You may have heard about beacon technology, but your not too sure what it is. Even though the technology has been around for awhile, beacon technology is one of the hottest marketing tactics for retailers right now.
According to Newzoo, there will be 3.6 billion smartphone users by 2020.
In order to connect with these mobile users, businesses are looking to proximity marketing to capture people nearby, with the goal of increasing foot traffic — which doesn’t work for all types of businesses.
What is a beacon?
Beacons are Bluetooth-enabled small transmitters that can broadcast a signal to a nearby device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, to display a message.
Retailers and businesses are using this technology to push highly-targeted and hyper-local promotions, product information, and general messages to individuals that are close in proximity to a beacon.
How does beacon technology work?
An individual will need to install the retailer’s or a third-party app onto their mobile device. They will need to enable in-store notifications as well as enable their Bluetooth setting on their mobile device.
Once the opt-in conditions are agreed to, the company can start to deliver message notifications to that individual’s smartphone or tablet. The mobile app will now “listen” for beacon signals and display any notifications sent to the device.
Now consumers will receive highly targeted ads for the items or services they want, and retailers will be able to collect customer data, which the retailer could use for future promotions, pricing strategies, in-store displays, and other marketing channels.
Beacon adoption challenges
With any new technology, beacon adoption does have some challenges.
First off, the consumer has to actively install a mobile app from the retailer or third-party developer. This could put off the consumer to have to install multiple apps on a phone that may have limited storage.
Secondly, there is a three-step process for the consumer to receive the notifications. They have to turn on Bluetooth, allow the mobile app to use the location services on the mobile device, and then opt-in to receiving the notifications.
For the retailers, there are challenges as well.
You either need to invest in a mobile application for your business or partner with a third-party provider that has a high number of installs for their mobile app.
You will also need a large consumer base near your retail location in order to market to those who may be using this beacon technology. The retailer will need to invest in multiple beacons since the range of the beacons is a bit limiting.
Finally, the privacy issue and transparency on how the retailer is able to track the consumer’s movements within the store could be a concern.
Examples of beacon uses
There are numerous uses for beacon technology. Here are just a few examples:
- Facebook Place Tips – Facebook is testing beacon technology that will place a company’s latest Facebook posts, upcoming events, or a friend’s recommendation at the top of their user’s Facebook page when they are inside the store.
- Historical Landmarks – The city of Mount Dora in Florida uses beacon technology to provide visitors information about historical landmarks around the city.
- In-Store Product Information – Retail giant Target is using beacon technology in 50 of their stores.
- Daily Deals – RetailMeNot partnered up with Gimbal for a test rollout of beacon-powered daily deals.
- Enhanced Fan Experience – The Orlando Magic were the first NBA team to deploy beacon technology in their arena to enhance their fan’s experience.
- Airport Notifications – Airports across the country are using beacon technology to send out departure, delay, gate change notifications.
- Real-time Transit Information – Google Maps and TriMet teamed up to provide real-time transit information at 87 MAX light rail station platforms.
If your local business is considering beacon technology to better market to your in-store shoppers, we can help. Contact Thrive to learn how we can get your business set up. Call 817.642.9686 or contact us online.