How Beacon Technology Will Affect The Customer Shopping Experience

11.18.2015 Articles

The retail industry has been buzzing about beacon technology and how it will affect the customer shopping experience. Haven’t kept a pulse on this trendy new technology? Have no fear; we’ve got the whole scoop for you including exactly what beacons do and the impact they can make on your customers and sales.

What is beacon technology? 

Beacons are small, battery operated devices that can be placed anywhere in a retail environment and will “talk” to any smart phone within a certain radius by emitting signals to the apps downloaded on a user’s smart phone. Mobile apps “listen” for signals emitted from beacons in the physical world via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). With this technology, retailers are able to pinpoint a customer’s exact location within their brick and mortar retail environment and then communicate with them through push notifications.

What opportunity does this present to retailers?

With beacon technology, retailers are able to send push notifications to customers on their smart phones. These notifications usually come in the form of offers and advertisements based on knowing the customer’s location in the store and/or their past purchases. For example, a customer wandering in Aisle 4 looking for a certain product could potentially be sent a notification letting them know about an item that they have purchased in the past, which is currently on sale in Aisle 7.

Retailers will have the potential to monitor how much time shoppers spend in their store, what areas they spend the most time in, and their traffic patterns during their store visits. With all of this information available, retailers will then be able to analyze the customer shopping flow and arrange retail fixtures and displays accordingly.

Today, customers expect personalized offers from retailers and beacon technology helps make that possible. By connecting to customers’ smart phones and apps, beacons have the potential to pull data on favorite products, saved shopping lists, or other user history to help populate a highly customized offer for the customer at the right moment.

Using the new technology, retailers will be able to:

  • Notify the closest store representative to assist a customer
  • Offer navigation and turn-by-turn directions to help customers find products or certain areas of the store (think product displays, restrooms, etc.)
  • Check price points and inventory levels
  • Send customized and timely offers and coupons

Customers will be able to:

  • Receive notifications regarding specific products on sale and other store promotions
  • Get information on products they care about
  • Navigate the store environment to more easily find what they need

Who is using beacon technology?

Currently, beacon technology is being tested and implemented by many large retailers including Target, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Walmart, to name a few. However, retailers aren’t the only ones utilizing the new technology. American Airlines and some Major League Baseball enterprises are trying out beacon technology to offer deals and encourage seat upgrades.

What’s the conclusion?

Beacon technology is still in its infancy and we are learning more about it as testing continues; the benefits it will provide to retailers and other industries are still being discovered. If used correctly, the potential opportunity to offer customers even more personalized in-store shopping experiences is significant. Learn more about us and our approach to beacon technology.