Retailors Guide To Beacon Technology

19 Jun

In 2013, Apple amazed the retail and advertising industries by introducing its iBeacon technology. Google followed this with its Eddystone technology introduction in 2015. According to a Business Insider report, Beacon technology will drive the value of retail sales to more than $44 billion.

In the early years of this technology, beacons had problems with being too slow. But thanks to large scale innovations in mobile app development which have enhanced beacon technology, all of this has changed for the better.

Beacons are “Bluetooth Low Energy” (BLE) devices which are small in size and battery operated. Their Bluetooth signals are transmitted repeatedly so that smartphones in the local vicinity can detect them. Although, smartphones on the receiving end must have the proper mobile application already installed for the detection to work.

There is beacon infrastructure already found with huge retail storefronts like CVS, Urban Outfitters, Target, and Macy’s. As the technology continues to experience a popularity growth, it may give brick-and-mortar stores a second shot at life. This beacon infrastructure gives patrons a shopping experience like no other. You certainly can’t experience this online.

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Let’s go over the basics of beacon technology and how retailers can benefit from it. More importantly, we’ll talk about how your business can use beacon technology to attract more customers.

How it Works

A retailer puts beacons in their store which emit signals that specific mobile applications can detect through Bluetooth. In other words, users who’ve downloaded the store’s app will receive advertisements and offers from the beacons to their smartphones as they’re walking around in the physical store.

Communication through beacon technology involves using small data packets for sending ads. It is quite simple communication too. Only the beacon has the power to send content to smartphones with the apps installed. The smartphone users cannot send information back to the beacons.

The beacon technology platform, Swirl, conducted a study which revealed that over 70% of retail consumers were more likely to make a purchase in the store after they received an offer from the beacon. The study also revealed that 60% of consumers have a better chance of visiting a brick-and-mortar store if it has beacons which send offers to their smartphones. Another 61% claimed to go to a brick-and-mortar store just to receive the beacon marketing campaign offers.

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Beacons are a great form of proximity marketing for enhancing the experience of customers, increasing sales, and increasing brand equity. Retailers who’ve already used these beacons are showing great results and are coming up with new ways to enhance their campaigns based on current statistics. As for the retailers who haven’t tried this beacon technology yet, they need to do it soon before their competition takes over.

Beacon Technology Benefits

Many customers are glued to their smartphones no matter where they go. By using beacon technology in your brick-and-mortar store, you can easily capture their attention when they walk into your store and are staring at their phones. You can increase customer engagement by sending them special offers which make them want to purchase something in your store.

Beacon technology not only increases customer engagement, but it also enhances their experience in the store. Aside from sending exclusive discounts to customers, you could also send them recommendations and reward offers too. The idea is to make your potential customers feel special and of value to your store. If a potential customer walks past your store without knowing what’s inside it, your beacon can tell them about your store and what it offers. Perhaps you’re selling what they’re looking for.

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Personal Impact

Retailers become empowered by beacon technology to produce a highly personalized experience for their customers and widening their scope.

An Effective Marketing Tool

The days of radio, television, and print advertisements are becoming obsolete. If you want to attract patrons into your brick-and-mortar store, you’ll have better luck by sending them rich content and special offers straight to their smartphones as they’re passing by. This is what beacon technology can do for you.

Contextual ads can be delivered to your customers based on where they’re located in your store. This provides an even bigger incentive for them to make a purchase as they’re near a particular product.

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Personalization is the Key

eBay and a lot of other e-commerce businesses have technology which recognizes the buying patterns of their users. Based on these patterns, the buyers receive personalized recommendations for items which will most likely interest them. Beacon technology does the same thing with the customers in the store. It recognizes which items interest them so that retailers can send them relevant ads. These could be personalized product recommendations, coupons, or vouchers for those items which are of interest to them. As a result, your customers will have a better shopping experience because they don’t have to wait for a sales associate to come to help them. They can get help right on their smartphone from your beacon content.

Retail Data (Offline)

Information about customer shopping patterns is crucial for retailers to have. For example, beacon technology can let you know which coupons were used by your customers and on what day they were used. Based on this information, you can study the demographics and structure your future deals around them.

Affordable Cost

Don’t worry about the cost of this beacon technology because it is affordable to purchase and maintain. Product Mavens claimed that up to four iBeacon transmitters linked to a CMS or app cost roughly $100. It is easy to obtain and install this beacon technology too. There is very little risk involved here.

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App Usage Growth

Many people will download apps onto their smartphones and then never use them again. But they don’t need to run the app if they’re close to a Beacon device. Ads will automatically pop up onto their screen when they’re near the Beacon. According to a study by Product Mavens, beacon installations resulted in a 400% increase in people’s engagement with mobile apps.

How to Start Using Beacons

To get started, you must buy a beacon plan and some beacon devices. Some of the most reputable beacon vendors include, Mobiquity, Sonic Notify, Gelo, Estimote, BlueCats, and Gimbal.

After you’ve installed the beacons in your store, the next step is motivating your customers to download the app. Perhaps you could tell them that they’ll get special deals if they download the app. Put a lot of advertisements and beacon symbols around your store to get customers more curious about downloading the app. Let people on Facebook know too.


By creating mobile app with support of beacon technology for your brick-and-mortar store, you can show customers that physical storefronts are still a pretty cool place to be. You’re basically taking the classic concept of a brick-and-mortar store and adding modern day technology to it. This gives shoppers a unique experience which is entertaining, fun, and cost-effective for both parties. Your business will thrive faster than you think.

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