Commentary

Beacons Living in the Shadow of Mobile Holiday Shopping

In the world of mobile commerce, all attention has been focused on holiday sales recently.

This is understandable, with mobile playing such a prominent role in Black Friday and Cyber Monday online activity.

For Cyber Monday, mobile traffic accounted for 41% of all online traffic, an increase of 30 percent from last year, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which is becoming the behemoth in the real-time tracking of online sales.

Mobile sales were also strong, reaching 22 percent of total Cyber Monday online sales, an increase of 28% from last year.  

Mobile also drove more than half of online shopping traffic on Thanksgiving. Various other holiday shopping studies showed similar results.

Perhaps a bit overshadowed with all the holiday shopping tracking is the continuing deployment and growth of beacons.

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Ever since the Regent Street beacon deployment in London, more beacon implementations have been rolling out in the United Kingdom.

For example, the retailer House of Fraser has beacons inside mannequins to allow window shoppers to purchase clothing on the mannequins from their phones.

Shoppers in Tesco stores can receive beacon-triggered price promotions and those in Swan Centre receive beaconed discounts via the store’s loyalty app.

And in banking, Barclays is launching a beaconing service that can alert someone working at the bank when a customer walks in so that more personalized service can be offered.

In India, beacons are being installed in malls so that brands can have messages sent to shoppers based on their proximity to their products.

Miami International Airport is launching beaconing to provide travelers with location-based information on shopping, flights, dining, ground transportation and airport parking.

There’s a massive beacon deployment in the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium to provide fans with real-time navigation information based on their location.

And these are in addition to other major beacon deployments we’ve written about here, such as at Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay, Macy’s, Urban Outfitters and Simon Malls, among others.

The point is that long after the stats of mobile on holiday shopping have been tabulated, absorbed and fade into the sunset, the growth of beacons will continue to march on and up.

And the growth of those numbers is just at the starting gate.

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Mark your beacon calendars: following the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference in New York, another has been scheduled in Chicago for Feb. 10.

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