After the Christmas shopping season, many people in the retail ecosystem began to write off Beacons and the entire premise of location targeting as a lot of tech hype.
That’s not the actual case at all, says Unacast CEO Thomas Walle (and he better think that: Unacast claims to be the world’s largest beacon/proximity network.) Speaking this week at Streetfight Summit West in San Francisco, Walle says the key is to understand that location targeting’s power comes from precisely-used omnichannel: beacons, geofencing/GPS, WiFi, NFC, Audio and QR all complement each other.
The combinations are powerful: In retail, there are more than 100+ uses. Beyond retail, hotels, airports, stadiums, cares and museums also have adopted dozens of uses.
Among retailers deploying location targeting, beacons are being used by 95% (and will have 8 million units in place by the end of 2016, per ABI research.) Walle says that beacon penetration will continue to rise as Google’s Eddystone standard continues to gain penetration, complementing Apple’s widely used, but ultimately limited iBeacon standard.
Eddystone is currently supported by 45% of the location targeting retailers, up from 38% in 2015. iBeacon, meanwhile, is supported by 90%, which represents a slight decrease.
Meanwhile, geofencing/GPS is being used by 54%; Wi-Fi is being used by 28%; NFC by 16%; Audio by 16%; and QR by 10%. QR has been prematurely written off, says Halle. It’s a great lead tool.
Location targeting also benefits from the very broad definition of “location.” This has led to companies diversifying their platform offerings. Generally, people see it as a push medium, says Walle (i.e. receive a coupon on your mobile device.) Mobile accounts for 73% of usage. But other uses are also very high. Indoor navigation, for instance, is 51%; proximity ad nets is 34%; online retargeting is 20%; digital signage is 11%; and data monetization is 5%.