The New Reach Of Beacons: Broadway, Rite-Aid, Sales Terminals

Beacons may be the most pervasive connected devices that consumers experience in the near future. They have been a couple of years in the making, but beacons are now starting to be rolled out in some serious scale.

Last week at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York, Verifone said that going forward, its point-of-sale terminals would have beacons from Footmarks built in. And since Verifone is one of the largest makers of those terminals in the world, that translates into a large number of beacons.

The pharmacy chain Rite-Aid recently told the world that it has rolled out beacons from InMarket in more than 4,500 of its stores. This essentially transforms Rite-Aid stores into a platform that can connect to The Internet of Things. Rite-Aid shoppers who have the chain’s app or any of the many that tie into the InMarket system can receive relevant messages and offers once they opt in.

The number of beacons being deployed and activated is exploding. Not that long ago, the CEO of Shopkick told me that the company has deployed more than 20,000 beacons in more than 14,000 stores.

And it’s isn’t only retailers where beacons are popping up.

All the Broadway theaters in New York that use the famous Playbill magazine are being beaconed, so that theatergoers can receive an interactive companion for the theater experience.

The theaters are being outfitted with Gimbal beacons and other location-based technology with Urban Airship’s mobile engagement platform. Audiences can receive messages when they are in the theater, before the show, during intermission and after the show ends.

Gimbal beacons also are at major professional sports arenas and concert venues.

From a content delivery standpoint, beacons are going to be a major triggering device, no matter where a consumer is located. And now, almost anywhere consumers go, they can experience the impact.

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5 comments about "The New Reach Of Beacons: Broadway, Rite-Aid, Sales Terminals".
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  1. Doc Searls from ProjectVRM, January 25, 2016 at 12:06 p.m.

    Are any beacons being programmed for anything other than selling stuff? Like, for example, making stuff people actually want easier to find? Just wondering.

  2. greg davis from mbmg digital, January 25, 2016 at 2:18 p.m.

    Beacons can be used promotionally or without any commercial interest...it just happens to be that advertisers are the ones eager to spend money to leverage this data.  But think about the day you have a mobile coupon (say, at a huge store like Home Depot) and the coupon could be attributed directly to the aisle in the store where the product is stocked?  I think what we all marveled at in Minority Report with the personalized billboards is the notion of relevance and all screens in sync talking to each other.

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 25, 2016 at 4:09 p.m.

    Yes, Doc, and good question. Most of the publicized cases are of what you describe, selling things. But that quickly wears off and then companies look to beaconing to gather useful information, such as store traffice patters to allocated staff (which doesn't always work, of course)

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 25, 2016 at 4:10 p.m.

    Right, Greg, especially for those who are interested in such targeting....even if not for all.

  5. Ted Fagenson from Skrownge, January 28, 2016 at 7:09 p.m.

    Our company leverages beacons to personalize consumer entertainment with content changing based on the location of the consumer.  Unlike GPS, beacons are precise and dependable, especially with in-door destinations.  Entertainment such as challenges, treasure hunts, mysteries, etc. incorporate location technology to create a fun, interactive environment.   
    With more than 120 million U.S. mobile gamers today, nearly have of them women and 65% between the ages of 20 and 50, you can see why the marriage of entertainment and beacons have the potential to be a game-changing consumer engagement media.