Update, March 2014: We created a short, fun video showing how this work. SEE OUR VIDEO HERE!
As we discussed in other posts, it's easy to build a "starter" iBeacon solution using Passbook. Just create Passbook coupons to represent various offers, tag them to your iBeacons, place those iBeacons in different locations, and then walk around and see the passes pop up when they detect the corresponding iBeacons. Distribute your passes via SMS text or email...no app required. This process can be done in a few days at most (in our case it was a few hours, but we do a lot of demos).
For the last test, we used iBeacons from Estimote, Inc. They have 3 colors (Mint, Blueberry, and Icy Marshmallow) so we built a pass for each. They worked perfectly in combination with our new Passbook-iBeacon server. Thanks Estimote!
Places to Test iBeacons and Passbook
- Airports. Place iBeacons at 3-4 gates, an iBeacon at your frequent flyer lounge, and another at your customer service desk. Distribute Passbook passes to employees or test customers and get feedback.
- Retail stores. Place iBeacons at each entry to your store. Then tag those iBeacon IDs to your Passbook discount coupons. When customers walk near your store, bingo! Their coupons pop up. Again, ask employees and customers how they like it. (Note, with our WalletCRM server, you can add a customer survey link to the back of the pass itself. You can also change coupon content to synchronize with your latest sales and offers, so your coupons continue promoting your brand for months or years.)
Passbook and iBeacons Integrated Out of the Box
Apple integrated Passbook and iBeacons as part of native feature in iOS7. No coding, no programming required. They did this to make it easier to test the concept. For example:
- Demo for your executives. Show them a live example on their own iPhones. As one CEO said: "To understand this, there is no substitute for seeing it in your own hands...it jumps you 3 months ahead in your comprehension." (Let us know if you'd like to see a demo yourself).
- A/B test customers. You can perform multiple A/B tests with live customers in a matter of hours. Brainstorm different offers and see how they work.
Before Tackling Native App
Most app developers are hesitant to add new features to their apps without understanding the customer experience. Yes there are iBeacon SDKs being released for app developers (and in fact we are working with them ourselves) but they are still new. Use Passbook to test customer experience without rushing your native app mods.
Here's a few details:
- Passbook can detect any number of Major and Minor beacon settings, so in theory you can have hundreds of different combinations, although anything over a dozen seems over-complex at first. Beacon numbering and placement strategies are important.
- Each pass can embed up to 10 different beacons AND 10 different latitude/longitude settings.
- As we've shown before (here and here), our WalletCRM server can update passes with other kinds of push notifications and app-update offers, based on time of day or other triggers such as a scanned barcode or new/perpetual offers or sales. This gives you a rich palette of marketing features.
- Finally, that in addition to testing iBeacons, Passbook is a powerful complement to your native app. There are many of your customers who may never download your App, but they will download your coupon to Passbook, and that coupon can be refreshed for years with your new branding and offers.
- Will Android work with iBeacons? Yes, probably in 3-6 months. Android 4.3 can detect Bluetooth LE (the iBeacon technology) and there are SDKs under development.
Want a demo? Contact Us