Beacon technology was first debuted by Apple in 2013 as part of iOS7 at the World Wide Developer Conference. From there, it was installed in Apple shops to provide customers with in-store notifications about items, product reviews, and deals. Other retailers jumped into the test market in 2014 with the aim of providing prices and links to online purchasing as customers entered a beacon’s 50-meter range. Initially, customers had to download an app to receive the beacon’s information. Customers were also tracked on how long they spent looking at an item and their method of purchase so that retailers could form a more accurate and personalized marketing strategy.
Largely popular downloaded apps like Facebook and Shazam, begin integrating beacons into their functionality early into 2015. Later that year, Google launched a competitor to Apple’s iBeacon called Eddystone. Google’s version of the technology was designed to provide location-based content to your smartphone and, more importantly, was compatible across platforms.
As popularity of beacon technology lagged in 2016, Google recognized the general population’s reluctance to download apps to receive proximity marketing from beacons. The company worked on making it possible for people to use the feature without downloading any apps. They saw positive results from their efforts and a resurgence in popularity.
ABOUT BEACON TECHNOLOGY
Beacons are small, wireless transmitters that utilize low-energy Bluetooth technology. One of the latest developments in location technology and proximity marketing, beacons connect and transmit information to smart devices making location-based searching and interaction easier and more accurate. Each beacon device contains a CPU, radio, and batteries. The device works by repeatedly broadcasting out an identifier which is picked up by your mobile device. Your smartphone recognizes as unique to the beacon and the unique ID number that has been transmitted marks out an important place in your environment.
BUSINESS BENEFITS OF BEACON TECHNOLOGY
Improved offline attribution with Google Ads
Connecting the signals of your beacons to your brand’s Google Ads account provides insight into the offline activity of consumers who search your brand name and may potentially help track consumers’ in-store visits. Given the amount of money businesses spend on their online advertising efforts, the ability to attribute the number of online users that walk into the store is extremely important. Furthermore, by tracking key interaction points, businesses can understand how effective their digital ads are at driving customers and sales to their physical locations and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.
Mobile devices have become an integral part of everyday life. Implementing proximity marketing adds another dimension to your digital strategy. You can transmit information you want your potential customers to have directly to any receptive devices that are within the range of your beacon. You can send messages related to discounts or loyalty programs and brands you represent can also push product discounts via your beacons. This location-based technology allows you to personalize your proximity marketing and helps monetize potential foot traffic.
Gathering advanced data
Bluetooth technology is an improvement on other proximity technologies like GPS and WiFi even though the accuracy provided by beacons is a hotly debated subject. With the greater accuracy offered by beacon technology, brands can gather more reliable information on how and where customers are moving within their physical locations. This movement data can be used in conjunction with ecommerce data to improve product listings or store layout and to tailor future marketing campaigns based on consumer behaviors.
Google My Business
A detailed and up-to-date Google My Business listing is essential for local search engine optimization (SEO). Beacons can improve the accuracy shown in your listing regarding popular visiting times. They also help brands gather additional information on customer check-ins to allow can request that those consumers go one step further and upload images of their visit to your physical location.
CUSTOMER BENEFITS OF BEACON TECHNOLOGY
Beacons add an additional layer of personalized interaction during the shopping experience which helps to improve the user experience and build consumer trust. The overwhelming options available in both online and offline retail marketing make it more important than ever to build trust in your brand. Ads and offers from random retailers are a quick turn off but targeted marketing from a favorite brand offers security and familiarity to a loyal customer base.
Relevant, real-time information
Beacons installed around a physical store can alert employees to your presence. They can access your customer profile to be able to greet you by name, review your personal details, purchase history and preferences, and more. The personalized messages we mentioned above can be pushed out to you as you are looking at specific products. Brands can send you detailed information about the item or even guidance about pairing the item with another. For example, if you are looking at a pair of dress slacks, you might receive a pop-up message on your mobile that encourages you to look at a complementing suit coat.
When a shopper is in a rush to buy something, she might very well walk away from the purchase if the service is slow. Beacons can alert staff members as to who you are, what you’ve been shopping for, and where you are in the store. If you’ve made an online purchase that requires a store pick up, the staff will know as soon as you are near the location and can have your items ready to go when you walk into the store.
Offers and discounts
One of the most basic benefits of beacons is that they allow retailers to send discounts, bargains, and other sales information to you in real time. They can alert you to how many items are still available or of any spur of the moment price breaks. While some shoppers go to a physical store with specific purchases in mind, most will appreciate offers of similar or complementing items especially if they might be able to get a better deal.
Ability to opt in/opt out
Privacy and the protection of personal information are at the top of consumers’ concerns. A great feature of beacons is that customers can decide whether or not they want to share their location with a brand and are able to do it on an app by app basis. Not to mention that a consumer’s device has to have Bluetooth enabled in order for a beacon to even detect the device. Brands are also required to offer a way to opt out of future communications with every notification sent. Consumers always have a choice as to whether or not they interact via beacon technology.
Beacon technology has advanced significantly since 2013 and is expected to see continued growth. Android devices pull more than 40 billion queries for beacon-related content from Google services every year. In addition, Global Market Insights predicted that the beacon technology market will surpass $25 billion by 2024. With still more potential, beacon technology is expected to contribute to the marketing landscape in the coming years. Beacons can help you better understand your audience and are relatively inexpensive in comparison to other technologies. When integrated to support and complement other marketing activities, the user-focused proximity marketing potential of beacon technology is unparalleled.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand how overwhelming the technology options can be for both novice and experienced companies. We’d love to learn more about your brand, your goals, your immediate and long-term marketing needs, and help you reach the next level, technology included. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can create a personalized marketing plan that works with your particular business goals and budget. Let’s get started!