Today in the land of big-box retail stores the customer has been lost by virtue of volume. Yet E-commerce giants like Amazon know your personal habits just as those old neighborhood merchants at the 5 and dime did. It’s a digital step toward that Minority Report experience…and in 2014 the NewAer team is combining our Proximity Platform with the intelligence of the E-commerce industry to create real-life ‘wow’ moments for shoppers. In the coming weeks we’ll release software both directly and through partners to let big-screen digital signage inside a store speak to customers and enable any brand tablet to be used as this intelligent marketing engine…to name a few early examples, as we’re readying our first retail display software product beta’d in 2013 called Kiosk, for an early 2014 launch.
As Tom Cruise walked through the mall in the blockbuster film “Minority Report” advertisements scanned and recognized his eyes, triggering messaging that to spoke directly to him – asking questions of prior purchases. The NewAer team often uses this scene for inspiration – the penultimate in passive custom engagement driven by technology and uniquely delivered to a store guest. It’s futuristic, yet recalls a time when store owners actually knew their customers, what they liked and what they’d purchased previously.
Consumers can already see other players in the industry experimenting with the concept of passive engagement. Inside of the Apple stores, iBeacons trigger within your proximity and internal location-based push notifications pop a message on your phone when you walk near accessories, similar to getting a text message. While this is clever, it’s a bit generic…does every customer want alerts on the same merchandise? Plus, the experience nags with a second notification when as a guest walks by the same beaconing point again. We feel that will aggravate consumers to the point of them disabling this service, and it’s a pain point we have anticipated.
The NewAer Platform eliminates duplicated events messages as well as allowing retailers to mimic the behavior of the advertisements in Minority Report, with the advantage of empowering the consumer into opting in to this engagement. With Kiosk running on a dedicated PC or tablet, it will “wake up” with a special message to specific customers based upon what a retailer knows about them. If a merchant has a back-end database of prior purchases, rewards or points, the display becomes even more engaging to the customer. NewAer stands for ambient, automagic events happening behind the scenes without the annoying check-in or another action performed on any device. Thanks to the power of our cloud-based beacon system, the device and the environment operate seamlessly with one another.
For this to work, we leverage our Proximity Platform to enable smartphones, tablets or computers to communicate through a scrambled identifier, beaconing to other wireless devices. For retail stores, these identifiers are used to greet customers within radio range of our Kiosk application. By opting into broadcasting this unique number, personal identity is masked by our platform, but the retailer (who may have a loyalty program) can address the customer.
So there you have our wrap-up of 2013. We are excited to see where our industry of proximity marketing is headed. While early stories are just starting to come in from technologists, we are monitoring consumer habits and the latest wins and fails in the industry to make the most robust, customer friendly, customizable solution with our NewAer Proximity Platform SDK.
Here’s to a great 2013, and the future of 2014 cannot come soon enough!