The Beacon Beckons!

Friday 13th, November 2015

beacon photoYou walk into an Apple store in the US. Your official Apple Store application for iPhone will let you shop for new items, check to see if your phone is eligible for any upgrades or pick up an order that you have placed earlier.

You are now in the realm of beacons.

The latest thing in retail is the beacon marketing campaign. It was just as recent as January 6, 2014, that an app developer in the US rolled out multi-retailer Beacons, to 150+ grocery stores in Seattle, San Francisco and Cleveland. What it did was to allow customers to get location-specific information, like highly targeted and relevant coupons for products based on the fixture they were headed towards. Now with retailers tuned into what Beacons can offer, more and more people are jumping on to the band wagon. A footwear brand decided to install beacons in 25 retail outlets. Shoppers were not told which stores the beacons were installed in, but the first one to get a message on his phone, will win a free pair of shoes! In each store!

A very optimistic study found that

  • 60 percent of shoppers engage with beacon-triggered content
    • 30 percent of shoppers redeem beacon-triggered offers at the point of purchase
  • 73 percent of shoppers surveyed said that beacon-triggered content and offers increased their likelihood to purchase during their store visit
    • 61 percent said they would shop more at stores with beacons and also that they would buy more because of beacon-triggered marketing messages

Proximity marketing is changing the customer experience, increasing brand affinity and driving sales in a way never imagined before. Beacon marketing is one way that retailers address the customers’ expectations of personalized shopping experiences, with messages being delivered to them through their preferred channels. They are already all over the place – at some airports and sports stadiums, the Super Bowl, Tribeca Film Festival, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Walgreens and Marriott, to name a few.  Businesses like Kenneth Cole, Tesco and Aloft Hotels, use beacon technology to create more compelling, personalized customer experiences.


Beacons are small wireless devices used to trigger the delivery of location-specific mobile content. They are just transmitters that basically beam location data to Bluetooth-enabled smartphones. Beacons use Bluetooth 4.0 – a new format of Bluetooth that is built into everything from all iPhones from Apple 4S upwards and Android devices like Samsung Galaxy S III. The coolest thing? Bluetooth 4.0 does not require devices to be paired. The special thing about them is that they can trigger the delivery of hyper-targeted mobile content through a mobile app at a particular time and location. Mobile browsers cannot recognize beacon signals, and so mobile apps are necessary for any beacon marketing program. Beacon marketing is an indoor mobile marketing platform, where opted-in consumers can get digital content and offers from retailers and brands on their smartphones while they shop in stores. The impact that this kind of beacon marketing has on the behavior of shoppers is tremendous. There are at least 50 different battery-friendly broadcasting devices offering many options for Bluetooth-powered beacons, including those from manufacturing heavyweights such as Qualcomm and Motorola.


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