Has Beacon Technology Finally Arrived?

Oct 04, 2016

(graphic credit: GolfBusinessMonitor.com)

Beacon technology first started generating buzz in 2013, when Apple first introduced iBeacon technology. In a nutshell, beacons transmit small amounts of data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and can be used for indoor and outdoor location technology applications.

It's been a little slow to catch on, but last year beacon technology accounted for $4.1 billion in sales, and  BI Intelligence reporting estimated that beacons would be driving $44 billion in-store sales will be influenced by beacon-triggered messages in the U.S. by the end of 2016. That's a mind-boggling stat!

Beacon Technology & Personalization

With the growing emphasis and consumer acceptance of retail personalization, brands that integrate beacons with their apps or Google products and services can further optimize the customer experience and bridge the gaps between channels.

Beacon technology is perfect for "nearby notifications," and location-based marketing and proximity marketing with beacons are projected to grow exponentially in the next few years.

Delivering a personalized shopping experience requires individual consumer behavior and until beacon technology arrived, it's been difficult if not impossible for retailers to include in-store behavior as a part of their digital marketing strategy. BLE technology will give retailers greater insight into customer behaviors such as, how much time they spend in a store, what they buy, and even how they navigate or shop the store.

That kind of data has some really interesting potential for optimizing both the in-store and online shopping experiences. For example, a retailer could deliver a 1:1 personalized product recommendation or offer to a customer in the store based on their online purchasing behavior and preferences. Likewise, in-store purchase data could be fed to the personalization engine to make the online experience even more relevant.

Retailers interested in taking advantage of beacon technology to deliver a friction-less and personalized any-channel experience need two key components:
  • Predictive recommendation engine — A powerful predictive recommendation engine combines sophisticated machine-learning technology and enables merchandisers to control the customer experience through a user-friendly workbench.
  • Beacon technology — Apple isn’t the only game in town when it comes to beacon technology. In reality, Apple doesn’t actually make beacons; they developed the iBeacon standard around which beacons can be built. (Google has its own beacon standard, Eddystone.) There are a number of players in the beacon manufacturing space—not only Kontakt, but also BlueSense, Gelo, Estimote, and others. 
If nothing else, it's a fascinating topic and a technology trend that is worth watching. Tell us what you think in the Comments section below!


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