iBeacon: Secret Weapon For Retailers

By John Houghton on February 25, 2014

iBeacon signal tower

As part of our continuing coverage of Apps World 2014 in San Francisco, I talked to Brent Hieggelke, Chief Marketing Officer of Urban Airship.  Urban Airship provides notification services for app developers, and this ties very nicely with beacons that can trigger events like personalized notifications when a user is at a particular location in the store.

Until now marketers could only learn about their customers through their web browsing and mobile app usage, but now data are available on a customer’s physical movements throughout the shopping experience.  Can you imagine the possibilities?  Thus far, advertising costs have dropped dramatically because of the very precise targeting available through online advertising.  Now, retailers can set up all sorts of A/B testing to see which displays and retail environments are most effective.  This can drive further revenue and savings for retailers.

Watch the video to find out the new possibilities for retailers to gain unprecedented insights from their customers:

Watch MP4 (iPhone/iPad)

Apple has chosen to call their offering iBeacon and has designed it so that Android phones can also support the technology.  The solution allows users to set their preferences to allow beacon-triggered events.  When sending messages, however, retailers should need to know that the most effective messages must be relevant and timely for the user.

Other potential uses include welcome messages when a user enters a retail store.  When combined with other data about the user’s needs, the message can present the user with a personalized offer and discount.  It is also possible to collect exit surveys when a user leaves an establishment.

MobileCast Media offers iBeacon development services.  For more information, please contact us.


John: John Houghton with Mobile App Development TV here at Apps World 2014, here with Brent Hieggelke. How are you doing Brent?

Brent: I’m doing fine John, good to see you.

John: I wanted to find out about iBeacon, tell us briefly first what iBeacon is.

Brent: iBeacon is a new capability that Apple announced at their last conference and it’s got the industry really excited because what it does is it takes a mobile experience indoors and creates completely new capabilities for what those might look like.

John: I think of it in two ways. We now have a lot of data on what people are doing online, what they are doing on their mobile devices, but now we have the option of collecting with permission data about what they are doing in the physical world.

Brent: That’s correct and that brings a whole new thing, a whole new capability about insights. Today if you had a mobile app, let’s say a retailer, you really wouldn’t know necessarily if those customers were visiting your stores. You wouldn’t know which stores, you wouldn’t know which departments in those stores. With this capability you can theoretically know that I went to this department store, on this day and I visited the shoe department. That’s really interesting for them now to know that you’re a shoe shopper at this particular store. So it brings the ability to serve and really segment that customer to a whole another level. Which means that they can turn that around and use that to reengage that costumer when they have certain things that are of interest. So thats why it’s exciting.

John: And so I hear some concerns about privacy, how do we allay those concerns?

Brent: So the good thing is you know this is all really opt in. So even location tracking is opt in, consumer says yes. So in our world we do push messaging so the consumer is opted in first by downloading the app. So if I download your app I’m basically coming to you.  Secondly I’ve said yes to receiving push messages, that’s the second opt in. And if location tracking is at play there is a separate “Are you ok with this app tracking your location?” So at that point the consumer said yes three times. If they’re not overtly stating the fact that they want a relationship with you by opting in three times, I don’t really know what else you can do. But the consumer is in control ultimately and they are getting savvier about what they do and they don’t give these permissions to everybody you have to earn the privilege for them to say yes at each one of these levels.

John: Well thanks very much for joining us Brent.

Brent: Alright, thanks John, it’s been a pleasure.

Posted in App Development, iOS Apps, iPhone Apps, Mobile App Development TV



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