Driving mobile engagement

Even while grappling with a number of issues, from a business perspective the biggest challenge for retailers using traditional beacon technology is the necessity of utilizing a retailer-specific app. Since the consumer needs to have downloaded the retailer’s app to enable the digital engagement, these retailers are unlikely to attract new customers beyond the dedicated consumer base that they have already convinced to do so. A possible solution is to develop integration outlets with the Physical Web.

The Physical Web is a recent Google development utilizing beacons to broadcast a URL to nearby mobile devices. In the fashion retail context, a store location or a mannequin in the window could broadcast a URL which drives a consumer to a virtual fitting room or a special discounts page. This type of technology has potentially widespread applications for retailers and marketers working in partnership with each other and sharing data — for example, in airports or shopping malls where a specific marketer may not have a relationship with a particular consumer, but can provide a platform where other retailers can integrate their apps and reach out to that consumer.