completely revolutionize the consumer experience. Beacons bridge consumers’ digital and physical worlds like never before — and can facilitate rich, real-time, highly personalized interactions.

The biggest adopters to date have been retailers, which makes sense. They are the ones with physical locations — they own the shelves — so of course they should be the facilitators of beacon-enabled experiences, right? Not necessarily.

CPG companies can and should create their own beacon initiatives as an integral part of their larger omni-channel marketing programs. Imagine this: A health-conscious customer is standing in the vitamin aisle, looking for a daily supplement for her child. Instead of having to pull out her phone to search for reviews and information on your brand, a beacon pushes her the latest Consumer Reports recommendation. She will look for information herself — so a brand should streamline this process, providing the content that will make it easier for her to make her decision. Maybe throw in a coupon to sweeten the deal.

Contrary to popular belief, beacons don’t just work when a person has a company’s app on their phone. If a person has added an offer or saved a loyalty card to Passbook, a beacon will can also trigger an interaction.

As CPG companies start considering beacon programs in 2014 and beyond, they need to keep in mind the pillars below to ensure success.

Personalization and contextualization drive success. What will be the downfall for many companies in their beacon programs will be the lack of relevance to an individual. Every time a consumer is pinged by a beacon, a brand is encroaching in their personal space. If they are bombarded with irrelevant information, they will grow increasingly frustrated and disenchanted with your brand’s spam.

Reminding someone to buy detergent every time they’re shopping is not the way to engage with consumers. However, by integrating all customer data into a single viewpoint, such as buying history, loyalty program info, offer preferences and redemptions, etc. a brand could know that a specific consumer purchases Tide once every six weeks. A reminder message or offer would therefore only trigger when they are likely to be running low, subtly encouraging the sale when it’s relevant.

CPG companies also must tap into context signals beyond the precise location that beacons provide such as weather, traffic and environmental conditions to make every interaction more relevant. For example, an OTC allergy brand can alert a consumer to the unusually high pollen counts in the forecast for the weekend, prompting them to buy today.

Beyond offers, consumers want information. Beacons should not just be used to disseminate offers when someone if standing on the shelf. Rich media with videos, pictures, recipes, tips and other motivating content should be unlocked as consumers pass by. A pasta brand, for instance, could send the working mother a quick and easy menu for tonight’s dinner with a roadmap to where she can find the other ingredients in the store. Voila, dinner is decided.

Work in tandem with retailers. Partnering with retailers is the only way that CPG companies will run successful beacon programs in-store, as a retailer’s permission would be to be granted for a CPG brand to include the small devices on shelf and end-of-row displays or other marketing materials used.

As a consumer walks around a store, if she gets alerts from the retailer as well as various brands, it would be a pretty unpleasant experience, getting pinged every time she turns around. If a retailer has its own beacon program, CPG companies will need to ensure programs compliment each other, and multiple beacon messages are not on the same aisle, or section of the store. This may turn into a situation where brands purchase the rights to own beacons in a specific area for a time period – where the air space goes to the highest bidder.

On the other hand, many of the larger retailers are still hesitant about implementing their own programs and would likely welcome the opportunity to explore how beacons perform without taking on all of the risk. In this case, retailers would likely ask for some high-level reports on program success.

There is a great opportunity for CPG companies to engage with their consumers in highly motivating, personalized ways using beacons. CPG companies are in a sweet spot for beacon success with sweeping cohorts of loyal customers that would welcome the opportunity for rich, more engaging, contextual real-time experiences, content and offers. More than just building customer relationships, CPG brands can also leverage mobile and beacons to sign up customers for regular subscriptions delivered via a retailer of choice.

The remainder of this year and throughout the first few months of 2015, we will see CPG companies and retailers work through the growing pains and start implementing some really amazing experiences.

future-of-travel

Here’s how the future of travel looks, powered by mobile & beacons

Beacons have the potential to completely automate our lives. These tiny transmitters will seamlessly give companies information about us that help them provide better service; puppeteer real-time opportunities for us to save or enjoy; and simplify the exchange of funds. They will remove many of the arduous steps we go through to get something done today. Steps which are so engrained into our psyches that we don’t yet even realize how much they are interrupting our lives. Traveling in particular is full of millions of annoyances that beacons, sensors, and other advances in mobile tech will soon help to squash. Just imagine a 36-hour business trip: Extremely frustrated by how slow people drive when it starts to sprinkle (it’s not even raining very hard) you pull into the airport parking lot an hour after you planned to, just as the gate is about to close. You get an alert on your phone from jumpdealers the airline acknowledging that you’ve arrived (at least they know you’re there), which is followed up with details on the next available flight. You confirm the suggested rebooking and instantly get your mobile-ticket. As you start walking toward the terminal, a message from clubink.se the parking lot has mapped out your exact parking space so you can avoid the almost guaranteed aimless search when you return. You approach security and an Transportation Security Administration official glances down at her iPad and acknowledges your hard-earned status to skip the “normal” line, no questions asked. You have time to kill before your rescheduled flight and a welcome message from a sports bar inviting you in for half-priced beer. A reminder from the airline tells you that priority boarding is starting soon, waking you from a state of serious game watching you’ve fallen into. You make the universal “ready for my check” gesture at the waitress and a few seconds later, you get the bill on your phone. After confirming the discount has already been applied, you add a tip, confirm your credit card and payment, and walk out. While en route to the gate you get a message from the newsstand reminding you that you should pick-up a pair of headphones in response to your distressed tweet about leaving them at home this morning. You enter the store; get directed to the exact location on the shelf where the headphones live (between the peanuts and weekly magazines), scan the barcode via an app, select your payment method, and once again leave at your own pace. No lines. You can’t help but notice the crowd of impatient travelers that have gathered around your gate – waiting like irritated sheep for their boarding zone to be called. The headphone-buying detour made you miss your announcement, but a push alert tells you that you are welcome to board. Once in your seat, the flight attendant, having access to travelers’ profile information and preferences, brings you your preferred beverage – unprompted. You touch down at 10 p.m. As you pass through the main terminal, your favorite car service welcomes you to the city and asks if you want a driver to take you to the hotel saved in your trip management app (note: you did not have to think about reserving a car in advance). You approve, accept the charge, and head directly to the exact door where the driver is waiting for you. You finally arrive at your hotel exhausted and hungry. Upon walking through the door you receive a message that you are automatically checked in and can head straight to your room (your smartphone is your key). Recognizing that you were in flight during dinner, the hotel automatically pushes the in-room dining menu to your phone as you wait for the elevator. You make your selection on the ride up and have ordered before you even reach your door. After you finish your meetings the following afternoon and head back to the hotel, you get a special discount to hit the on-premises golf-course before dinner. Too good to pass up, you confirm your spontaneous tee-time with one tap. Following your solo game, you head to your room to shower before your business dinner and remember that you don’t have any post-meal plans. You check the recommendations the hotel has sent you based on your interests. A jazz trio playing at a wine bar down the street? Sold. You reserve your ticket with one swipe and pick it up at the concierge on your way out. The next morning you wake up, verify the details of your ride, and head to the airport. And it all begins again. The travel industry should (and is starting to) take step towards providing messages or experiences

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that surprise and delight consumers while being proactive in meeting anticipated needs. While more advanced actions like preemptive rebooking are more than a year away, travel players are starting to experiment with the technology. Low-cost airline easyJet

is currently testing beacon functionality at its three busiest European airports. It has placed devices around the airport to push messages at “critical points in the airport journey.” Similarly, The James Hotels earlier this summer began using beacons to provide a “concierge-like experience” to guests, providing perks and offerskirstenogsoren tailored to specific locations. The beacons and other sensors that will be hidden on hotel doorways,

elevators, airport gates, security lines, parking lots, restaurants, and shops will trigger messages and offers, solve problems, disseminate critical information, and streamline the entire process. Every aspect of the traveler’s journey will benefitclubink/a> from automating procedures, personalizing every experience and predicting issues – and beacons and mobile are set to fuel this change.

future-of-content_Jeremy-Stockwell

Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind

For the past few years, brick-and-mortar retailers didn’t have a fighting chance to compete with the personalization and convenience provided by online shopping. By cultivating mountains of rich customer data, online retailers had the upper hand. Every action and inaction — from what customers clicked on and how much time they spent looking at certain products to their social activity and response to email programs – helped online retailers tailor each email, pop-up or recommended product to drive sales and provide a superior experience. For consumers, it was a welcome reprieve from the antiquated task of visiting a store, being treated as a stranger and receiving often-questionable customer service. This new customer journey had new engagement touch points across marketing, sales and service, and traditional retailers struggled to keep up. The tides are turning, however. After years of showrooming and online retail commanding more attention along with emerging technology like iBeacons and immersive personalized mobile experiences, the data-driven shopping experience is set to land inside brick-and-mortar stores. The lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurring, and the ease, convenience and excitement

previously reserved for online shopping will soon be pillars of tomorrow’s shops. Below are nine mainstays of the future of retail: 1. Personal shoppers for all: Retailers will focus on transforming mobile apps into a personal concierge of sorts when shoppers enter a store. In-store beacons will automatically wake up consumers’ apps to deliver highly relevant and personal content. Shoppers will be welcomed upon entering a store

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or department. The “personal shopper” app features will point out where they can find favorite products, alert them of products they might like and tell them about items being considered, like which celebrity

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wore the sunglasses in question. 2. Fewer (foot) traffic jams: In-store mapping and smart navigation will become highly accurate, thanks to real-time data generated from beacons. By tracking the whereabouts of shoppers, managers can better design layouts to streamline the flow. If a person has a shopping list, at a grocery store, say, the best route to pick up everything will be provided through a mobile device the second that person walks through the door. It will account for real-time situational factors like current movement throughout the store or congested aisles. If the shopper veers off course or adds anything to the list, the recommended route will automatically be refreshed. 3. Juicy bait hooks passersby. Retailers will target people who walk by their store through highly personalized offers or messages about things like new styles or reminders about items saved on a wish list. A woman passing a beauty store may be prompted to enter after receiving an alert that she is likely running low on moisturizer, given the date of her last purchase and previous buying behavior. 4. Self-checkout 2.0. One of the most frustrating parts of in-store shopping, is waiting in a line to check out. More retailers will follow retail pioneer Apple’s lead with its EasyPay self-mobile checkout. The customer find what he or she needs, scan it, selects a payment method and finalize the transaction, without waiting in a line or talking to an associate if not needed. As consumers become increasingly comfortable with contactless payments, the ability to control when and where the checkout happens will become more prevalent. 5. On-demand customer service. Previously a customer might have searched to no avail in a store for a sales associate for help in finding a size or answering a question. Leveraging mobile applications, retailers will maximize staff resources and enhance the customer experience by allowing shoppers to virtually request assistance. Through point-of-service applications or mobile or tablet devices, sales associates will instantly and automatically access a shopper’s profile, customer preferences and buying history to provide a better and efficient experience. Predictive analytics will be leveraged to know what a customer wants before he or she asks for it. From the floor, associates will be able to order out-of-stock items seamlessly and select a shopper’s preferred delivery method while also making personalized recommendations on other products. 6. Virtual fitting rooms and aisles. The rich virtual world will continue to supplement the physical world via consumers’ phones and connected wearable devices. Shoppers will access information and special offers through augmented reality while moving through a store or seeing how they would look wearing something without trying it on. Plus consumers will be able to opt in to access recommendations, such as for bathing suits based on their body shape and size, virtually try them on and then walk to the counter where a sales associate will be waiting with them. 7. Out-of-store, out-of-home shopping and flexible fulfillment. To compete with Amazon, eBay and other vendors with short-wait and free deliveries, more retailers will offer a menu of flexible fulfillment options, whether it’s a preorder and pickup in a store or shopping in a store offering free home delivery. Companies will introduce shopping capabilities in other arenas, similar to the Tesco Homeplus virtual shopping experience in the Seoul subway system. As consumers continue to hunt for speed and convenience, retailers will seek opportunities that grant customers the ability to shop, pay and schedule delivery in unique environments, from parks and airports to bus stations and stadiums. 8. Power to the consumer. In the palm of their hands, consumers are carrying around their own big data tools. They can scan bar codes and compare prices, check reviews or snap a picture and ask their friends for advice. Consumers have more power than ever before in the shopping experience and as a result, companies will provide rich information and social capabilities optimized for every screen, while integrating scanning and other tools to unlock content in their apps. Customers will shop around and more retailers will take broader steps toward transparency. 9.The power of tribes. Powerful communities are being formed around brands and experiences — from runners and cross-fitters to foodies and gamers. More communities will be tied to brands and experiences as never before and will influence major buying decisions. The in-store shopping experience is on the verge of great transformation. Forward-thinking marketers have undertaken inspiring experiments in the effort to enhance store offerings. Retailers of all sizes, though, will soon adopt data-driven strategies to compete with their online cousins on convenience and personalization. As overhead costs stay high, retailers will adopt mobile-first approaches — that leverage beacons, augmented reality and cross-channel customer profiling — to bridge shoppers’ online and offline worlds. In the age of mobile-dominant consumers — who have expectations of real-time, highly relevant and personalized experiences — omni-channel innovation is no longer a merely something nice

to have at a physical store. It’s a must-have. Shoppers, then, are poised to be the big winners.

5_biggest_AustinPixels

Flash-Forward: The 5 Biggest Mobility Trends of 2014

The Year of the Horse is upon us and according to ancient Chinese belief, people will take on “unremitting efforts

to improve themselves” in 2014.

As mobile-first consumers become more steadfast in their demands and expectations (read: personal, all about me, relevant at this precise moment), marketers should take a page from this Chinese tradition and spend 2014 significantly rethinking and improving their mobile initiatives. Marketers need to get a handle on the numerous, competing customer data streams to better bridge the online and offline worlds in more immediate, personalized and tangible ways. Once this happens, the customer journey will undergo dramatic changes that better align with the mobile-first world.

The biggest trends for the evolving customer experience in 2014 will be:

  • Consumers are “Compensated” for Data: Consumers are starting to understand the value in letting go of the tight grip they keep on their personal data – but they want something in return. While we will not see consumers get paid money for their data next year (although this is not too far off), consumers will be rewarded with more personalized experiences. Brands will also begin to explore partnerships to share opt-in customer data to provide multi-dimensional, highly relevant experiences. A weight loss program provider could partner with a retailer to provide a special offer when a set goal is reached (e.g. You’ve reached your goal weight! Enjoy 10% off those skinny jeans!).
  • iBeacon Technology Grows Up…Really Fast: More and more stores will adopt iBeacon technology for proximity marketing as a way to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience and to capture the imagination of online shoppers. Marketers will spend 2014 testing and refining indoor location programs in a small number of stores, experimenting with contextual triggers to deliver personalization, drive in-store traffic and enhance customer service. Bringing marketing automation to the physical world, businesses across a variety of industries will look to iBeacon technology as the next stage of real-time marketing.
  • Contextual-Awareness Actually Gets…Well Relevant: The primary ingredient for mobile marketing success is being relevant to a person’s immediate context. Location alone doesn’t make something relevant – In fact only 1% of the time would it drive a person to take an action. To drive true relevance and avoid interrupting consumers’ lives, marketers will start leveraging all sensors and secondary location data that exists, such as weather and traffic, as well as start anticipating a person’s intent to provide the right content at the right time to the right person.
  • The Smartphone Domino Effect: As devices increasingly become “smart” and the Internet of Things expands into new horizons, smartphones will stake their claim as the remote control to power this connected universe made up of everything from glasses and thermostats to autos and household appliances. Brands will develop omni-channel app strategies, allowing the individual to carry context forward with the smartphone automatically triggering actions appropriate to the screen and their current situation. (e.g. A dinner reservation is made on the smartphone, directions autopopulate in dashboard screen when the car is turned on and a person is prompted to review the restaurant when they power up their tablet that evening).
  • Predictions Make Way for Prescriptions: We will see the first round of mainstream apps and platforms leverage prescriptive analytics as the next round of ‘usable’ predictive analytics. As more companies start anticipating customer behavior
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    more accurately, prescriptive analytics will become adopted on a wider scale among the brands looking for actionable insights to drive revenue and deepen engagement.

This year will be a make-it-or-break-it one for brands on mobile. The marketers who stick with the status quo of boring initiatives that interrupt customers’ lives will lose their audience in droves. The marketers who integrate all data streams and systems into mobile-first experiences will be the ones

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who will not only capture — but keep — the attention of always-addressable consumers. Cheers to a year of true mobility.

the-guiding-iBeacon

The guiding iBeacon: Helping brands navigate customer relationships

In technology circles, beacons are the topic du jour; one of the biggest buzz makers as 2013 rushes to an end. It’s no wonder – the technology has the potential to be one of the biggest innovations to affect the customer experience since the smartphone. Beacons’ ability to bridge the online and offline world in new ways and reduce friction between customer and brand interactions will enable instant customer identification empowering brand representatives on the front lines to provide personal welcomes. Mobile payment adoption will speed up. Companies will optimize

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revenue through demand-based offers and pricing, a la Uber. The focus of the conversation around water coolers has primarily been focused on the retail industry. Apple recently unveiled its iBeacon strategy, introducing the technology at all of its retail stores. The potential for beacons in the retail environment are vast: shoppers will be reminded about their favorite items and receive immediate, actionable messages (The sweater on your wish list is on the 2nd Floor. Don’t forget to try it on!); consumers will get personalized deals based on their past purchases and preferences, loyalty level, and propensity to buy or share; and proximity marketing will entice people to enter stores with tailored information on new products or sales. The net that beacons will cast, however, is far wider than the retail scenario, especially when, according to Forbes, Apple has laid the groundwork for every iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad sold since the iPhone 4S into an iBeacon. Here are some of the most exciting use cases that no one is talking about yet: Travel: Airlines and hotels can use beacons to personally welcome travelers, upsell products and services and allow for frictionless payment for add-ons (Hi Myles! It’s a full flight today! Touch here to pay $10.99 for priority boarding.). Real-time demand-based offers would also allow travel providers to optimize revenue. A cancellation at a hotel spa, for instance, could immediately trigger a last-minute

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offer to guests based on loyalty level who are currently on the property. With new FAA guidelines, beacon technology could streamline the in-flight experience, including food and drink orders, and update the crew of travelers’ preferences and requirements (Frequent flier Taylor Smith in 9A has a peanut allergy). Real estate: Beacons could be placed at open houses to instantly remind agents about prospective homebuyers’ tastes and preferences, allowing Realtors to highlight the property features that would excite each potential buyer. The homebuyer

would receive messages as she moves throughout the property – pointing out unique traits or information (The master bathroom was redone last year. The wood in the vanity was imported from Africa.) Property management: Luxury apartment buildings and condominiums could take advantage of beacons to provide a unique and engaging tenant experience. Doormen would personally welcome all residents, and property managers could disseminate personalized and relevant messages and information. (Welcome home, Laurie! You had a package delivered today. Please stop by the

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mail room.) When units become available, beacons could alert passers by who are on the market to move, providing pictures and information as well as the ability to schedule a viewing. Dining: Beacons would empower wait staff to better serve their customers by knowing their preferences and special requests without the repeat customer having to restate it (Jeff

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at table 2D prefers no ice in his water). Restaurateurs could also automate promotions based on real-time inventory factors (Salmon Special! — when there is a surplus) or seating capacity (Tonight only! Free dessert with a purchase of $30) to fill tables. Media: Traditional and new media properties would use beacons in cafés, waiting rooms and lobbies to provide full or partial access to a broad audience. For instance, a local café could subscribe in order to provide its patrons with a reading content and entertainment while they enjoy their morning breakfast. Gas stations: Since the advent of “pay at the pump,” ancillary sales at gas stations have decreased significantly. Beacons could not only facilitate contactless payments, but could alert drivers of specials to tempt them into the station (Buy one 12 pack of any Coca-Cola product, get one free!) Beacon technology will significantly enhance the customer journey – from discovery and research to payment and reviews – and we will see savvy marketers bringing beacons into their physical environments early next year. Brands across multiple industries need to start experimenting with proximity marketing and getting creative with engagement campaigns that hold the key to personal and profitable customer relationships.