YAP’s beacon just wants your shopping to be fun

While at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai conference, I had an opportunity to walk through a day like a Yapper, and it’s an eye-opening experience.

Launched in 2014, South Korea-based Yap is a location-based integrated online-to-offline (O2O) commerce and payments platform — and now, that means beacons.

Calling it a “breakthrough innovation for the indolent people of the world,” once deployed in stores or with other outlets, their Yap beacon will broadcast pop-up coupons, offers, memberships, other useful information, as well as an opportunity to purchase, as long as the Android app is installed but not necessarily turned on.

The beacon also uses a unique tone to remind the user and the store of each others whereabouts. It was the first hybrid beacon in Korea, using Bluetooth and ultrasound to communicate with passing users.

YAP and the buying decision

The service is currently available in South Korea and Vietnam, and is coming to China soon. A North American rollout is also expected.

While the U.S. is just getting around to the widespread adoption of not having to swipe decades-old magnetic strip technology stuck to piece of plastic, the battle in the payments arena will likely focus on “beacons versus NFC” in the near future.

YAP may be an concept who’s time is now, especially in North America. What the connected consumer experience looks like for brand-conscious buyers could wind up centering more around payments systems than impulse indulgence.

Being reminded that you’d like to buy something without instant fulfillment could doom some branded IoT technologies to fad status — really, Amazon, how much Play-Doh do we need — rather than actually enabling the impulse decision to purchase with a seamless transaction process.

It may be a consumer’s emotional “chicken and egg” – do we browse for fun and buy because we have money or are we always ready to buy and our financial resources are our only limit? Outstanding credit analysis of the U.S. consumer marketplace might provide clues, but the fewer step needs to incentivize a customer to buy certainly makes that decision to buy much easier.

And, of course, YAP could use the beacon to educate users about wise purchasing choices, too. It will be an interesting to see how technologies like these play out.

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