Friday, April 11, 2014

The Contextual Connection

I know that people are sometimes concerned with beacons and privacy, but in fact I think that beacons can have the reverse effect. For example, in the OfferDrop consumer in-store app, all users are anonymous but can still communicate and engage with merchants and receive offers anonymously.

Mobile patrons can link within the app with Twitter/Facebook, if they like, to socialize with their own network, but within OfferDrop and with the OfferDrop in-store merchant they are completely anonymous entities. How does this work? It works because the connection between merchant and shopper is based on physical proximity which makes it a contextual connection between all the parties involved (but private) and that is validated by the beacon which sits in the center of all this.

This is possible because beacons are local and in the moment contextual devices so the merchant can trust that they are engaging with communication or delivering an offer to someone in their store. This is hugely powerful. Then via anonymous but unique identification, the merchant can optionally continue the conversation with the customer after they leave the store with mobile push notifications, messages...etc. By both parties making that initial "contextual connection" they know a lot about each other without compromising their identity.

OfferDrop lets the merchant follow up with relevant offers both in and out of the store, once both parties (merchant and customer) have made that first initial in-store "contextual connection". This frees the merchant from tracking email addresses or needing to know your identity. And shoppers gets to use the OfferDrop mobile consumer app without logging in - no more remember passwords since the app is running on their personal smartphone. OfferDrop knows them by their mobile ID, since mobile devices are personal objects that more or less identify a unique user.

So beacons and contextual computing are actually a benefit to privacy and improve merchant marketing and advertising opportunities while keeping the consumer protected and connected with the best possible contextual experience with the world around them. Everyone benefits with mobile, beacons and contextual computing. The world of advertising, marketing and customer engagement (even customer support) will forever change with the advent of iBeacons and contextual computing. With contextual communication people can go beyond blasting obscure posts and messages to he whole world to see or to some distant virtual social network, instead people can engage with the world around them like never before - come back to real world - lots of cool things to see and experience :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

OfferDrop Merchant App Release 1.3

OfferDrop is happy to announce the release of OfferDrop Merchant App for the iPad. This latest release delivers some exciting features to local merchants be allowing merchants and developers the ability to manage and add their own Estimote beacons as well as support for other iBeacon compatible manufacturers. This release also includes advanced spam control and optimized mobile offer deliver features so that merchants can reach mobile shoppers and keep them engaged with well timed and optimized in-store notifications.

OfferDrop is a new kind of digital marketing and customer contact platform designed to work out of the box and can be used directly by local merchants (low cost and easy to get started fast) and is ideal for digital marketing agencies as well that need more sophisticated tools and customization (white labeled mobile consumer apps).

To make this happen OfferDrop uses all the usual technologies such as mobile, Push Notifications and cloud based CMS technology, but OfferDrop also incorporate iBeacan and peer-to-peer communication for the local experience and engagement. And OfferDrop has a number of advanced technology capabilities that help govern, in an efficient and optimized manner, both the in-store and out-of-store mobile customer experience.

OfferDrop is not another push notification campaign management solution, instead OfferDrop has built a mobile first platform that allows merchants to engage with local shoppers while visitors are in the store and out of the store, and with a focus on in-store communication and customer retention. OfferDrop lowers the barrier of entry for merchants and digital marketing agencies and delivers a solution where the smartphone shopper/visitor is in control of their mobile contextual experience.