The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnection of computers in everyday things, enabling them to send and receive data. Retailers have used this to track inventory, while auto companies have adopted it for track maintenance data and to remind auto owners when their car requires servicing. Many modern appliances have similar interfaces. One area where IoT use is escalating is marketing — especially nowadays where its uses are becoming increasingly creative.
The two main IoT technologies are “beacons,” and “geofencing.” Beacons are small, wireless devices that send out signals with unique IDs. They provide a great deal of data about customers that retailers can readily use; such as determining the average age, gender, and spending habits of nearby customers.
On the other hand, geofencing are virtual fences placed around a physical location. For example, you might set a reminder to bring your lunch when you leave the house in the morning, or you might receive a 10% off alert on your phone when you enter your favorite coffee shop.
Think that's exciting?
Here are 12 further examples of creative marketing using IoT beacons and/or geofencing:
#1: Pin it
A brazilian furniture retailer — Tok&Stok — recently partnered with Pinterest to allow customers to “pin” what they wanted – simply by pushing a “Pin it” button whilst being nearby the product. Each pin uses a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon to communicate with nearby consumer smarthphones, telling it exactly who is in the vicinity, so individual customers can be identified and distinguished.
#2: Where to advertise—Data Optimization
A national retailer — Joann Fabric & Craft Stores — needed help determining the best areas in the San Fransisco Bay area to target their bus and outdoor advertising. They had advertised this way for years, but never knew which zip codes were most cost-effective. Over four months, Euclid Analytics used sensors in 20 of the chain's stores throughout the area to collect data on its customers — including zip codes with the highest and lowest density of loyal shoppers. This data allowed the chain to more closely target their advertising.
#3: How Target targets shoppers
In addition to learning more about shoppers, Target uses in-store beacon technology to enhance their experience. Features usually found in online shopping, such as recommendations based on buying history, can be sent to customers in real-time. Imagine, for instance, walking into Housewares and receiving a 10% off coupon for brands or items you've previously purchased.
#4: Hillshire Brands Intent to Buy Jumps 20% with In-Store Use of Beacons
Hillshire Brands ran a mobile campaign to push American Craft Link sausages in grocery stores across the top ten U.S. markets. The campaign targeted customers who had downloaded one of the inMarket Network's apps. Consumers using these apps in store were sent branded push notifications, including banner ads, coupons, and other content. The location-based offers seemed to raise purchase intent by 20% and brand awareness by 36% compared to sites without the beacons.
#5: Rockbot—Your favorite music follows you!
Rockbot, a music platform that works like a virtual jukebox allowing customer to request background music in commercial spaces, has used beacon technology to determine a customer's favorite song and have it play when they entered a certain restaurant, bars, stores, etc. This “Anthem” feature creates engagement among Rockbot users, and drove increased business in places using the app by as much as 101%!
#6: Geofencing-everyday uses
You use geofencing whenever you set a reminder in Evernote or Todoist. You can even set your phone to automatically mute when you reach the office. Apple and Android make extensive use of this technology, knowing that it will encourage you to use their apps and services.
#7: Geofencing to help you get around
For example, both Apple Maps and Android use geofencing to push information that indicateshow many minutes you are from home. Android, combined with local public transit information can now also provide you with information regarding the next bus or train. Speaking of public transportation, users of the MBTA in the Boston, Massachusetts area can put frequent stops into their ProximiT app and receive updates in the form of push notifications whenever they are near a stop.
#8: Sephora: targeted push notifications
Almost everyone has received a gift card and forgotten to use it (guilty). Sephora saw this phenomenon as an opportunity. Realizing that customers with gift cards were likely to spend more than the amount on the card, Sephora used geofencing technology to track when customers with unused gift cards were nearby; whereby they would then send them friendly alerts.
#9: JetBlue: Inflight Entertainment
When passengers head to the airport, JetBlue pushes notifications prompting them to use setup their phone for inflight viewing.
#10: Dunkin' Donuts—targeting customers with geofencing and coupons
Dunkin' Donuts recently used geofencing behavioral targeting to locate customers around competitors' locations, and deliver coupons directly to their mobile devices. Thirty-six percent of those who clicked on the offer took some kind of action, 18% saved the coupon, and 3.6% redeemed the coupon. It's a great way to steal the competition.
#11: American Eagle increases foot traffic with geofencing
In order to boost foot traffic to it's outlet stores, American Eagle sent customers who entered geofenced mall parking lots, notifications and promotions. The incentives led customers into American Eagle's outlets instead of their competitors, and resulted in three times the normal amount of purchases.
#12: Marriott's Real-Time Social Engagement
Marriott uses geofencing to track guests' social media posts to create one of their “surprise and delight” moments. If a guest posts that it is her birthday, for example, Marriott might deliver a celebratory dessert to her room. Similarly, a welcome gift might be delivered after a guest “checks in” at the property on Instagram or Facebook. This is a high-tech extension of the kinds of customer experiences Marriott has always strived for. Thanks to Geofencing, it can now be customized and done more efficiently!
Share your opinion
Which of these cases was your favorite? Do you know of other great instances of IoT marketing? Can you imagine how this could be used with your or your clients' businesses? Feel free to share your comments below.