Beacons: So Much More Than Coupons

49fbe2b49a38bd1c18cc957dca613299 By Stephanie Crets

More and more retailers are taking advantage of beacon technology, but many don’t understand that they can be used for more than just offering coupons to consumers. They can be valuable tools in driving traffic and sales to retailers, along with providing customers with real-time, engaging experiences that can better connect them to the retailer’s brand. If customers are engaging in a different, but fun way, they’ll likely be more inclined to purchase and perhaps become repeat visitors. Beacons are even popping up in the fast food industry, stadiums, concert venues, theaters and banks.


According to Kristina Kroot, marketing manager at Mobiquity Networks, retailers can use beacons for a number of different functions:

  • As a way for their customers to pay for items without having to wait in line;
  • To measure the influence of marketing campaigns;
  • To provide additional product information to customers;
  • To help store personnel provide better service to in-store shoppers;
  • Retailers who have loyalty programs can reward their shoppers for shopping at their in-store location and for repeat visits;
  • Use knowledge of a mall or store visit to trigger retargeting campaigns through their omni-channel marketing tools.

Retailers should integrate beacon technology if they want to have more relevant, timely engagements with their customers. But Kroot warns not to push your brand too intensely. “Retailers should be cautious when using because the overuse of mobile messaging has the potential to alienate users,” she says. “The emphasis should be on lower quantity, higher quality consumer interaction, made possible by the location accuracy unlocked by beacon technology.”

This is important to keep in mind because beacons are at the mercy of the customer. If you’re bombarding them with messages or the messages are too generalized, the customer can choose to turn them off or even remove it entirely from their mobile device. Tailoring messages for every customer will inspire them to want to engage with the retailer.

Beacons typically have a range of about 55 yards and can suggest specific items to customers based on previous data collected about the user and the location. A study conducted by inMarket with 25,000 shoppers during a 30-day period in 2014 found that beacons have a significant impact upon the retailer when used properly. Some of the findings include:

  • Interactions with advertised products increased by 19 times for users who received a beacon message.
  • In-store app usage was 16.5 times greater for users who received a beacon message.
  • Shoppers who received a beacon message were 6.4 times more likely to keep an app on their phone versus those who did not.

It’s likely that customers will see and engage with more beacon technology over time and it’s important for retailers to get in while the technology is just warming up because it could be extremely beneficial in the long run.

"Having certainty about a user’s location allows the retailer to replace frequent, scattered messages with fewer messages that are delivered at just the right time and place; a much more efficient and elegant solution,” Kroot says. “For consumers, they will be able to receive more relevant, personalized experiences, whether it is a discount at their favorite retailer or a reminder of where they parked their car at the mall.”

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