Beacon and iBeacon technology in plain English.

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The latest Beacon technology, inspired by Apple’s development of iBeacon, is starting to build some serious momentum in the industry. Sure it sparked interest since its introduction in 2013, but recently it seems that everyone has been ‘taking home the beacon.’ BI Intelligence predicted that by the end of this year, Beacon technology will account for $44 billion in retail sales alone. Entrepreneurs and businesses all over the world are starting to realize its potential and how it can revolutionize customer experience. If you’re new to this, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a relatively new technology that is barely starting to get attention from the mainstream media.

iBeacon, Beacons, I Beg your Pardon?!

iBeacon was created by Apple and enables smart devices to communicate with its environment through bluetooth low-energy (BLE). Since than, a plethora of organizations have produced their own compatible hardware carriers known as beacons. So in a nutshell, iBeacon allows the apps on your iPhone to interact with beacons in your general vicinity. Still lost? Let’s say that you are a retailer and have a mobile application for your business. Assuming that customers have the app installed on their mobile device, as soon as they get into the range of your store’s beacons, they will receive a notification on their device advertizing daily discounts, special promotions or a digital coupon. Speaking of lost, this technology enables basically an indoor GPS for customers that may need assistance navigating to a specific location in your shop. This has proven to be most valuable for the visually impaired and disabled shoppers.

That’s a Great Concept and All, But are Retailers Benefitting from Beacon Technology?

Research has shown that retailers are experiencing a number of benefits from the use of Beacons. A poll from Retail Touchpoints showed that over 70% of retailers confirmed that they are able to better understand customer browsing and buying patterns. Roughly 60% said that they are able to improve engagement and target customers while over 50% claimed that they can create more intriguing and relevant offers while patrons are shopping. According to the 2016 Future of Retail, consumers are sharing the enthusiasm for Beacons as well. Nearly 70% of respondents said that Beacons could improve their in-store shopping encounters and are most receptive to coupons along with online product reviews.

Take a Look at some Retailers who have Installed Beacon Technology

Macys- Macy’s initiated a nationwide installation of more than 4,000 beacons. Last year, the retailer implemented a mobile gaming app to boost customer engagement with a chance to win $1 million worth of gift codes and other prizes.

Target- The second largest US retailer started to test out Beacons last year and have adopted a more conservative approach. They limited the number of push notifications to only 2 per shopping trip to avoid redundancy. Customers receive updates on the retailer’s ‘Target Run’ page which is like a social media newsfeed filled with top products, discounts and more.

WoolWorths- This retailer has experienced a high level of success utilizing Beacons with their ‘click and collect’ model. This allows clients to place an order in or outside of the store. The beacons than notify the staff to start completing the order and alerts the customer when their order(s) is ready.

About 6 million beacons are currently installed worldwide and at this pace, the numbers will continue to climb. What do you think about the future of Beacons in businesses? How can the use of beacons benefit your retail business? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!

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