There’s an overwhelming narrative we're hearing from clients regardless of their geography; Brands are getting tired of building consumer facing apps.
Why brands are fatigued with building apps is obvious with hindsight but as we all know when something catches fire as the “must have” it’s very easy for everyone in the marketplace to get caught up in the utopian vision rather than the grounded reality (We’ve all been there, who didn’t want a Segway?!).
Today, brands across the globe have spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing their own branded apps and the vast majority of these apps have flopped for an array of different reasons including not investing enough in media for consumers to be aware the app is available, to cost prohibitive maintenance costs, to people just having app fatigue and the thought of downloading one more app being too hard.
Why this sudden reluctance for building apps has emerged is pertinent (& timely) when looking at the potential success for Contactless Communications and the available technologies offered; Near Field Communications and Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons.
If brands are moving away from developing their own applications the sudden benefit of Beacons becomes hugely limited as Beacons need to interface with an app in order to function.
As stated in previous posts, for most large brands, their app install base is extremely low which makes a Beacon investment difficult because they won’t be able to communicate with a meaningful amount of people, more importantly all these people will be existing not new consumers. This is where we are seeing huge enthusiasm and opportunity for Near Field Communications both from a brand and consumer lens.
In order to use NFC, the consumer requires no application to be installed whatsoever.
This is a massive and fundamentally critical point that is too quickly dismissed. For Beacons to need a consumer to download a specific app on the phone is the number 1 reason why their scope and deployment is limited in Tapit’s opinion.
There is also another critical and equally fundamental point that is often missed when discussing Beacons and this is primarily to do with pushing content to the user vs. pulling which is how NFC operates.
Back in the early 2000s Bluetooth failed due to many companies pushing useless content to people that annoyed them which resulted in people turning their Bluetooth off. Beacons run a very similar risk because all it takes is for one brand to overstep the mark and all of a sudden people en-masse are turning off their Bluetooth and the entire apparatus of Beacons falls away because if Bluetooth is turned off by the user the Beacon can’t communicate with the consumer via the app.
Compare this with NFC, not only does it require no app but the customer at all times controls the information flow as they need to tap their phone on the NFC tag to access the content.
Not surprisingly, consumers prefer NFC to alternative methods of contactless technologies such as Beacons and QR codes. A recent study by Strategy Analytics highlighted how much consumers loved the NFC experience for its simplicity over more cumbersome technologies such as Beacons and QR codes.
Our recommendation to brands across the world is now is the time to consider the power of enabling your objects and environments with Tapit using NFC, with over 1,000,000,000 NFC supported smartphones in market by the end of this year it is a truly mass market technology that is yelling out for brands to introduce a new type of consumer interactivity that is truly magical.
It is important to note that Tapit offers an agnostic suite of contactless services including NFC, Beacons and QR all managed by the Tapit Platform.
The views expressed in this article are primarily aimed at the majority (brands that have low app users) vs. the minority (brands that have large app users).
See recent commentary from Tapit on Facebook testing Beacons in NYC.