The most important job of the restaurant marketer is to drive traffic to their locations – that means changing guest behavior while they’re on-the-go, in the midst of choosing a restaurant. That’s why geofencing makes so much sense for restaurants.
Retailers with many departments within a single location, on the other hand, benefit from iBeacon, since their job is to add to the consumer’s shopping cart while in the store. Retail giant Macy’s, for example, piloted iBeacon technology to offer special department-based rewards.
At some point in the future, savvy restaurant marketers will want to add to guest orders by sending in-store contextual messages, but the technology is not quite there yet. Let’s let the retailers work out all the nuances, push all mobile platforms (I’m looking at you, Android market) to adopt the iBeacon technology, train consumers to keep their bluetooth technology enabled, and develop an easy way to manage the deployment of the hardware.
Other possible beacon drawbacks include troubleshooting the beacons when they age or breakdown. Rightly or wrongly, I picture aging beacons acting like my home fire detectors – when one starts acting up, mayhem breaks out. I wouldn’t want to snooparound for hours to track down the offending device.
What do you think of beacons versus geofencing for restaurants? Leave your comments below.