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Enhancing the Consumer Experience

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iBeacon Technology at SWSX (Austin, TX)

According to the Pew Research report on Mobile Technology in January 2014, 90% of Americans own a cell phone and 58% of Americans own a smartphone. This equates to be about 285.3 million people who own a cellphone, and 138.6 million people own a smartphone. This number of smartphone will continue to grow in the future as younger generations will be growing up with this technology. Who actually remembers having a brick phone?

As this technology industry sector becomes a big player in the future, Apple is working on bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and online customers. As we all know now, when we want to buy something from a particular store, we do some research and comparison online first. Then, we would have to remember the specific item and drive to the store to purchase it (and sometimes have to ask the sales associate, if there are additional questions). That is old-fashion, outdated, or what your “hip grandma” does. Because my grandma doesn’t even know much about computers. 

Apple has introduced this new technology called iBeacons. These devices are powered by Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology to “talk” to nearby mobile devices (i.e, your smartphone or tablet). iBeacons are able to pinpoint your location, like if you are inside of Macy’s department store and show you items that are on sale or special deals that are relevant to you. When they have located you, the app would send you a push notification with an invitation for you to opt-in to the service. After you ave agreed, there will be special promotions and coupons sent to you.

Additionally, these iBeacons will soon eliminate your contact with a sales associate. Questions will be answered by the app since there will be customer reviews and recommended product for you. This program is also capable for you to check out and make purchases on your own. What would this mean for future sales associates…? Technology is going to replace these jobs.

With this iBeacon technology, Apple is hoping to create a seamless customer experience for future consumers. We are very close to this type of technology and bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping is quite important going into the future. Their recent iOS 7.1 update includes updated iBeacon technology which are capable of detecting the beacons even when an app is not open and not running in the background. Hmm, I am sniffing a potential privacy issue here…

There is a goldmine of data in everyone’s smartphone, so why are advertisers going to let that go to waste? That’s my thought.

AD news: The Apple Legacy to be Continued?

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First off, Apple has been a marketed brand since their 1984 SuperBowl commercial. They have done such a fantastic job at integrating their brand in the world that many people recognize the Apple logo without difficulty. That half-bitten fruit is everywhere, could be some type of allusion.

Today, at the WWDC summit, Apple reveal what they have been working on for the past year. The new upgrades include an iOS6 mobile operation system, FaceTime activity without using Wifi, and its new Maps application which will replace the Google Maps app we have on our phones now. The Google Map feature is “among the iPhone’s most popular features since its debut in 2007” (Sarno & Rodriguez, LA Times).  This important feature allowed Google to own a valuable part of Apple’s bestselling phone.

But not anymore. “In iOS 6 we have built an entire new mapping system from the ground up. And it looks beautiful,” said Senior VP for iOS Scott Forstall. “We’re covering the world.” Certainly the iPhone’s new Map application is going to improve its brand image because it’s virtually a GPS system  in the palm of your hand. The application will work with Siri to “offer voice-controlled, turn-by-turn navigation, letting motorists use it to guide them through unfamiliar neighborhoods” (Sarno & Rodriguez, LA Times). With this app, there will be advertising opportunities for local businesses to put themselves on the map.

Google and Apple have been fierce competitors with each other. Although the iPhone remains the best-selling single smartphone in the U.S., most major phone manufacturers are producing devices using Google Inc.’s Android software. “Taken together, Android devices made by Google-owned Motorola Mobility, HTC Corp., LG Corp. and Samsung are far outselling the iPhone” (Sarno & Rodriguez, LA Times). To keep the Apple audience happy, they must be coming up with more fresh, interesting ideas than Google. Apple has built their brand by driving innovation into their products, and they must keep that legacy.

To ensure that legacy, they are going to market their products with more expensive price tags. The new MacBook Pro with high-def retina display (as seen on the new iPads) will run you at least $2,199 for a model with 8GB of memory. Well, there goes my bank account.

Siri is going international – not only will she be able to speak English, she will know how to respond in Italian, Spanish, Korean, and Mandarin/Cantonese, tapping into that Chinese market and the growing popularity of Apple products from across the sea. Siri will be able to keep you updated with sport game scores and stats; no more looking it up on your phone. Also, you will be able to ask Siri to update your Facebook status and tweet or launch an app. The world of IMC is growing by the sound of a human voice and very rapidly.

Some people have said that their announcement today was a flop. People were expecting news about Apple TV and newer releases of Apple products. People are speculating that a new iPhone 5 will be released in October of this year, we’ll see. Were you disappointed by the “new upgrades” the Apple executives shared this morning in San Francisco?