Expanding Beacon Targeting in Stores, Trucks, Buses, Museums & More

The uses of beacons are expanding considerably from their early days not that long ago when many viewed them as a location device that could trigger an ad to a phone based on location.

Just within the last year, there have been numerous iterations of beaconing, all of which I’ve written about here.

  • Beacons have been used for CPG companies, such as in the launch of a new product by Tyson’s Hillshire Brands, using the InMarket beaconing system with results tabulated and analyzed by BPN, part of the IPG Mediabrands global network. That was a clear success by multiple measures (Tyson will be presenting and discussing its latest beaconing efforts at the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference in Chicago on Tuesday).
  • Hudson’s Bay and its Lord & Taylor stores installed beacons on the Swirl beacon platform into all their stores in North America, following a successful trial in several stores. Each store ran multiple ad campaigns based on shoppers entering certain departments or nearing specific brands.
  • Beacons from Autograph were installed in about 100 stores on Regent Street in London while Iconeme in London installed them in mannequins in store windows so mobile shoppers could purchase what the mannequin is wearing even when the store was closed.
  • Macy’s moved to install 4,000 beacons from Shopkick into all its stores while ShopX decided to give away a million beacons for free to retailers to jump start its platform.

And that was just the beginning.

Now a Michigan startup is tapping into beacons to solve a host of problems outside traditional spaces.

The proximity marketing company Gelo targets industrial and commercial markets rather than specific companies.

I caught up with Gelo co-founder Al Juarez this week to discuss some of their beacon implementations. He provided some examples:

  • A trucking and transportation company’s front-end loaders are equipped with tablets and the gravel hauling truck has a beacon so that when the truck is in the quarry, the tablet app finds the right truck to deliver the proper load.
  • A public bus transportation company publishes a mobile app for its riders and those passengers are then alerted when their appropriate stop comes. They also tell the person if they are on the right bus. On the other side, bus operators capture passive anonymous data to improve routes, thereby optimizing fuel consumption.
  • A heavy machinery company is using the beacons to detect when the operator is there and reminds them to upload data, such as machine hours and fuel consumption. Necessary maintenance information is then routed to national dealer networks.

In retail, Juarez says the company looked to address the issue of customer counts rather than messaging to shoppers.

Combined with a video traffic-counting system that tracks the number of shoppers who enter a retail location, a beacon was installed at the store entrance to automatically count employees, who carry keychain-sized beacons.

The employees then are eliminated from the shoppers counted entering and leaving the store.

The Gelo beacons also are being used at the Grand Rapids Public Museum to automate and replace some of the paper-based processes.

The point is that beaconing is spreading out.

Beacons are being installed in airports, transportation centers, shopping malls and ticketing outlets and the organizations deploying those beacons are learning quite a lot of lot about how their particular customer set responds.

They are seeing what does and doesn’t work.

One thing is becoming clear: while there may be many thousands of live beacons in the marketplace, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to beaconing.


Check out the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference agenda for Chicago Feb. 10.



2 comments about "Expanding Beacon Targeting in Stores, Trucks, Buses, Museums & More".
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  1. Neha Mallik from Mobstac, February 7, 2015 at 2:09 p.m.

    Great post Chuck. Beacons have the potential to enhance customer experiences like no other technology has had in recent times.Among the multitude of use cases across verticals, museums are my favourite. This is because, beacons fit in naturally in museums. They can be used for storytelling, guided tours, collect visitor insights and generate more revenue. Here's a nice post that captures it all:

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 7, 2015 at 8:32 p.m.

    Thanks, Neha, had actually seen that. Some good insights

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