By the use of geofencing with iBeacons, booksellers or fair exhibitors can provide a whole new shopping experience to the customer. If the customer`s smartphone enters the Beacon region the publisher/bookseller can push welcomes messages, recommendations, location-specific deals or discounts to an app on the customers smartphone automatically. Retailers benefit from a whole new level of instore marketing and the customers get a highly personalized and augmented shopping experience.
What is the core principle of your idea?
Beacons are small BlueTooth Low Energy devices that transmit a unique signal to native mobile apps. These apps can then pick up this signal when a user is nearby and deliver some content or action on their smartphone - e.g. a customer can get detailed information and special promotions, check stock availabilities or call for a sales person with his smartphone. The possibilities of Beacons are enormous and they make the lines between online and instore content blur.
Can your idea be applied to different formats (in a bookstore, at a trade fair, at a conference)?
With an app provided by the Frankfurt Book Fair or the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, every associated bookstore and every exhibitor could benefit from the given infrastructure by simply adding Beacons to his location and attach funcationality to them with a simple drag-and-drop framework. This standardised app would be able to work on every fair booth or bookstore the same, invoking the specific functionality and providing the retailers additional information at each location.
Would it be possible to turn your idea into a reality, or at least create a prototype of it, at short notice, i.e. by the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2014?
A working prototype for trade fair navigation and/or instore advertising would be available within four weeks, an elaborated app for several bookstores would be available within a few months.
What do you estimate the costs for the prototype or the final implementation of your idea to be?
The hardware is cheap and low-maintenance, a prototype is available without any costs, an elaborated app for the Book Fair or several Bookstores would be a negotiable matter. However, consider that a single app for hundreds of bookstores could benefit from the economies of scale and would produce only small licence fees.