Beacons are small electronic devices that retailers mount on the ceilings or walls of a store. By locally broadcasting small packets of uniquely ID’d data, they can let an app on a customer’s phone know exactly where the customer is standing in the store. The location data is then sent to the app’s server, which sends back geo-specific sale info, coupons, or other data via cellular network or a store’s Wi-Fi.
Amsterdam-based Mobile Bridge is today offering a complete vision of how store-based iBeacons can be integrated into a mobile marketing platform. The company’s platform, which only emerged from stealth in June at the MobileBeat conference, offers a suite of integrated functions that can be added as a layer on top of any existing or new native or hybrid mobile app — such as messaging, loyalty cards, polls, or mini-games. Mobile Bridge is also integrated with a variety of enterprise systems, such as customer relationship management and e-commerce.
“Now, we can personalize the content” based not only on where you’re standing in a store, CEO Eyal Oster told VentureBeat, but on your personal history with the store.
As an example, he suggested imagining that you are a customer who is known to a brick-and-mortar store’s CRM because you bought a video game console a few weeks ago. Additionally, the store’s point-of-sale (POS) system is connected to Mobile Bridge.
“We know it’s your birthday,” Oster added. The platform pushes a message to you through the store app, offering the birthday gift of a discount coupon for a video game if you play a simple scratchcard mobile game. After you play the scratchcard game, you get awarded a 30 percent off coupon that you save into your in-app wallet, ready for redemption.
A few days later, when you visit the store where you bought the console, the store app on your phone receives a location-specifying signal from a ceiling-mounted iBeacon in the games section. Via cellular network or the store’s Wi-Fi, the app relays the info to Mobile Bridge that you’re standing in that store’s games section. The platform returns an on-screen reminder of the discount coupon.
Step by step, iBeacons — Apple’s version of beacon technology — are becoming integrated into every customer-facing platform. Mobile Bridge’s implementation shows how beacons are becoming a fully functioning component of a customer’s mobile journey.
Oster told us that, while competitors like AppBoy “have the [mobile marketing] automation part down nicely,” Mobile Bridge is “more integrated into the enterprise” with communication into POS, CRM, and other systems. He also said that his company’s platform enables a user to “actually manage the content” through one of dozens of deployable games included in the platform, a suite of message-creation tools, and other resources.
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