Technology trend experts suggest 2015 will be a big year for beacons. Some analysts predict beacons could influence around 7% of US retail store sales. (Business Insider) But what exactly are beacons and how will they impact your company’s brand experience?
Beacons are essentially small devices that activate alerts on a users’ smartphone when the phone is in the proximity of a beacon device. The devices send out a signal via Bluetooth and your phone picks up these signals and triggers an alert or some type of function on your phone.
Beacons and Brand Experience
So, how do beacons help build a brand’s experience?
A restaurant, for example, can use a beacon to alert customers with the special of the day as they walk by their restaurant. Once inside a beacon on the table can pull up the restaurants app and the user can order drinks on the spot.
Similarly, if you are running an event, beacons can be used to greet event attendees as they enter the event. Once inside they can easily find key meeting areas with their smartphones, guided by beacons.
Because beacons can track where a user is located via Bluetooth, it can also decipher where users spend the most time in a given space. Providing data on where the users spend the most time can impact store layout plans, where products should be placed, and even where employee presence should be heightened. Beacons offer a wealth of data for small shops, stores and even gas stations.
Retail stores will potentially see the highest return with beacons. If a user picks up a certain shirt with a beacon next to it, they can send that person a special incentive (e.g., if the shopper likes them on Facebook they will get a discount).
Retailers can also use beacons to showcase a particular product in use. If a shopper picks up a snowboard at the Burton store with a beacon on it, the TV above the user will seamlessly display a product review.
Beacons can also be used as an ad space. Large grocery stores can place beacons around the store and enlist advertisers to place advertisements. This same use can also apply to local pubs and bars. Offering ad space to patrons with special incentives to purchase can drive sales and offer a new revenue stream for business owners.
The Rise and Impending Fall of Beacons
Now here’s the thing. Every new marketing technique eventually gets run into the ground and drained of most, if not all, of its impact. Look at email marketing or Google Ads. When they first started they were very successful. Now it has become harder to reach consumers through the use of these marketing tactics since many blow them off.
Beacons will likely experience the same exact novelty and ultimately fizzle out. They will be creative and successful then more marketers will get into the space and ruin it. It’s just the sad truth. Beacons are the next thing, so start preparing now to use them instead of waiting until after marketers ruin them.
This article has been edited and condensed.
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